Medical assistants are an integral part of the team at any hospital, clinic or private practice. They are often the first point of contact for new patients and are responsible for attending to the doctor’s needs. From conducting tests to starting a patient’s file to answering questions over the phone, medical assistants are important and in demand.
There are countless online employment forums featuring medical assistant job postings, as well as resources like guidance counselors and career advisors to help place newly graduated medical assistants. However, these important tips will help attract prospective employers to your resume and make you stand out among the other graduates.
Have a sharp, current resume and professional contact info
First impressions make all the difference to employers when they are sorting through applications. Make sure your resume is clean, free of any grammatical errors, and contains all your relevant education, internship and employment histories. If you have any gaps on your resume, make sure to address them in your cover letter and interview. Employers will want to know how you have been preparing for the workforce, so share any information on training courses you have completed, or internships or externships you may have had.
Having a professional email address is an element many people may overlook. However, your contact information speaks volumes about your professionalism, so use a standard template. Your first initial and last name are good for email addresses, and Gmail or Yahoo are the best providers to use for this. A professional voicemail is also a must when contacting employers. Stating your name and that you are unable to take their call, as well as informing them you will respond within 24 hours is a great way to make a good impression. This message can be changed once you land the job, but during the hunt it will help frame you as a polished graduate. 1
Use social media to network and impress
Social media is an integral part of networking today, so maintaining an active social media presence is helpful when you are job hunting. However, your social media page can act as a detriment to you if it is not free of inappropriate content that could send prospective employers the wrong message about you and your goals. If you use Facebook to stay in touch with friends, it’s a good idea to set it to private to avoid any embarrassing questions in an interview. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other medical assistants and employers and is highly recommended for anyone seeking a job, but this page should be focused solely on your professional career and ambitions, not used for socializing. Here, your accomplishments, career history and interests can be listed so an employer can learn more about you before calling you for an interview.
Get experience in your field with internships and volunteering
The best way to stand out from your fellow medical assistant graduates is to have experience in your field. Internship opportunities abound for medical assistants because doctor’s offices always need extra help. You can find information on available internships from your career center or guidance counselor. Internships help you gain experience and insight into where you would like to work (and where you wouldn’t). Most internships operate on a temporary basis, but some offices will offer a full-time position to interns that fit well with their staff, so this is a great opportunity to learn, ask questions and potentially find a permanent job. Internships also often provide credit for your classes.
Externships are similar to internships in that they are temporary opportunities for you to work in a doctor’s office or hospital. Externships are often completed during school breaks or after you have graduated and usually do not offer school credit. However, these opportunities provide invaluable networking opportunities that can help you during your permanent job search. Volunteering at your local blood bank, Red Cross facility or hospital will also give your resume that added experience employers look for. Training in the field is a great way to impress prospective employers viewing your resume. 2
Practice interview questions and prepare your answers
Just like studying for an exam, practicing interview questions and preparing your answers to them will help you ace the interview. Researching the employer’s history, why they appeal to you, and how you can fit in with their values and mission are great steps to take. Employers will undoubtedly ask you about your experience, so having information ready to share with them about internships, school projects and even mentoring will help you express your professionalism and qualifications. Another popular interview question is how you perform under pressure, which is an inevitability in any hospital or private practice. Be ready with examples you can share of positive ways you handled stressful situations and you will be sure to impress. 3
1 Staff, “Medical Assistants – Improve Your Job Chances With These 5 Tips,” Allied Medical Schools.com, Jan. 26, 2012, http://blog.medicalaa.com/2012/01/medical-assistants-improve-your-job.html
2 “4 Tips for making an Outstanding First Impression,” Specialty Certified Medical Assistant.com, https://www.specialtycma.com/blog/
3 “Problems Finding a Job? 5 Tips to Get You Started,” Medical Assistant Career Guide.com, http://www.medicalassistantcareerguide.com/problems-finding-medical-assistant-job/