Professional Development

How to Stand Out During Your Health IT Job Search

How to Stand Out During Your Health IT Job Search

You’re ready to take the next step—or the first step—in your career: exploring health IT jobs. Where do you start?

Job seeking can be an arduous process, but it doesn’t have to be. There are professionals whose careers are focused on identifying talented individuals like you to fill open positions within health IT organizations. Working with recruiting and talent specialists can help you obtain all of the tools and information you need to get to the next level of your career—maybe even help you find your dream job.

To prepare you for all of the career opportunities out there, we sought the expertise of health IT talent expert Lisa Cannon, a member of the HIMSS Students and Early Careerists Task Force and the director of talent development at The Chartis Group. In this Q&A she shares her expert perspective on how to execute a job search successfully—no matter where you are in your career—and become a stand-out candidate to potential employers.

I recently graduated and am eager to begin my career in health IT. How should I approach my search?

Be open to various opportunities. Don’t limit your career searches or potential job experience until you have a chance to formally evaluate and rule out all of your options. You may be surprised at what ultimately interests you as a post-graduate compared to your initial career plans and goals. Know that it is okay to change your mind and revamp your career strategy.

RELATED: Working with Recruiters in Your Job Search

Treat each opportunity to meet and network with individuals as a potential gateway to a job, and look at these opportunities as learning experiences. They are great for building up your resume—and your list of contacts.

In conversation, don’t talk about what you can’t do; emphasize what you can do based upon relatable experience. Remember, no one expects a new graduate to have a long list of work history on their resume. Utilize that space to showcase relevant professional skills in detail instead.

I am a graduate with industry experience. How can I leverage that experience in my search for health IT jobs?

You’ll earn credibility quickly with organizations because of your prior industry experience—for example, coming from a healthcare environment. Capitalize on that experience by discussing what you’ve learned and previously observed in detail. It could expand the amount of opportunities available for you. For example, you may find satisfaction in operational roles that require your level of expertise and experience, versus a graduate who is new to the field.

Pivoting off your strengths while you build your core capabilities in health IT is essential. Be patient with yourself, and remember, you were likely an expert in your space prior to graduating. Now as you try to shift into a related role, you’ll likely take a few steps back in your level of competency. That’s okay. You’ll ramp back up in time.

I’m an experienced health IT professional who is returning to the job market after a brief hiatus. How can I best navigate this transition?

Network, network, network. Who do you know and where do they work? Find out.

Research organizations and their job postings. Making sure key individuals know you are looking for your next opportunity is important.

Ensure your online brand is well polished. Use a professional picture. Have your resume reviewed and proofed as you don’t want any mistakes.

When evaluating candidates, how valuable are certifications and certificates?

Depending upon the role the candidate is being considered for, certifications and certificates can prove to be valuable. More senior roles may not be as focused on something like a vendor or organizational certificate. For entry-level or mid-level health IT jobs, certifications can be a differentiator that sets you apart from your competition.

Certifications and certificates show a dedication to your professional development and a commitment to advancing your knowledge. Senior candidates will leverage their work histories, contributions and proven results.

In-person events versus virtual networking: how do they differ and how should I approach each?

Your voice is your biggest asset in a virtual networking experience. If video-based, then your physical appearance—paired with your vocal inflections—are the best tools in your professional toolbox.

It is important to be sensitive to your communication style—especially in a virtual environment where there is potentially more room for misinterpretation.

If speaking on the phone, stand up. It will put more energy in your verbal delivery. Speaking in a monotone voice, interrupting, use of upspeak or accessory words all provide a negative experience for the recipient.

Be very cognizant of nervous or distracting habits during video-networking. If it’s an interview, treat it as if you were in-person. Have someone else manage the dog, doorbell, children etc. during your video conference.

Final words of wisdom for those seeking health IT jobs?

Understand that health IT is a heavily networked industry. Treat every relationship as you would a future peer, manager or client. Provide exceptional service to the clients and organizations you are privileged to work with and your reputation will serve you well in your career trajectory.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.