How Actively Caring and Exercising Your Own Career Planning Benefits Everyone

How Actively Caring and Exercising Your Own Career Planning Benefits Everyone

Health care professionals and organizations all recognize the importance of paying attention to our health. Every day we witness the negative consequences of neglecting to cultivate and maintain healthy routines. Sickness loves to seek out the overburdened mind and body. With today’s frantic pace of life and the speed at which we all must make decisions about where and how to invest our time and energy, it is not surprising but yet ironic that health care professionals often fail to properly nurture their own careers.

The Big Picture

Professionals in the health care field now more than ever face an amazing number of enticing career options, if they are mindful of them. In an effort to meet the rising needs of aging boomers, rising “at-risk” patients, and many other challenges, the health care industry is using the latest technologies into all workplaces and seeking the most talented and passionate minds available. Prospective health care candidates, particularly those willing to relocate, have an enviable number of rewarding career paths to pursue. Recognizing and navigating those options, however, can be intimidating.

You should know that great recruiters should be keenly aware of how a job change affects not only the individual but also their families, friends and communities. Career navigation should be guided by a well-planned and thoughtful strategy that addresses both a candidate’s goals and their individual personality and strengths. As a recruiter for ThinkingAhead, I invest my time and effort into truly understanding the sensibilities and nuances of candidates I represent. My goal is to match their talents and skills not just with a position but with a work culture and environment that will encourage their professional growth and personal happiness, making the change an overwhelmingly successful one, both for the professional and their intimate circle.

Know Thyself

We’re all well beyond busy — we need to accept this as the new normal. It can seem as if there is never an opportunity to sit and contemplate who we are professionally and what we want long-term from our careers. But if candidates don’t take the time to think about their lives’ direction, they’ll end up following someone else’s lead or agenda. I personally focus on working to impress upon candidates the value of exploring the positives and negatives of their career decisions and the need to be proactive about reaching their professional objectives. This process needs to begin with an assessment of their professional achievements to date – what tangible positive imprints they have made professionally that are rewarding to them in retrospect and keep them excited about going to their offices daily.

When I’m working with candidates, I often hear that they are uncomfortable with “bragging” about what they have accomplished. When discussing professional backgrounds, candidates have a tendency to shift to discussing their roles and responsibilities, rather than highlighting the projects/programs they headed that added significant value to their organization. This supposed “humility” impedes a candidate’s ability to see the true trajectory of their careers and personal strengths and weaknesses and conceals their own truths. Careers, like lives, are defined by actions and deeds, not titles and roles. An honest evaluation of an individual’s accomplishments—and how we feel about those successes— can provide a detailed career profile for candidates who have difficulty defining what about their job fulfills and frustrates them.

Embrace Synergy via Technology

Adeptly using technology is part of the new bedside manner. Candidates and clients in the health care industry are at the forefront of figuring how technology can change the way we work, heal and live. The data garnered through devices and systems throughout the health care industry can often improve everything from patient care and satisfaction to the financial performance of an organization. Data is becoming increasingly integrated into every health care job and organization. Data drives decisions from how hospitals invest money to what demographics and geographic areas are most in need of proactive care.

Technology is the catalyst behind the synergy that is morphing traditional health care jobs into dynamic, modern positions that require an appreciation for data. Technical and operational responsibilities are no longer siloed. As an example, my clients value IT professionals with a clinical or operational background as well as clinical experts with technical acumen. This merging of duties can often means that a chief nursing officer is most valued if they have informatics and optimization skills or that a CIO must show a strong success in working with the clinicians at their organizations. Candidates who are willing to embrace technology and understand how it impacts health care from every angle are poised to lead the industry into a new and inspiring era of care for everyone.

So be true to yourself and understand your passion and strengths to lead you to continued success in your profession!

The #1 Question Job Candidates Should–But Almost Never–Ask About Their Resume

The #1 Question Job Candidates Should–But Almost Never–Ask About Their Resume

When it comes to finessing a resume, candidates typically try to answer key questions posed by (or implied by) the job description itself. Obviously, that’s part of the process. But there’s another question that they should be asking, but in my experience almost never do: based on my resume, would I call myself for an interview?

It’s the kind of question that, at first glance, seems either rhetorical–or just pointless! But candidates who take a step back and objectively analyze their resume may come to the surprising conclusion that they wouldn’t actually call themselves for an interview. And it’s not because they lack the skills, experience, or personality suitability factors for a coveted job. It’s because their resume isn’t pulling its weight and fully working on their behalf.

Fortunately, this problem is 100% correctable. In my experience over the years, there are five core areas of a resume that typically need the most improvement:

1. Format

Candidates need to pay close attention to font type and font size. I recommend Calibri 11pt, which has the added benefit of being a Sans Serif font (these are easier to read on screens vs. Serif fonts like Times New Roman). Suitable spacing is also an important factor, as the best way to get on a hiring manager’s worst side is to subject them to dreaded “text walls.”

Also, hiring managers have told me over the years that they don’t think highly of resumes that take a “laundry list” approach–i.e., experience and projects in one clump, followed by dates of employment, title, and employer. This approach doesn’t allow hiring managers to understand what a candidate has accomplished, when, in what environment, and how his or her skills have grown progressively throughout their career.

2. Size

Contrary to what many candidates believe, it’s fine to submit a resume longer than one page, provided that it’s not an attempt to fluff up a resume with bullet point after bullet point. Candidates with more than 15 years of experience should aim for two to four pages. Hiring managers are not allergic to longer resumes, and reject far more candidates for not providing enough information vs. those that provided too much.

3. Content

Far too many candidates–including extremely talented ones who would be an asset to any organization–load up their resume with responsibilities, but fail to focus on the thing that hiring managers need to see more than anything else: accomplishments. THIS IS A BIG MISTAKE! Candidates who look at their resume and see that it leans primarily (or exclusively) towards what they’ve been tasked with vs. what they’ve actually achieved should see this as a wake-up call.

4. Context

Many candidates incorrectly assume that hiring managers are familiar with the organizations they’ve worked for. To be safe, it’s wise to add a sentence describing these companies (e.g., purpose, size, locations, etc.). Obviously, this content shouldn’t steal focus. But rather than seeing it as extraneous or irrelevant, most hiring managers will appreciate it, as it gives them added context about a candidate’s background.

5. Writing

Last but not least: many candidates assume that professional resume writers will magically turn their resume into an interview-generating machine. This simply doesn’t happen. Yes, it’s fine to work with a qualified resume writer. But the writer cannot and will not develop the content–i.e., the “guts” of the resume that make it substantial. That information has to come from the candidate.

The Bottom Line

Candidates who objectively evaluate their resume in light of the above factors, and make necessary changes on their own or with expert help, won’t think twice when asking themselves “based on my resume, would I call myself for an interview?” They’ll confidently answer yes–and so will more impressed and interested hiring managers!