It doesn’t matter whether you’re hoping be a dental assistant, practical nurse, or a pharmacy technician, when you’re out pounding the pavement trying to get your first job as a health care professional, it can seem that the odds are against you. You’re in that vicious circle called ‘lack of experience’.
Yes it’s true, many employers often do prefer candidates with health care experience, and experience can be difficult to get unless you get hired on. That’s why, at Carrington College, we place so much emphasis on the hands-on experience you receive in the labs and during your externship or clinical rotation.
The thing you have to remember is this; every health care professional working in the industry, bar none, had a first day somewhere at some point. So, even if it seems that the world is against you, fear not.
With the application of some patience, persistence and passion, you should be able to find the role you’re dreaming of. Here are some helpful tips that you can get started on right now – whether you’re coming up to graduation or just starting one of our allied health care programs.
- Use your school resources – Reach out to the people and resources in place at Carrington College to help you. Make the most of your instructors’ insight and industry knowledge, and be sure to enlist the help of your campus Career Services Department.
- Maximize your clinical opportunities – Textbooks and formal lectures can only take you so far. Experiencing real life situations and human interactions that you’ll be faced with once you start your career is the kind of invaluable experience that employers look for. The real world can be the best classroom, so take advantage of every opportunity.
- Build a network - Make the most of your externship or clinical rotation to build connections that could help you later. These valuable contacts may be able to help you with your job search, even if they can’t offer you a job themselves.
- Always be professional – Many employers look for professionalism above experience when talking about graduate hires. They know that experience will come with time, whereas professionalism will be demonstrated from day one by the right candidate.
- Get involved - Don’t be a wallflower. Join societies, professional associations, go to events, meetings, job fairs and put yourself out there. If you’re invisible, potential employers can’t see you. Identify the hot spots for employers in your field and jump right in!
- Volunteer - Demonstrate your dedication to potential employers by getting out into the field and volunteering. There can be no better way to get your foot in the door than volunteering. Don’t limit yourself to one location – do a few hours a week in a bunch of different offices if you can.
- Be innovative - Don’t be afraid to ‘think outside the box’ if there is an avenue you want to explore. Consider alternative paths to your final destination. Sell yourself in a non-traditional avenue and you could find an employer creating a position rather than filling one.
- Weigh your options - If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a position with multiple offers, think the decision through carefully. Don’t always focus on the money first, consider whether that role will make you happy, and then make sure the salary is competitive.