Using Your Transferable Skills to Transition Into Healthcare

by | May 30, 2023 | Job Search Preparation

Many people in Western New York think about a career in Healthcare, but struggle with how to get started, especially if they find themselves in the latter part of their work lives. Some may mistakenly feel that they could not possibly be a good fit for a position in the Healthcare field.

The reality of the situation, however, is that many core skills/traits possessed by people in Western New York are very appealing to the Healthcare field, and would very much assist in the transition. Possessing some of these core traits, coupled with education and training, can make a career in Healthcare very much in reach. These core traits are often referred to as “transferable” skills. Transferable skills are those that you have acquired through your education and experience that can assist an employer, but may not be immediately relevant or specific to the position you are seeking.

The following are some possible transferable skills that may assist you:

• Your Customer Service Experience – Healthcare provides the ultimate customer service….the care for another person’s health. Everything a Healthcare Job Seeker touches should emphasize the “caring” (i.e. compassion and empathy) attitude necessary to be successful in this field. The goal is to have the Hiring Manager feel like you have the perfect mind-set to care for their patients. Keep in mind that many Healthcare facilities are rated based on “patient satisfaction” surveys and the subsequent scores. Therefore, stressing Customer Service is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. In the Cover Letter, stress your experience in Customer Service, whether that was in a Call Center, Retail, or some other form. On your Resume or in your Cover Letter, list any related awards or recognition you have received that was related to service and/or quality. During the Interview, provide specific examples of how, in the past, you have provided superior service. Always stay positive, expressing a pleasant, patient, and thoughtful demeanor when in contact with your prospective employer.

• Ability to Communicate – Most healthcare professionals spend a sizable portion of their day in direct contact with and communicating to patients. Possessing strong oral communication skills, along with keen listening habits, will be very helpful. Anyone in healthcare can also tell you that there are lots of reports to be completed, along with some very specific guidelines on how they should be done. Excellent written communication skills, therefore, will be a real asset in healthcare.

• Comfort with Fast-Paced/Stressful Environment – Communicate to the Hiring Manager, how you have been able to multi-task productively in a stressful situation without having any negative impact to customers. Healthcare can be very stressful (you are dealing with an important subject…health). If you have worked in a deadline/time-sensitive environment with little room for error, then Healthcare may be very transferable.

• Strong Work Ethic – Healthcare can be some tough and demanding work. Stress the positive traits of your strong work ethic, such as your effort, stamina, reliability, initiative, and positive attitude.

• Schedule Flexibility – Patients need care at all hours of the day and all days of the week. Typically those starting with a Healthcare company are relegated to the schedules that are least desired. Your ability to work a non-traditional schedule may be quite appealing to a Hiring Manager, and may also allow you to fast-track your career, rather than someone who is tied-down to a particular work schedule.

• Meeting Physical Requirements – Many positions within Healthcare can be quite physically demanding despite efforts to engineer some of the most difficult aspects away. If you have worked in a physical labor position in the past, make sure you communicate that fact to the Recruiter. This will be a sign to the person that you will not have any issues handling some of the more physical aspects of the position.

Identifying your transferable skills will take some effort and real self-introspection. Review both your professional and personal accomplishments in order to determine what abilities/skills you used to obtain achievement. The next step would be to take those abilities/skills and match it with the type of work you are seeking. This will provide a sense of whether you would be successful in that position or field.

When communicating your transferable skills on your Resume, include a section focused on skills and accomplishments. In this area, list and frame those transferable skills you feel will be most useful. Try to avoid using just a generic Resume that is not customized to the job you are seeking.

Right now a rewarding career in Healthcare may seem impossible, but by reviewing your current skills and behaviors along with the right training/education, you may find yourself well on your way to a new and exciting start.

As always, the best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein

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