15 Tips for New Grads Entering Today’s Job Market

Job Hunting

Respiratory care has traditionally been a great place to find a job, and given the aging baby boom generation and all of the new patients who will flood the health care system as a result of the insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act, the long term outlook for the profession remains positive.

But right now, we’re hearing from new grads in some parts of the country who say the job market in their areas has tightened up. What can these therapists do to set themselves apart from the crowd?

Respiratory care managers on the AARC’s Management Section discussion list recently weighed in with what they look for when hiring an RT right out of school. Here are 15 great tips from that discussion:

  1. First and foremost, get your RRT. In a tight job market, employers will focus on new grads who have achieved the highest level of credentialing they are eligible for. Additional credentials such as the BLS, ACLS, PALS, and NRP certifications help as well.
  2. Be a member of the AARC, and show that you are actively involved in your state society by volunteering to serve on committees or take part in other activities.
  3. Make sure you do an excellent job during clinicals. Many RT departments will hire only those students who have already proven themselves while they were working there as students.
  4. Make sure your resume is complete and free of typos. Be sure to include any respiratory-related volunteer activities you may have taken part in too.
  5. Be on time for the interview—or even a little early. Showing up late is a sure fire way to crater your chances for the job.
  6. Dress for success. Appearance and clothing make a big difference, so go in with your best “business casual” at a minimum.
  7. Focus on patient care. These days, hospitals are looking for clinicians who are willing to do whatever they can to make sure patients are satisfied with the care they receive.
  8. Answer questions fully and in complete sentences. Managers are looking for RTs who can be good communicators with their fellow therapists, physicians, nurses, and patients.
  9. Be willing to accept any shift or even part-time work, if necessary. Once you’ve proven yourself on the job, you can work your way up to full time employment and the shift you’d prefer.
  10. Research the hospital you are applying at so that you can show you are interested in working there, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the job.
  11. Show your passion for respiratory care. Managers are looking for goal-oriented job candidates who demonstrate drive, direction, a can-do attitude, and a willingness to be involved in improving the department as a whole.
  12. Share your plans for your future, focusing on where you want to go in respiratory care and how you plan to get there. Let the manager know what attracted you to the profession in the first place.
  13. Prepare to answer behavioral interviewing type questions. These questions can easily be found on the Internet.
  14. Be sure to send a thank-you letter or email to the manager after the interview, and if you don’t hear back soon, follow up with another email or phone call reiterating your desire for the job.
  15. If you don’t get the job you want, consider volunteering at the hospital and ask to be assigned to the respiratory care department. That way you can get to know the staff, and they can get to know you. The next time a job opens up, it may be yours.