How to launch a successful career in healthcare
So, you want to kick off a career in the healthcare sector. Good choice. This is an essential field that has a positive employment outlook for the foreseeable future, offers a diverse array of career paths with lucrative pay, and it gives practitioners the opportunity to genuinely help other people.
Choose your path
Beginning any career starts with some self-reflection. You have to know your skills, workstyle, and preferences. Do you like to work with people, or would a behind the scenes laboratory, research, or technician role suit you better? Do you like to work with cutting-edge technology? Healthcare workers often need to show strong leadership skills. You may be called upon to make snap decisions that can seriously impact other people or be called upon to advocate for patients, direct reports, or other stakeholders. Communication skills are vital for many roles. There are so many different career options that fall within the healthcare umbrella. You can choose to pursue those that most fit with your aptitudes.
We recently covered a variety of employment options in the healthcare sector that don't require a Bachelor's Degree. However, you would still need to acquire some specific certification or training for most of those roles.
Whether you want to be a doctor or a nurse, a pharmacist or a veterinarian, a healthcare administrator or a home health aide, plan your education to match the demands of your career goal.
Your very first job in a sector is generally the most difficult to get hired for. That is because even so-called entry-level positions routinely call for several years' experience. This is the classic job seeking Catch-22: You need experience to land a job, but you need a job in order to gain experience. What can you do?
If you can't get hired for lack of experience, you'll need to gain some another way.
Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to add some health-care related experience to your resume. You can see what different career paths are like, help out people in need, and expand your professional network all while getting that crucial work history for your resume.
Intern. Internships often get a bad rap for being unpaid, however they can be a valuable career move for people starting out in a new sector. Internships give you practical experience and a real-world education above and beyond what you could gain from a classroom. Because healthcare is a constantly evolving industry, there is often a need for skilled workers, making it easier to land internships with many organizations. These are often filled as a part of school programs, so speak with your institution's career centre to see what might be available.
Alternately you can reach out to local hospitals, clinics, or care centres to see what volunteer or internship positions are available near you.
With a chosen career path that matches your personality and goals, proper certification, and some real-world experience behind you, you're ready to kickstart that career in the healthcare sector.
Here are some tips for keeping your healthcare resume up to date and how to answer the most common healthcare job interview questions.