One of the most frequent questions asked by readers pertains to career change. Since healthcare is one of the most rapidly growing industries, many professionals from other industries look to healthcare as a great option for finding a new career.
Yes, healthcare is adding jobs, more so than just about any industry at any given time. However, there are also thousands of people looking for jobs in the healthcare industry.
Therefore, competition is still very tough and you must find ways to strategically position yourself above the other applicants seeking to make a career change into the healthcare field.
Below are some key pointers that will help you to make the transition into a new health career, even if you do not currently possess previous experience in the field. There are some healthcare jobs which may require you to go back to school, but there are also some jobs that may be an option even without additional education.
Deciding to change careers is easy. Actually making the career change successfully, can be more difficult. One thing that can get your career change started on the right foot is to research various health careers carefully. Be sure you know the following about the career to which you're planning to change:
- Education, degree, skills and training requirements
- Average salary
- Demand and growth projections
2. Assess Your Current Skills and Experience
Next, examine your skills and experience and determine how you can best apply them to the healthcare field. Then you can decide if you want to aim for a health career that you can obtain without additional school or training, or if you're okay with going back to school, perhaps for a clinical role or more advanced position within the healthcare field.
For example, if you are a currently working as a human resources professional, you could look for an HR position with a hospital or a medical company. You could also consider healthcare recruiting. Or, if you are no longer interested in human resources, you can try something new, if you have applicable marketable skills for a different role. Otherwise, you may need to go back to school for a degree in a clinical field.
Ultimately, you need to determine how much of a change you want or need, and how much you're willing and able to pay, in time and money, to get there.
One of the first things to do is to review and revise your resume' with your new target healthcare career in mind. In every way possible, target your resume' to healthcare. Below are some tips:
- Summary/Objective: In your objective, if you put one on your resume', be sure you state that you are interested in a healthcare career.
- Experience: If you have any experience in healthcare at all whatsoever, be sure to highlight it prominently in your resume'. For example, if you are a salesperson seeking a medical sales job, highlight any healthcare accounts you managed. If you are an accountant, highlight any healthcare clients for which you provided accounting services, etc. If you have no direct experience in healthcare, highlight skills that are valued in the healthcare industry such as technical or mathematical skills, or any knowledge of patient care even through volunteer work or personal experience.
- Education: Highlight any science, math, or technical coursework you completed, and any extra-curricular activities that would pertain to healthcare.
Networking can be a key skill for making a career change. If you can communicate your passion and drive for a successful healthcare career to others, they may be more likely to think of you when a position opens up in their organization.
Additionally, networking may also help you to learn more about any additional educational or training requirements you may need for the career you're seeking. By staying in the loop with current medical professionals, you can also learn more about the available careers which may help you decide which health career may be right right for you, if any.
And, by interacting with professionals in healthcare, personally and via social media, you will stay up to date on current trends in the medical industry, which will also help you when you interview, and search for healthcare jobs. You can get "inside" information from current health professionals regarding which companies and facilities are hiring, when, and for which positions, as well as which companies are cutting back and should be avoided.
While social networking is all the rage right now, it's important to network in person as well as online. Striking a balance of both is key because social networking allows you to make contact with a higher quantity of people, but face-to-face networking can help you form high-quality connections that may be a bit stronger than virtual contacts.
Another advantage to networking is that you may also be able to find a mentor who can really guide you through a career transition.
Even though you may have little to no experience in the healthcare field, you're going to have to show the interviewer and the potential employer that you know the industry.
Networking and research will help with this, as mentioned above, but you also need to stay current on industry trends on your own. The great news is, there are numerous healthcare websites and publications that can help you remain up to date on industry news.
You will also have to be able to convey in the interview that your unrelated experience will transfer well to the healthcare industry. How you do this will of course depend upon your experience and the job itself. Again, this is where your networking contacts or mentor can help you prepare for the specific needs of a particular job.