This spring you're planning to graduate with your healthcare degree or certification in hand, and the job market lies ahead, shrouded in both excitement and mystery. What will it take to land your first real position in your new field? And more important, how will you make a great impression and get your career off to a powerful start once you have your foot in the door?
The answer will depend on your specific career, of course, since healthcare roles vary widely. But across almost every position, in every facility and in every geographic area, there are a few universal traits that entry level employers will be looking for. Keep these traits in mind, and remember: the tools and qualities that can help you climb the healthcare ladder may differ from the qualities that bring success in other fields.
Here are the top six ways to impress your manager as an entry-level employee:
1. Show resilience in the event of errors and setbacks. In some fields, entry level employees are expected to hang their heads in shame and apologize for days after making a mistake. In healthcare, most employers aren't interested in this kind of drama. They care more about your competence and skill acquisition than melodramatic demonstrations of devotion to the company. If you mess up, bounce back. Learn everything you can from your error, but don't harp on the moment. Just accept the criticism gracefully and move on.
2. Be smart. Learn more than just what you're taught by your direct superior. Reach out for more information, more detail and more background. Keep your eyes and ears wide open to anything you might learn, no matter how this information is received. When older workers give you advice, when people around you make mistakes that have nothing to do with you, or when events happen outside your narrow field of tasks and responsibilities, pay attention.
3. Write things down. Try not to ask the same questions over and over again.
4. Help your teammates and colleagues to succeed, and be generous with all the knowledge and information you gain during your training. Your employer's goals are centered around patient care and patient outcomes, so make these your goals as well. Don't compete with others or fuss over your career at the expense of focus on your patients.
5. Do what you're told. Do it well and do it fast. Engage your critical thinking skills, but at the entry level, you'll need to put obedience at the top of your list. If you can manage this challenge, you'll leave the entry level sooner rather than later.
6. When you have the option to go the extra mile, take it. If you're asked to stay late or participate in a task outside of your job responsibilities, see this as a gift or an opportunity. Not only will you be pitching in to do what needs to be done, you'll also be taking advantage of a chance to impress your employers and gain some positive attention.
Looking for more information about the skills and traits that can help you get ahead in healthcare? Visit LiveCareer and take some of our extensive career and aptitude tests. Find out if the healthcare field is truly where you belong. And if you have what it takes to succeed in this challenging industry, use our resume building tools to put together an application that can help you shine.