if you look around at industries that have weathered the recession with few losses in jobs and pay, the healthcare professions are at the forefront. and the best news is, not every job in health care requires advanced medical training or degrees. there are literally hundreds of opportunities in different aspects of the field, both clinical and otherwise.
here are five strategies to get your foot in the door—a crucial first step toward getting your career off the ground.
1. pay attention
particularly when trying to break into a new and complicated industry, it’s crucial to do a good deal of research. what are the driving issues of the moment? who are the important companies and names to keep in mind? bone up until you can speak intelligently about the industry. then figure out who’s hiring, and start staking out networking opportunities.
networking is going to be your best friend here. remember that the most important factor when changing careers is who you know (not what you know). volunteer, get active in social media discussions, ask friends of friends to introduce you to their contacts. show your eagerness and willingness to the right people and eventually you’ll find your in.
3. assess your skill set
you may think you’re starting at the bottom rung with nothing, but most likely you have a number of skills under your belt that are totally transferrable into your new health care career. experience in sales, it, marketing, client care, administration—all of these can be extremely valuable. when in doubt, find an entry-level non-clinical position that can get you through the door, then work your way further into the field from that position.
4. be humble
you may be a 5- or 10-year veteran in the workforce, but if you have 0 years medical experience, you might want to take a step back and consider taking a job that might otherwise be beneath your current stage in life. remember that an entry-level gig in your brand-new medical career might serve you 10 times better (and much faster) than any position in current field. do what’s right for you, but remember to maintain some perspective.
5. ask for help
finding a mentor can be just the thing to help you on your quest. once you get your first gig in a hospital or office, even if you’re barely just answering the phones, you can absolutely seek out an experienced veteran and ask them to help steer you in the right direction. you’ll never go wrong emphasizing your willingness to learn, to put in the hard work and effort, and your keenness to keep advancing in your field.