5 Tips for Choosing Your First Job in Healthcare Administration

administratorAt some point all students of healthcare administration find themselves applying to jobs, whether graduating with an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in the field. Education requires a large amount of time and energy, so it only makes sense that choosing one’s first job out of school is a pretty big deal.

With a few targeted strategies, searching and applying for a first job in healthcare administration becomes much easier. The key is focusing on exactly what one is looking for, and leveraging existing resources to land an ideal position.

1) Clarify Skills to Develop

Healthcare administrators do a variety of tasks, depending on their goals, subfield, and skill level. While some students might be most interested in becoming health finance experts for their hospital, others might prefer to focus on staff management and human resource activities. Graduating students would do well to figure out what skills they are most interesting in pursuing, thinking perhaps of where they want to be and what they want to know five to ten years from now.

2) Identify an Ideal Work Setting

Some students come to healthcare administration with an idea of their ideal clients and coworkers. Others might have to consider whether they would prefer to work predominantly with nurses, doctors, human resources staff, or external audiences. Additionally, one might need to consider how much patient contact to seek out in a job. Envisioning the environment one wants to work in should also include considerations of social and physical workspace dynamics. Depending on personality one may seek out working for a large, busy hospital or a smaller, outpatient facility.

3) See Professors as Opportunities

Instructors from a degree program can be the greatest allies in a job search. Professors can give great recommendations and likely have a large personal network in healthcare administration. They may even be willing to read applications or resumes depending on how well one knows them. Similarly, former students should remember to reach out to other connections in the field, such as past internship supervisors or friends who already have jobs in healthcare.

4) Present Your Best Self

In our increasingly digital world, healthcare institutions often turn to resume reading software to screen out candidates who don’t list certain keywords. Prospective applicants should find out the skills and keywords that are most in-demand with employers in their sector, whether that be health information systems, purchasing, or management, for example.

5) Accept Change as Normal

While most students feel nervous about choosing their first job in healthcare administration, it is also important to remember that no job is forever. Some people even think some well-calculated job hopping can help boost salaries after obtaining a degree. Making an informed guess about what job will be best after school is important, but sometimes financial considerations, location constraints, or other life factors can limit initial choices. In those cases, changing jobs after developing a little experience might be a perfectly reasonable option.

Everyone can find a satisfying position with a degree in healthcare administration. With adequate reflection and preparation, the first job out of a program can be the perfect beginning step in a fulfilling, lifelong career.