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Q: I've been job searching for a year now. How do I best position myself as my last role was eliminated due to a merger?
A: (from Joan Elizabeth Gee, Vice President) In this market, a lot of healthcare executives are losing their positions for similar reasons, reasons hiring organizations readily understand. Being out of work for a year isn’t that unusual anymore either, but as you have found firsthand, it’s difficult to sell yourself as a candidate from this vantage point.
While in the job market, looking for and conducting consulting engagements is a great way to show that your expertise is in demand, and it gives you something current to share during interviews. Also, organizations sometimes look for an executive to serve in a transitional role as they conduct a permanent CEO search, or seek a project person to assist an overwhelmed CEO or leadership team with board-meeting preparation or special projects. This type of work can help keep your mind off what can be a daunting project — looking for a job. And, it also will provide income, which may give you time to make the best choice vs. accepting the first opportunity that comes along. Many times you can set your own hours in consulting, leaving you time to conduct your job search.
Become extremely well informed about healthcare trends. For example, learn what is happening with the impending ICD-10 conversions, gain a better understanding of healthcare reform and get up to speed on ACOs. This will build your confidence for upcoming interviews and position you to hit the ground running when hired.
As for the job search itself, the key to a successful search is networking. Staying in touch with your peer group, industry leaders and retained search firm executives will be critical to best positioning yourself for opportunities that will lead to your next job. The best way to stay in touch with your peer group is through industry associations such as ACHE — its national and local chapters. Also, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call some of your contacts. Now is a good time to reach some of your former colleagues: people who reported to you or to whom you reported. Give them an update on your status, and let them know what type of position you would like to have. Be specific: e.g., title, location, type of organization and reporting structure.
Network with retained search firms on an ongoing basis as doing so should expedite the process when looking for a new executive-level position. Search firms know where the current, and in some cases, upcoming openings are in organizations. They are in the business of getting the best candidates hired into the best opportunities. It’s important to get your professional, concise resume into the databases of the best search firms in the country as soon as possible. Firms like Tyler & Company constantly network for ideal candidates and comb its database looking for executives who have shown receptivity in exploring opportunities.
It’s always wise to keep your resume current, and it’s always in your best interests to have open relationships with, and be responsive to, reputable retained executive search firm staff. Given the market conditions and the rapidly changing healthcare environment, networking and understanding what is happening within your industry, organization and peer group are important. The old adage that it’s easier to get a job when you have a job is 100 percent true. Once you get a new position, be on the lookout for signs that your position might be eliminated and be proactive about securing a new role so you can avoid this situation.
Reach Joan Elizabeth Gee, Vice President at +1 770 396 3939 or email@example.com.