Written by Brenda Cunningham
Professionally edited by Kitty Carlisle
If you’ve been paying attention, you have probably noticed that a few major industries are in a slump (oil & gas and mining, as examples), but a few are as healthy as they ever were. Healthcare is one of those industries that will simply never go away. But healthcare delivery has changed tremendously and it’s very exciting to consider a career in healthcare. As exciting as it is, if you don’t have any healthcare experience to show, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment or a long, arduous job search journey.
The stability of the healthcare industry draws so many job seekers to investigate it as an option. Here are some ways you can gain healthcare experience to position yourself as a more qualified healthcare candidate:
- Volunteer in your field – look within a healthcare setting (hospital, clinic, even Red Cross). For instance, if you are an IT professional, seek out opportunities to manage the blood bank database or if you’re a Project Manager, help rollout the charity hotline to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital.
- Attend a workshop – conduct Google searches or scan your newsfeeds for upcoming seminars and start getting connected to the latest trends and players within the industry. Key: You must actually leave your house and attend these events. You may even discover you don’t like healthcare at all, and that will save you tons of time and frustration.
- Start building a healthcare network – this is key and the one thing the fewest people will actually do so you’ll have an advantage. Join Healthcare groups on LinkedIn and participate in the conversations. At first, it could be just questions, but eventually you should be able to add value (even if it’s from the perspective of your former industry). And start scheduling informational interviews with other healthcare professionals so you can implement specific suggestions made during those meetings.
- Officially enroll in a certificate or degree program – please be sure to think this one all the way through. Know where that degree is going to land you in the end. Make sure you explore accredited options and price ranges. You can receive quality preparation at Community Colleges or through private programs with schools that offer medical certificate programs.
- Leverage healthcare applications of your previous work – perhaps you’ve always worked in manufacturing but you supported medical devices. Bring those healthcare-related experiences to the forefront of your resume. Stop discounting your experiences. If they help to qualify you, you must include them.
Your desire to transition into healthcare may have come overnight, but your actual shift will take some time. Give yourself grace and remember you are the newcomer, so align your expectations with reality (salary, seniority, etc.). Your mission is to get a foot in the door, prove yourself, then launch into the healthcare career of your dreams. Godspeed on your journey. Keep pushing.