School's Out, Job Hunt's On

  • Article by: NANCY CROTTI , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: June 8, 2011 - 10:47 AM

Competition from experienced workers remains stiff, so grads need to work harder to find health care jobs this summer.

Graduation may have come and gone, but that doesn't mean education has, too. Career counselors from two area colleges advise new grads who are looking for jobs to keep learning: study the organizations they want to work for; learn their mission statements; and figure out how their education and experience fit those goals.

Dave Broza, interim director of the Office of Career Services at Bethel University in St. Paul (bethel.edu), also advised health care job seekers to cast a wide net. "Just speaking anecdotally, the opportunities within the Twin Cities area are not as numerous, so students are concentrating on getting away from the Twin Cities area" to such places as Fargo, Sioux Falls and Duluth, he said.
Regardless of where the jobs are, networking is paramount for new grads competing with experienced workers, Broza said. However, that doesn't mean asking for a job at the first meeting.

"If you ask your for a job straight up, they will right away assess you and not become your ally," Broza said. Rather, he suggested contacting people working in the desired field and asking them about their story. These may be family friends or people met during clinical experiences.

"I promote getting connected to your industry with a professional organization," advised Carrie Hageman, career services director at Century College in White Bear Lake (century.edu). "Learn from those who do the career you hope to enter. It's great for networking. It's great for skill-building."

Century recently joined four other MnSCU colleges to host a job fair that attracted more health care employers than fairs in recent years. Hageman said. She's heard health care organizations are hiring in obstetrics, emergency departments and intensive care units.

On competing with experienced workers, Hageman has other advice. "I tell students the value of a résumé and how important it is to articulate your clinical skills to show you have the aptitude and the clinical experience," she said. "The résumé is the springboard for everything else. If a student invests in writing a résumé that truly communicates to an employer what they can get from them, then everything flows from that."

Demonstrating a willingness to be flexible on the job and exhibiting a positive attitude during an interview will boost an applicant's chances, she added. "Not having a job is more than not having a paycheck," Hageman said. "It's your sense of worth and self and if you come into an interview and show that you're beaten down, it doesn't help."

 

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