If you’re like most RTs these days, you’ve been keeping a close eye on the job market and all the opportunities for therapists.
But watching the job market and deciding to dive into it are two different things. So, should you take the plunge? And if you do, how can you be sure you’re going about the search in a way that will get you the new job you really want?
Dana Evans, MHA, RRT, RRT-NPS, FACHE, respiratory director of the Illinois Region of Advocate Aurora Health in Chicago, IL, regularly talks to new grads and others about building a career in respiratory care and has given this issue some serious thought. Here are her top tips on how to embark on a successful job search in respiratory care —
Identify your professional goals. Before making any change, take time to consider and reflect on what your goals are.
- Are you happy with your role but looking for a different organization to call “home”? Or are you looking for a new kind of role? Perhaps you are interested in working with a new patient population or in a position beyond the bedside. There are many incredible opportunities for RTs, including education, leadership, quality improvement, working with industry partners, research, informatics, etc.
- Consider your “must haves” in a role. This could be geographical location, shift needs, patient population, role responsibilities, etc. Which of these are flexible, and which are not?
- Begin reviewing postings for those types of positions. Do you meet the requirements? If not, you will want to build a plan to acquire the credentials and/or education before you apply.
Network, Network, Network. The value of networking cannot be overstated. Professional connections are invaluable throughout our careers. For potential job seekers, building connections can assist with professional development and advancement opportunities (including learning about job openings).
- Connect with individuals at companies you may want to work for and with other professionals who have positions in which you are interested. For example, if you are hoping to advance into an educator position, seek out those who hold an educator role to learn how they got there. You can also learn what they love and don’t love about their roles.
- Don’t know anyone with your dream job? Hop on LinkedIn and search for people who do. Many professionals are more than happy to assist others and will be willing to connect with you.
- Attend conferences. Attending professional conferences provides the opportunity to connect with experts in the field as well as meet people with varied career paths.
- Volunteer. Volunteering is a fantastic way to build your professional network. In addition to giving back to the profession and our patients, you can develop new skill sets and just might meet the person who assists you in finding your dream job.
Set up alerts with job search sites (such as Indeed.com and LinkedIn). They will send you notifications when a role you are interested in becomes available. You may also want to upload your resume to a job search site. This will allow employers to see your information and reach out to you.
Review and update your resume. Be sure that your resume is professional and well-suited to the role you are applying for, highlighting skills that match the role’s expectations.
Look beyond the paycheck. Obviously, pay is important. You want to ensure you receive a competitive offer for your work. Glassdoor.com is a good place to determine what an offer should look like based on the role, your experience, and geographical location. But there are other things to consider as well.
- Benefits. Benefits go beyond medical, vision, and dental care. This could include paid parental leave, mental health days and services, tuition assistance, tuition/loan forgiveness, and others. You should have a full picture of what will be offered to you as a potential employee. Often this is available on an organization’s employee application page or on the posting itself.
- You may also want to learn about the level of autonomy you will have in the role (for example, do they use therapist-driven protocols?), as well as opportunities for growth and development.
Pass it on. Once you have found the job you are looking for, consider paying it forward by making yourself available to others when they need assistance finding their dream job.
As Dana Evans alluded to in her tips, there are a lot of factors to consider before embarking on a job search. Her advice can guide you through the process and help ensure you end up with the job that’s really right for you.