Guest blog by Mary Pat Whaley, FACMPE, MGMA member and practice administrator, Halifax Regional Medical Center, Roanoke Rapids, N.C., and editor of the blog ManageMyPractice.com
I resigned from my job managing an orthopedic group on Jan. 20, 2009, and I remember thinking, Who leaves a job during a recession? Well, I did, and what follows is what I learned on my three-and-a-half month journey to my new position.
- Visit the MGMA Career Center job search site often. Try different categories and occasionally check categories you don't think you fit in – you never know. I don't suggest this because I am writing for the MGMA blog, I suggest it because it is a resource that I believe in.
- Four state MGMA sites integrate their "jobs boards" with the MGMA Career Center: Colorado, Georgia, New Jersey and Montana. Search other state MGMA sites; some allow non-members to access the job listings.
- Get a LinkedIn account (free) at LinkedIn.com and complete your profile, connect with colleagues, join groups and start networking. There are healthcare jobs listed exclusively on LinkedIn, as well as an aggregation of jobs listed elsewhere. Joining MGMA's new LinkedIn group will help expand your network even more.
- In addition to LinkedIn, be sure to have your expanded resume on the web. MGMA provides a platform for this, as does VisualCV.com (free). I use VisualCV.com because it allows me to include articles I've authored, recommendations from former employers and even video. I've gotten a number of quality calls from recruiters who saw my expanded resume online.
- Contact consultants to let them know you are in the market. MGMA has a consulting arm that often places healthcare executives, and you can also search for consultants via the MGMA Member Directory (at last count about 640).
- Contact your colleagues and MGMA friends to let them know you're looking. If you are looking for employment in a particular region or community, contact managers working there and let them know about your search.
- Look on Craigslist.org. Yes, really! You would be amazed who advertises there.
- If you expect to relocate, having a home to sell may be a hiring stumbling block because of the housing market. Employers want to know you'll be available to work when they want you. If you don't have a home to sell, mention that in your cover letter/e-mail.
- When you apply for a position, ask the receiver to let you know that your e-mail arrived. If they respond, take the opportunity to respond back, which helps you to stand out from the pack and gives you a name to follow up with in a few weeks by e-mail.
- There is a pack! Some employers told me they had received more than 200 mostly qualified applications for open positions. How do you stand out in that kind of a crowd? Network, network, network. Find out whether you or someone you know knows someone at the potential employer and work it.
- Join more listservs on the MGMA Member Community (members only). Step outside your current/past specialties and join other professional e-mail lists to listen and contribute to the conversation. Respond when someone talks about a job opening.
- Talk to recruiters. Recruiters don't owe you anything, but they are worth including in your search. Get into the minds of a recruiters and see what tactics they're using on social networking platforms to fill jobs.
- Don't spend much time on nonhealthcare job boards. The likelihood that you will find the job of your dreams on Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com is low.
- Don't be afraid to look for a job on Twitter. This is what I tweeted: "Calling on the Power of Twitter: looking for new job: private (phys) practice mgmt/other healthcare opp. Innovator, Blogger. DM me - Thx." If you want to jump into Twitter but don't know what it's all about, read this post at my blog, Manage My Practice, or MGMA's Twitter guide. Twitter has recruiters, consultants, employers, job boards and colleagues and is one of the fastest-growing social networks. It can significantly expand your networking scope.
- Share information with other job seekers in your market. Don't be afraid to share your leads with others – it's good networking karma!
- Two sites I found useful during my job search are CareerAlley.com and Alltop.com. Career Alley is a good all-purpose site with lots of job search information and resources, such as a tracking spreadsheet that helps you document your leads. Alltop is an ever-growing aggregator of other sites – try looking under "jobs" and "careers."
Remember, the Internet doesn't replace traditional networking – it supercharges it! The important thing is to get out there and make connections, share information and let people know what value you bring to a practice. Even with all the social networking I did, my opportunity came the old-fashioned way: A colleague and consultant I knew well from the state and regional levels of MGMA recommended me for a job, and here I am. Good luck!