Your resume and cover letter act as your initial introduction to potential employers, so you’ll need to update your content to make a strong impression. We’ve partnered with Lenore Coaching to create a resume template and resource guide to communicate your experience.
Create a Master Resume – Start with a master resume that includes all of your experience to date. Each section should include your core responsibilities, skills, and numbered data. When writing your sections, think through, “I did this, which resulted in this, which matters because of this.”
Tailor Your Resume – For each job post, look at the job description and identify the top skills and keywords required for the position. Then, select relevant past work from your master resume and tailor the content into a new one-page resume specific to the job you’re applying for. Make sure that your experience includes the top skills and keywords from the job post.
Highlight Your Healthcare Certifications – Clearly mention any healthcare certificates or degrees near the top of your resume. Depending on the role, healthcare recruiters will look for certificates to see who is qualified. The VA Ready template also includes our VA Ready Scholar badge at the top of the page, which can help you stand out with VA Ready hiring partners.
Write a Unique Cover Letter – Cover letters are your chance to contextualize your experience. It’s important to express your passion for healthcare while giving clear examples of how you manage your work, solve problems, and deliver results. This is also a great place to address soft skills around empathy, communication, and teamwork.
Online Job Boards – Specialized healthcare job websites like On Board Virginia can be more effective at finding jobs in Virginia compared to relying solely on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor. When looking at job postings, try going to a hospital’s website directly to see if there’s additional information or a direct application link.
Healthcare Recruiters & Staffing Agencies – Healthcare recruiters and staffing agencies are trained to stay up-to-date on the latest HR systems and job requirements. Consider working with a healthcare recruiter to format your resume and match your skills with positions you might not have considered before.
Newsletters – Sign up for a hospital’s career-focused newsletters to track available roles. You can do the same for job boards and healthcare recruitment firms, too.
Network with People in the Healthcare Field
Networking is a powerful tool in your job search arsenal. It can help you gain insights into job openings, learn about industry trends, and connect with potential employers. Here's how to get started:
Attend Industry Events – Participate in healthcare conferences, seminars, and workshops. These events provide opportunities to meet professionals in the field and build interpersonal connections. Remember to follow up through email or LinkedIn afterward to solidify a communication line.
LinkedIn & Social Media – Update your LinkedIn profile, emphasizing your healthcare certifications, background, and career goals. Connect with professionals in your desired field and engage in conversations relevant to healthcare. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with a hospital’s HR staff to follow-up on resumes if you haven’t heard back. As for other social media platforms, keep an eye out for fast-paced hiring events on a hospital’s Instagram and Facebook feed. You can also explore first-person accounts from hospital professionals through Reddit forums.
Leverage Personal Connections – Reach out to friends, family members, and acquaintances who work in healthcare. They might be aware of job openings or able to introduce you to key contacts.
Apply Using Online Job Boards
Online job boards are a convenient way to browse and apply for healthcare positions. While you may find positions on general platforms, a healthcare-specific job board like On Board Virginia can help you hone in on job openings.
Watch our video above or read our tips below to make the most of On Board Virginia’s job board features:
Job Title Search Filters — Filter available positions by job type and title to narrow your search. It’s also best to research if your position has an alternate title to widen your net (e.g., “medical technologist vs medical laboratory scientist).
Experience and Qualification Filters – On Board Virginia allows you to adjust your experience level and qualification requirements to suit your search. While many jobs prefer or require a bachelor’s degree, there are several others that only need an associate’s or a high school diploma combined with relevant healthcare certifications.
Location Filters – Virginia features a diverse mix of urban landscapes, small towns, and rural communities. Use the location filter to find jobs in Virginia settings you might not have considered before. Rural areas in particular face a growing need for capable healthcare professionals.
Prepare for Job Interviews
Being well-prepared in a job interview can be the difference between landing or losing the job. Here are some tips to excel in your healthcare job interviews:
Practice Interview Questions – Familiarize yourself with common healthcare interview questions and practice your responses. Focus on highlighting your experiences and how they relate to the job. Depending on the role, soft skills can also be equally important to emphasize. Ready to try speaking? Test out Grow.Google’s interview warm-up tool. The more you practice articulating your thoughts, the easier it will be during your interview.
Company Research – Research the healthcare organization you're interviewing with by reading through their website, recent social posts, and a quick Google search. Your goal is to understand its mission, values, and recent achievements. If you’re able to connect with a current employee in your desired role or a department head, you can ask honest questions about the work culture and traits you’ll need to succeed. Networking will give you a more holistic view of the organization.
Ask Questions – Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer. This demonstrates your interest in the position and the organization. Think of it as a chance to see if the organization is the right fit for you.
Be Persistent and Stay Positive
The journey from completing your healthcare program to landing your dream job can be challenging but highly rewarding. By updating your resume and cover letter, utilizing healthcare-specific resources, networking, and mastering the job search process, you'll be well on your way to securing a fulfilling healthcare position.
Stay persistent, showcase your passion for healthcare, and remember that each step you take brings you closer to your career goals in the healthcare field.