Hardly a day goes by that I am not asked about how to get a job in health informatics or health IT. My first question back is usually something like, “tell me what you have done so far to prepare yourself for such a job”, to which the individual generally describes their education, past jobs, internships, volunteer work and the like. While all of these accomplishments are desirable and often necessary, they are seldom sufficient in and of themselves. Today, getting a job in health IT or informatics is often a function of awareness of opportunities and your professional network (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2015/09/23/heres-how-recruiters-really-fill-jobs). Being a member HIMSS and your local chapter provides critical resources to land a job in these fields.
HIMSS North America represents 61,000 individual members, 640 corporate members, and over 450 non-profit organizations, all working in various aspects of the healthcare market. National membership provides access to a wealth of resources such as blogs, newsletters, task forces, committees and other ways a member can get involved in the healthcare market. This is critical to understanding the breadth and depth of the various health-related specialties that make up the healthcare delivery system. HIMSS also holds an annual conference that provides hundreds of educational sessions and networking opportunities, along with an exhibit floor featuring thousands of vendors. HIMSS provides access to a robust JobMine; simply scan this area of the website on a regular basis and you will quickly determine what the market needs are and what types of skills and attributes employers are looking for.
Local chapter participation, however, is where the real benefits of HIMSS can be realized. Chapter meeting attendance and engagement provides a recurring and predictable forum for you to meet your professional colleagues. These networking and relationship building opportunities are one of the most powerful resources you have for hearing about jobs in your area. If you have successfully built and nurtured your professional relationships, these same individuals will foster virtual introductions and “warm hand-offs” to their colleagues. These warm hand-offs are almost always more beneficial than posting resumes to websites or interacting with recruiters that you don’t have relationship with. In effect, when you get a warm hand-off you are getting an immediate endorsement by a trusted colleague.
Chapter membership also provides numerous opportunities to volunteer on various committees. These volunteer activities allow your network to witness the quality of your work and communication skills in a professional environment. Further, chapter committee work, by necessity, requires engagement with local leaders and businesses in the health space. Volunteering a little bit of your time can provide huge dividends in term of building your network and providing you access to businesses and hiring managers in your local area. Because so many companies have regional or national reach today, it is not uncommon to hear about jobs that are available across the country.
Your HIMSS national and chapter memberships are valuable resources for job searching. Don’t miss the chance to be part of the community and find your next job opportunity.