Advancing Your Career as a Health Care Worker

Advancing Your Career as a Health Care Worker

It’s difficult to imagine there was ever a time that health care workers were not in demand. As the population grows and people are living longer, it is becoming a struggle to keep up with even the most basic requirements of the country. Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 16% growth in health care employment opportunities by 2030, which it states is faster than any other industry. Throw into this the pressures of the pandemic and a widening skills gap, and you have a great many understaffed facilities.

While this is a concerning state of affairs, it also presents opportunities. Whether you’re about to graduate from college or have already started your health care career, there are chances for advancement.

We’re going to take a moment to review a few of the elements you should be focusing on as you forge your future in health care.

Clarify Your Goals

To advance your health care career in an empowering way, you need to make sure you’re not simply reacting to the industry’s needs but have a personal plan of action. This begins with clarifying what your career goals are.

This doesn’t necessarily have to begin with a specific job title. Treat clarifying your goals as a process of discovery. Consider first what you want from your job. Aside from the opportunity to help people, which is something shared by most health care workers, think about what areas of the industry interest you the most. This could be a field of care or the types of skills you’re interested in using on a day-to-day basis. Another part of choosing a career path is the lifestyle it provides you. Aside from a higher salary, you may be more interested in a role with a safer environment. Or you may be prioritizing more flexibility or control over your schedule, like travel nursing.

As you narrow down what you want from a career, it can then be useful to move on to what doors specific qualifications can open for you. If you’re already in nursing, following a doctor of nursing practice course can give you access to various lucrative leadership positions. Some of these careers, like family nurse practitioner and psychiatric health nurse practitioner, may be familiar to you already. Others may be slightly more unexplored, like being a nurse educator or taking on administrative positions. Looking further into what options each qualification could offer not only highlights careers but also gives you a road map to bring your closer to the role.

Consider Your Current Skills

It’s important to remember advancing your career isn’t just predicated on learning new skills. One of the great things about having established yourself to a certain extent in the health care sector is you’ll likely already have some transferable abilities. As such, you should take the time to review what these are and where they might be considered valuable.

Your technical skills may be the most obvious place to begin here. After all, these are usually the aspects denoting your suitability in certain medical fields. However, it can be easy to overlook just how vital and attractive your soft skills can be in a variety of roles. If you’re a registered nurse, thinking about which abilities you use in a typical day — digital tool usage, organizational processes, empathy, and leadership among them — can be a useful place to start. It’s also worth talking to colleagues and friends in fields you’re interested in pursuing to understand what soft skills are in demand.

Having a good handle on your range of skills is also an important component in shaping your resume in a way to capture the interest of the right health care industry employers. It’s worth considering that, contrary to other professions, employers in nursing have a preference for skills-led resume structures. As such, you need to professionally format your resume and make it easy for applicant tracking systems (ATS) to ascertain you have the relevant hard and soft skills for a role and pass you through to the human decision-makers. Avoid bulking up your application with a lot of irrelevant skills and experiences. This can just confuse matters and lead to you missing out on the next step of your journey.

Preparing Yourself

Benjamin Franklin’s expression, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” may seem a little hackneyed. However, it can be appropriate when you’re trying to advance your career in health care. There are some forms of preparation that can help set you up not just to gain the position you want but also to confirm you’re targeting the right career.

One of the most important forms of preparation is gaining a practical sense of the position you’re pursuing. Let’s face it, no job in health care is exactly as the standard job description would have you believe. When you’re already working in health care you’ll likely have contacts that can help you to shadow a professional in your intended field and get a real idea of what the work, atmosphere, and pressures of the environment are like. This can either solidify your commitment to following your path or help you avoid working yourself into a role you’ll be miserable in.

Once you’ve clarified that this is the career you want, one of your next areas for preparation is the interview process. Getting nervous or not having access to the right responses is a common way people trip up. Even in health care, most interviews will include a selection of standard questions; some surrounding your behavior on the job, others about your personality and workplace fit. Take the time to look into the ideal responses to these and practice these in a way that is genuine and relevant to the role you’re applying for. This may well be your best chance to make a good impression, so make the most of it.


The combination of the growing demand from patients and the challenges of COVID-19 has opened job opportunities in health care. When you’re advancing your career in the field you must take care to understand what your goals are and how you can utilize your current skills to define a meaningful path for yourself. These steps, alongside some key preparations, can help make certain your progression is successful.

3 Choices for the Best Resume

3 Choices for the Best Resume

Whether you are a recent graduate hitting the job market or an experienced nurse looking for something new, a polished resume is one of your best assets.

But how do you know exactly what makes a polished resume? Is it worth it to do it on your own or is it better to hire someone and have it professionally done?

There are a few ways to achieve the end goal of having a resume that fits you and that includes both your work history and your personality. While a resume needs to be clean and polished and, yes, fairly short, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

1. Do It Yourself

There’s no law saying you have to have someone else do your resume. Plenty of people write their own resumes and do them expertly enough that no one could tell it wasn’t professionally done. If you choose to do your own resume, make sure you take the time to look online at sample nursing resumes. Get an idea of what they should look like, sound like, and what you should include or leave off.

And it should go without saying—the more eyes on your resume the less chance there is of a spelling error or an incorrect word slipping though. Read your resume out loud to catch anything that could sound odd. Double check all your dates and make sure your titles are correct.

2. Visit Your School’s Career Counseling Office

If you’re a new nurse, your best option is to head straight over to your college’s career counseling center. Not only do they know what a good resume looks like, but they know what employers are looking for in new grads. They will help you figure out what extracurricular activities will help show your job preparation and which ones you should just leave off.

Even if you have been out of school for 20 years, you alma mater’s career counseling office will usually help you out without any cost. This is a huge benefit many people forget about, but one that’s very helpful. And nursing schools know nurses – not everyone gets it in the same way.

3. Pay a Pro to Do It

If you have a lengthy resume with lots of complicated or leadership positions, hiring a pro who is familiar with nursing resumes is a good idea. A pro will keep your resume short enough to keep it out of the automatic slush pile, but informative enough to include all the important details. They know the key words employers are looking for and will use them in the right places.

If you’re at a high level and going for a competitive role, hiring a pro can elevate your experience and increase your job prospects. And pros often keep resumes on file, so they can work with you through the years as your career changes.

No matter what method you choose to have your resume written, make sure it’s the best one for you. Pick the choice that’s most comfortable and effective.

Good luck!