Upon submitting your tenth application for a position at a local hospital you become overcome with frustration after reading, “at least one year of prior hospital experience required” listed as an application requirement for every position you applied for. As a prospective employee you can not help but question how employers expect you to acquire clinical experience when they all require experience. It is inevitable that experience is the bridge that allows us to transition from pursuit to fulfillment, but if a bridge is not available for us to cross we will ultimately remain stagnant, having knowledge, but no means to apply it. Despite the immense challenges we all face when applying for a new job, there are ways that we can make ourselves more marketable:
- Gain the necessary credentials: When seeking employment in a healthcare setting in order to adequately prepare for medical or healthcare professional school it is imperative that applicants have the necessary certifications. In addition to Basic Life Support Certification through the American Red Cross, hospitals usually require a Nursing Assistant certification for Patient Care Tech Positions, which provide a great deal of direct patient care experience.
- Volunteer: If you haven’t done so already, volunteer at a local hospital or nursing home. Volunteering is the best way to show your commitment to the medical field as it displays selflessness and compassion; characteristics that are most needed to successfully work in healthcare. Volunteer positions are plentiful and help individuals to build a strong professional network.
- Select Your References Wisely: When selecting professional references consider choosing individuals that are aware of your strengths and will be willing to give a positive recommendation on your behalf. Previous employers, and supervisors from past volunteer positions are usually the best references. Also, instructors from certification courses are excellent references as they have witnessed your potential and have seen your competency when performing various skills in the classroom and in a clinical setting. Prior to submitting reference contact information be sure to contact potential references and give them a brief overview of the position applied for. Also, thank them for their time and consideration.
- Perfect your Application: In addition to proofreading your application responses for misspelled words and grammatical errors, it is beneficial to consider what attributes and knowledge may distinguish you from other applicants. If you are a student pursuing a career in healthcare, mention that you are a student on the application, as employers will often consider an applicant lacking in experience because the position is correlated to the applicant’s career goals and personal values. When composing a cover letter consider mentioning why you initially considered working in healthcare. While prior work experience is certainly helpful, many times employers simply want to see that you are the perfect piece that will complete the puzzle image they are seeking to portray.
- Be persistent: While waiting for a response you may become discouraged but do not give up. Continue searching for positions on job search engines such as Career Builder and Indeed. Visit the websites for hospitals and other facilities you are interested in applying to and apply for any available positions posted directly on the website. It is diligence, not speed that allows us to remain in the race.