A Year’s Worth Of Career Advice

Bonnie Siegel, Healthcare IT Recruiter, Witt/Kieffer

What a year it has been in the healthcare IT world. While next year is not an election year, it holds the promise of more change and growth for our industry, which means that managing your career is more critical than ever. To help, I have condensed some of the career topics and tips I’ve covered over the past year. Consider this my early holiday present to you.

Resume

  • Prepare your resume like an executive summary of your work history and why you are qualified — describe your employers and list key accomplishments.
  • Use the reverse chronological resume format, not a curriculum vitae format.
  • Leave off the “Objective.”
  • When writing your career or professional summary, look for keywords that make your healthcare IT experience standout.
  • Write your summary with a few substantial sentences, and let your resume and profile tell the rest of the career experience.
  • Include key facts about your employers, including size, scope, locations, complexity, and affiliations with larger integrated delivery systems.
  • Update older company names that have changed and information that may no longer be relevant.
  • Resumes should reflect your entire job history. Contrary to popular belief, resumes should not be two pages. Include only your last 10 years of employment.
  • List your key projects and the roles you played.
  • Ask others to critique your resume.
  • Email your resume directly to the recruiter; include a cover letter or email message.
  • Avoid sending your resume to multiple postings at the same company.

Interview

  • Research the company and executives, practice your answers, be honest, and be yourself.
  • Reread the job description — the employer wants to match someone to its needs, not to your desired job.
  • Spend money on a great suit, haircut, and shoes.
  • Have a list of 10 questions ready to ask if there is a lull in the conversation.
  • Whether you meet someone in-person or via video, prepare to be on “stage.”
  • Keep your answers to the point and under two minutes long.
  • Ask for feedback and be sure to send out individual thank you notes to those you met.

Mentoring

  • Look for internal staff for you to mentor and guide on their health IT career ladder.
  • Volunteer to speak at a local community college or university in their health IT programs.
  • Become an adjunct faculty member for a local or online health IT degree or certificate program.
  • Join a mentoring program in one of your associations, such as CHIME, HIMSS, or ACHE.
  • Write about your health IT career in a blog or for an industry publication.

Social Networking

  • Google — search your name and find out what others are reading about you. Influence your Web presence by writing and speaking more on healthcare IT topics.
  • Facebook — Consider closing or never opening an individual account. If you use it, use all available privacy and security controls, leave off private information, and limit photos and keep them tasteful and appropriate.
  • Twitter — Use it for professional information and to connect and follow HIT industry leaders. Handle this site with caution, and never Tweet anything negative or unprofessional.
  • Blog — write a blog to provide expert knowledge or join an online HIT industry publication to share expertise; stay away from selling or sharing consistently negative views.
  • LinkedIn — invest in a professional photograph on your profile, use correct dates and titles for your positions, and update frequently or as needed. Every HR person or recruiter will view your profile if you apply for a position.

A few more pieces of LinkedIn advice:

  • Don’t have multiple accounts
  • Connect with more than 500 others
  • Join groups in your field
  • Ask for recommendations and endorsements
  • Link to any of your work Twitter or blog accounts
  • Control your privacy settings

Handling Rejection

  • View rejection as a learning and networking experience.
  • Request specific feedback on why you were rejected.
  • Be realistic; if a health system wants a CIO with an academic medical center background and 15 years’ experience, make sure you meet those qualifications before applying for the position.

Leaving A Position

  • Give notice quickly — let your employer or executive recruiter know quickly so that they can find another right person for the position that you are vacating.
  • Consider feelings — be open and transparent and leave your past employer with a good impression of you as a fair and honorable person.
  • Be positive — keep your comments positive, brief, and constructive. Provide names of others you feel might be suitable for your position.
  • Remove guilt — move forward with your decision and do not look back. You had reasons for dropping out or leaving and no one should make you feel guilty if you left your job in a respectful way.
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Comments

  1. Vincent Vitali says:

    Bonnie:
    This is maybe the most useful article I’ve read all year. Every section provides great advice: specific, practical and relevant. Thanks so much! I will keep this is a prominent place and refer to it often in the future. Thanks a bunch!

  2. Vincent,
    Thanks for the wonderful note. I appreciate your comments. Hope you have a Happy Holiday season and a successful 2013!

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