Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How to Get to the Next Level in Health Information Management

So, are you ready for your next level role within Health Information Management (HIM)?

What is your next level? As noted on the AHIMA Engaged site, the HIM field is open to professionals at different education and credential levels. What can you do to prepare for a career in the HIM world? It is never too early to start gaining experience working with medical records and electronic health records in any capacity. What does this mean? As a student, you are in high demand for part time positions with duties ranging from filing to scanning and data entry. These simple tasks can get you into a clinical setting in preparation for possible internships and later full time jobs. The students that are working full time in a clinical setting can go the extra mile by getting involved in HIM projects, pitching best practices or joining a committee at work that would improve IT skills.

Gaining experience in any capacity distinguishes you from your peers. It shows your current employer that you are invested in the process and it tells prospective employers you are forward thinking and will be a great asset to their team. Try some of the following strategies to help you stand out:

  • Network: The benefits of networking are immeasurable. You can contact a WGU Career Specialist to discuss networking strategies. 
  • Get Creative: Don’t be afraid to step out and use your creativity to help others on your team. 
  • Demonstrate Leadership: Show your leadership skills by creating guidelines regarding your job functions or a job aide describing how to complete a difficult function. 
  • Identify Areas for Improvement: Look around your department and determine what processes you can improve. 

The fun really begins when you find an opening for a position of interest! Get prepared by researching the company and ensure that your resume is updated. Create a unique cover letter for the position. WGU Career & Professional Development has resources to help you get started. Be comfortable with the wording; it should sound like your own words and not a template. Your resume should state your accomplishments and you should be prepared to address and elaborate on these accomplishments in an interview. Make sure to bring your manuals and other self-created materials to your interview as you will need to use them to elaborate. After all, this should be the best sales pitch for the job you want!

Last but not least, answer questions honestly and demonstrate how your skills can benefit the company you want to work for. Don’t just dress the part; remember you are there to have a conversation with your prospective employer. Good luck students!

About the Author

Sandra Goddard is an Area Supervisor at MRO Corp and a Health Informatics graduate of WGU. In her previous position with a behavioral health organization, there were limited opportunities for growth so she decided to gain experience by participating on various committees related to IT projects, coding implementation and training. She utilized her IT skills and additional knowledge gained through her coursework to simplify processes and train her colleagues. After ten years with the behavioral health organization and graduation on the horizon, Sandra began applying for management positions. She produced training manuals to demonstrate how her experience would be an asset for new staff training in both HIPAA and ROI procedures. Her hard work and job search preparation paid off as she was offered the Area Supervisor position for MRO Corp. MRO Corp is a vendor and the position allows for a multitude of EMR experience and networking. As an Area Supervisor, she is constantly learning best practices at different sites. As the saying goes “Hard work brings great rewards” and this is true in the HIM field.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Playing Hard Ball with Soft Skills

Today’s job market continues to be highly competitive. Most employers are looking for employees who bring a solid education and proven job performance. Beyond the specific job skills required to do the role, employers also want to know what kind of person are you. Are you a team player? How do you treat your customers? Do you take initiative?

While your specific job skills and certifications may get you noticed, your soft skills can tip the scales in an interview. Hiring managers are looking at leadership qualities, attitudes, communication skills, emotional intelligence, and other personal attributes that are essential to career success. These interpersonal skills are becoming more and more in demand when employers are assessing applicants to determine if they are a right fit for the job.

Some specific areas to keep in mind as you’re assessing and promoting your own brand are:
  • Accountability
  • Problem Solving
  • Time Management 
  • Collaboration
  • Flexibility
  • Communication
  • Active Listening
  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Relationship Building
This is just a small sample that can be found in job descriptions. Take time to assess your skill sets and discover the unique strengths and value you bring to an employer. This way you will be prepared to discuss them with employers. Don’t forget to incorporate these skills into your resume by crafting bullet points that showcase accomplishments you have achieved through your soft skills. Soft skills also play an important role in your LinkedIn Profile and Skills sections, and even during interviews when asked, “Tell me about yourself.”

We’re eager to help you explore other ways to use your soft skills during your job search. We have robust professional development resources that can help you to increase your interpersonal effectiveness, and workplace productivity.