By Barbara E. Arnold, MBA, RHIT, APR
Whether you’re looking to land your first job, execute a career pivot for work/life balance, or move up to the next rung on the health information management (HIM) career ladder, knowing how to navigate today’s HIM job market is a must. This two-part article series shares wisdom from three credentialed HIM professionals with more than 60 years of combined experience (including as hiring managers), discussing tried-and-true tips for HIM job seekers at any level in today’s changing career landscape:
- Julie Hable, MBA, RHIA, operations manager, health information management, Mayo Clinic
- Wil Limp, MS, RHIA, CHTS-TR, program director, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
- Emmy Johnson, RHIA, vice president of operations and client relations, Gebbs Healthcare Solutions
The first installment discussed the importance of education and credentials for HIM professionals, skills employers are seeking in job candidates, and how to craft a resume that will put your best foot forward. This second installment will discuss how to develop your social media presence, how to ace the interview process, and staying engaged with lifelong learning and networking.
Developing Your Social Media Presence: LinkedIn and Beyond
Hable, Limp, and Johnson all emphasized the importance of having a profile active on the social media website LinkedIn, a business- and employment-based website and mobile app used for professional networking. More and more employers are now posting and filling openings via LinkedIn. Job seekers can also post their resumes. Recruiters search LinkedIn for potential candidates as well.
Remember, a LinkedIn profile is not the same as a resume. It should provide a quick summary with relevant facts that accurately describe what you do. It also needs to have a headline and a professional photo—not a wedding picture or a day at the beach. In the summary, include a call to action, reflect passion, and list skills. Include contact information such as email, phone number, or both. For work experience, list responsibilities and accomplishments. Be honest, specific, and quantitative. Finally, be bold and ask for skills endorsements or robust and truthful recommendations.
On other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it can be helpful to create an online presence that helps people feel like they know you. Choose what works for you and own your online persona. All social media should be reviewed for any potential red flags. Many recruiters and human resources professionals are now reviewing social media prior to considering a candidate. Some individuals purposely create separate personal and professional social media profiles. However, know the personal social media profile could be discovered. In short, “clean up your social media,” said Hable.
Applying and Interviewing (Prep, During, and Post)
Hable focused on how to land that first HIM job, and beyond.
First, the job applicant needs to identify targeted positions. Connect with colleagues regarding job opportunities and references. Next, use a personal email that is professional, not one with something like “hot babe” in the name. Review and update your resume, cover letter, and references. Complete the job application accurately. If applicable, review and clean up social media accounts. After waiting a suitable amount of time, follow up after a week via phone or email, to inquire about the status of application.
The Job Interview
Prep: Do your homework by reviewing the job posting and the facility’s website, learn the interviewers’ names, and be ready to talk about the industry and the organization. Every applicant should learn all you can about the company, as well as its competitors. Practice interviewing with sample job interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” and “Why are you are interested in this job?” Anticipate questions from the interviewer and prepare questions to ask of the interviewer. “Nothing bothers me more than if a candidate does not have any questions for me,” shared Hable. Plan ahead by doing reconnaissance, arrive 15 to 20 minutes early, and bring extra copies of your resume.
During the Interview: Dress for the job you want and be personable. Mute and put away the cell phone. Sell yourself by being confident, honest, polite, and positive. Answer questions and maintain eye contact. Elaborate and share your story. Refrain from short answers. Listen to each question carefully. Make sure the question is addressed and provide examples that are relevant to the position. Most of all, SMILE!
Skype Interviews: Hable also addressed Skype interviews, which are becoming more common in the HIM virtual world.
Prior to a Skype interview, test the technology, including the camera view and the speaker. Look at the camera, not the screen. Dress the same as for an in-person interview. Keep everything professional. In addition, prepare the surroundings, such as the “image” behind your desk. Corral the kiddos and pets so there are no interruptions. Ask your spouse or another adult for help.
Post: Remember to say thank you and follow up with a thank you email or handwritten note as soon as possible after the interview. At the appropriate time, ask for feedback if needed.
Lifelong Learning and Networking
Being successful in HIM is a function of the three Ts: Talent, Timing, and Tenacity, according to Johnson. “You’ve got to make a plan,” she said pointing to the newly created AHIMA Career Map based on the AHIMA initiative HIM Reimagined. “This plan includes lifelong learning amidst the many changes going on in the profession, asking questions, listening, and learning, exceling in your current position, building your network, identifying your next job, preparing yourself so you can realize your dream.
“Your NETWORK is your NET WORTH,” shared Johnson. ”While what you know is key, who you know is even more important for your future career. I encourage everyone to create their own board of directors consisting of seven people:
1) The Role Model, who you aspire to be like
2) The Dreamer, who says nothing is impossible
3) The Challenger, who keeps you grounded
4) The Jekyll to Your Hyde, who provides a new perspective
5) The Friend, who supports you at your worst and raises to your best
6) The Peer, who is fighting the same fights as you are
7) The Wild Card, who will surprise you.”
Johnson challenged HIM professionals to get out of their comfort zone at their next professional meeting. “Go up to a person you don’t know and start up a conversation,” she said. “Likewise, identify three people in the profession who you want to meet. Reach out to them through email, LinkedIn, or phone, and set up a time to talk and meet.”
The first installment of this two-part article series discussed the importance of education and credentials for HIM professionals, skills employers are seeking in job candidates, and how to craft a resume that will put your best foot forward.