Healthcare organizations don't -- and won't -- hire just anybody, no matter what the job market. If healthcare is in your future, you'll need to develop the right combination of skills and experience while in school to get the best shot at your desired career after graduation.
One strategy is to find an hourly job (or two or three over the course of your college career) that will help you develop the key qualities and traits required your future healthcare job will require.
Many Opportunities Available
Dozens of hourly jobs in healthcare and related fields can give you great experience and a chance to expand your skills. Consider exploring jobs with titles like these:
- Personal care attendant (sometimes called home health aide).
- Nurse's aide.
- Health services assistant.
- Resident counselor (at a group home).
- Certified nursing assistant.
- Medical/clinic receptionist.
- Camp counselor.
Expand Your Choices
Look for hourly jobs that can teach you the essential skills you'll need for your healthcare career later on. But remember that many positions can provide useful skills.
For example, if you're pursuing a degree and a career in nursing, a nurse's aide job now would be an obvious choice. But it's not the only one. You could also work as a personal care attendant, helping people in their homes with both household tasks and day-to-day living activities. This can give you a sense of what it's like to help someone with very personal needs. Or you could work at a summer camp for children who have unique healthcare issues and learn firsthand about a host of diseases and conditions.
Identify Key Skills
Pinpoint the key skills you'd like to obtain in your hourly jobs. Check out Career Snapshots and search actual job postings for the healthcare positions you want to pursue after graduation. For example, here's an excerpt from a Monster job posting for a registered nurse:
"You will review client records noting healthcare needs, document healthcare progress, administer necessary medications, provide health education and refer children for care when required treatment is beyond the scope of nursing..."
Implicit in this description are a host of necessary abilities: strong organizational skills, good judgment and the ability to teach people about health-related issues. If you look for hourly positions that can help you develop these skills, you'll give yourself a significant competitive advantage over other entry-level job candidates.
Diversify Your Search
But just how do you find hourly job opportunities in healthcare? You can tap:
- Your school's career center or student employment center.
- Your professors and academic advisors, who will know of organizations where other students have landed hourly healthcare jobs.
- Classified ads from the campus, weekly and daily newspapers in your area.
- State or local job service or workforce centers.
- Local temporary employment agencies -- particularly those that specialize in placing people in healthcare jobs.
An hourly job in healthcare can benefit you well beyond the paycheck. Treat it as a stepping-stone to your future healthcare career, and look for an hourly position that will give you a boost when you make the transition from college student to college grad and job seeker.