Saturday, February 12, 2011

Finding your way through the health sector job maze

Author: Tim Millett

If you’ve spent enough time looking at the job ads in the health sector, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at an endless set of requirements. Some job duties statements look like obstacle courses, even when you’ve got experience. For those to whom English is a second language, you might even consider you need to go to English school to even apply, thanks to convoluted language in job ads and related information.

You’d be at least partly right. In some parts of the health sector, a range of secondary and value adding skills is very much a positive. The US health sector has one of the highest turnover rates of all employment markets in the world. On average, about 30% of the workforce is either on the move or thinking of moving. That’s created a particularly complex job market, in which the non-clinical sector is one of the more complex areas.

This is an extremely competitive job market, and it’s also a very demanding job sector. “Job mobility” is very much restricted for people having only basic skills and qualifications. You might be good at your job, but demonstrating to a prospective employer that you bring only the basics to a job can be an application-killer.

Employers in the health sector have to be realists. They’re confronted with the fact of the nomadic workforce, often extremely difficult budgetary situations, and frequently a tough management culture in the workplace. They need people that can deliver more than the basics. They also need to hire people able to cover the inevitable situations created by work volumes, job designs and basic workplace realities.

Organizing and developing your skill sets

This situation means that job hunters have to create a good working skill set for themselves to be competitive in this job market. Depending on your field, you can add related training in various forms, preferably with certifications or other credentials.

Some other types of training can achieve a lot, too. One of the most essential, and least understood types of qualifications in health care are business qualifications. Business school qualifications are in fact essential in any area where you’re looking at positions of responsibility, even in lower level management and supervisory positions. Show high value skills at any level of employment, and you’re on the short list, even with computerized screening and phone interview styles of hiring.

Skill sets and career goals

Now the good news- You can do a lot for your career by managing your skill sets systematically, with a definite goal in mind. You may have to trace the skill requirements backwards from your goal, but this approach always works. If you want to become a manager in your field, check out the skill requirements.

You can even ask managers for guidance in this area. That’s often a very good idea, because they know the story and can provide you with current knowledge, not just employment market theory, which is usually out of date.

The health sector job maze can be beaten, quite easily, if you’re prepared to add more facets to your job skills and can show high value on your job applications. You’ll get a lot more interviews, and a lot more interest from employers.

About the author:

Tim Millett is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including Eiglish school and Business school.

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