COVID-19 has placed an unprecedented stress on healthcare workers, many of whom are on the front lines of care. In addition to the pressures associated with caring for those with the virus, those in healthcare are also faced with employment stressors as the entire healthcare system endures a significant shakeup. From the most highly trained physicians to students and other aspiring healthcare professionals, daily life has been altered by the rapid spread of this new strain of the coronavirus.
For job seekers in the healthcare industry, it is unclear how job availability – and jobs themselves – may change as a result of the virus. Getting ahead of this issue and doing all you can today to position yourself as a qualified, competitive job candidate will help to mitigate any challenges associated with changes to the system and the likely delays in hiring.
Here are some things you can do today to aid in your job search while much of the hiring process – including in-person interviews – stands on hold.
- Perfect your presentation. Now is the perfect time to update your resume and CV – activities that often take a back seat to more pressing priorities. Many people in the healthcare industry, in fact, do not even have a resume and have instead relied on a lengthy CV for their job applications. If this is the case, putting together a one-page resume is valuable not only from the perspective of building application collateral but also because of the exercise itself. As you figure out how to best present yourself in a single page, you will learn how to communicate the most important aspects of your skills and experience.
This written material can act as a jumping off point to help you develop your interview strategy and to practice interviewing. Whether you craft answers to commonly asked interview questions or actually engage in mock interviews through virtual interactions, the pandemic should not prevent you from improving your interviewing skills and honing your message about your qualifications for the types of jobs you’re interested in.
- Nurture connections. Though we are in a time of in-person social distancing, people are communicating virtually now more than ever. Though in-person interviews may not be conducted while several states have shelter-in-place orders, COVID-19 should not impact your ability to interact with people in your network to learn about potential job opportunities and to nurture the connections you have within the healthcare industry.
Call, email, or message through social media the people who can provide you with critical employment information or who may be able to connect you to others who can do so. Just checking in with these people is a good way to help build your relationships. If you have not signed up for LinkedIn or developed a LinkedIn profile, doing so can be a good place to start for managing your professional network.
- Do your research. The in-person portion of the job search process is small in comparison to all the work required on the back end. Research on relevant opportunities may be the most time-consuming aspect of job seeking, and luckily, should not be significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. You can still spend time searching job boards, interacting with recruiters, reading about industry needs, and learning about the backgrounds and skills of those in positions like the ones you’re interested in. Dedicating time to this type of research can provide you with important career insights and will hopefully enable you to develop a more efficient system for job seeking in the future.
- Beef up your skills. You may already be aware of any weaknesses in your case for why you are a good fit for certain jobs, or research may help you identify those weaknesses. Either way, today is a good day to put together a plan for filling in those gaps in your skills or experience. If the experience you need is clinical, then start initiating conversations for how to gain that experience. If instead you need training that you can acquire online, get that online course underway.
Takeaway: Searching for a healthcare job in the face of a shocked healthcare system is a new challenge for those in this industry and is hindered by overburdened workers and significant reductions in in-person contact. However, much of the job seeking process requires work that can easily be done from home, even when it involves communicating with others. While you likely will not undergo in-person interviews until the spread of COVID-19 subsides, you can forge ahead in your job search and in developing yourself and the materials that will help you eventually land the job you want.
For front-line clinical tools and resources to help you deliver excellent care and information to your patients, please visit the Elsevier COVID-19 Pandemic Hub.