Ask a Recruiter: Why Can’t I Get a Medical Assistant Job?
Question: I would like to know why it is hard to find a job when I am certified as a Medical Assistant and Phlebotomist and I have 9 years of experience working in doctors’ offices and labs. – Certified and Experience, a Workforce1 Career Blog reader
Answer: To answer this question, we talked with Shannon Cantu, Director of Workforce1 Healthcare Career Center. Here is what Shannon had to say:
Given your Medical Assistant and Phlebotomy certifications, plus your 9 years of work experience in doctors’ offices and labs, you should be qualified for some positions.
So, let’s break down the job search process and see where things might be going wrong. I’m going to give you some advice to help with your:
- Job search strategy
- Resume writing
- Interview skills
Let’s start with some advice for a better JOB SEARCH STRATEGY – because if you aren’t applying to the right jobs, it doesn’t matter how good your resume is and you’ll never get to show off your interview skills.
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for an effective job search strategy:
DON’T: rely on firing off your resume to every want ad you see. Many candidates think that because they are submitting their resume to hundreds of open jobs they have a comprehensive job search strategy. But the truth is, your resume will get lost in the enormous pile of resumes sent for every open job order. Instead, work to get a direct referral in order to stand out from the crowd.
DO: if you’ve been out of work for a while, consider other occupational titles than Medical Assistant. You may have an easier time getting back to work as a Patient Care Aide, Patient Care Technician, or Phlebotomist. (But see the resume advice below to make sure you’re tailoring your resume for every job.)
DON’T: get caught up in a title.
DO: consider positions with long-term care facilities and social assistance organizations. I hear many jobseekers say they only want to work in hospitals. But the truth is, other types of organizations hire Medical Assistants (as well as the other occupations mentioned above) and can be great places to work.
DON’T: limit your options.
Now, for your RESUME:
With your certifications and experience, you should start your resume off with a Summary of Qualifications (similar to an Objective section). Use a slightly bigger font for this section and really call attention to your nine years of experience working in doctors’ offices and labs with Medical Assistant and Phlebotomy Certifications.
In addition to highlighting your strengths, use this Summary of Qualifications section to let each employer know that you really are interested in his/her specific position:
- If you do decide to apply to positions with different occupational titles, customize this section of your resume for every job application to clarify that you are looking for a Medical Assistant, Patient Care Aide, Patient Care Technician or Phlebotomist position.
- Even if you stick with only the Medical Assistant occupation, there are different types of Medical Assistants, ranging from very clinical positions to almost entirely administrative positions. What type of job do you want? And what type of experience do you have? The more flexible you are, the more attractive you are to an employer. Depending on what is true for you, your Summary of Qualifications section might say something like this: Strong interest in providing hands-on patient care as well as performing office management and administrative work.
Don’t forget to highlight key skills on your resume, especially computer skills. The healthcare system is moving to Electronic Health Records (EHR) and computer experience is a big plus!
Similarly, if you are bilingual – put that on your resume. Patients in New York City speak a lot of different languages and employers like to hire people who can speak the patient’s language.
This bit of resume advice may go without saying, but make sure your resume is free of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. In a tough job market, these simple mistakes – which you might think have nothing to do with your job – can be used to separate candidates. If you’d like one of our Career Advisors to review your resume for a job in the healthcare industry, contact the Workforce1 Healthcare Career Center or read other blog posts related to resumes.
Finally, you might be having trouble landing a job because your INTERVIEW SKILLS need some polishing. You can check out some interview advice on this blog. You can also attend the Workforce1 Healthcare Career Center’s interview skills workshop for help interviewing in the healthcare industry.
The Workforce1 Healthcare Career Center works closely with leading businesses to recruit, train, and connect candidates to jobs in this growing field.
Have a comment, question or idea about this blog entry? Let us know in the comments section below!