We’ve all heard terms such as the “wow factor”, “noteworthy”, or “upper hand”. Whatever the phrase, that extra bit is what sets you apart, so what is your edge? I’ve recently read a book called ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson that focuses on turning disciplines into habit that then leads to success. As a new grad starting your job search, it’s important to find your edge. What can you bring to the table? How are you going to compare to other therapists applying for the same positions? Whether you’re looking to start your career as a traveler or choosing a direct hire/full time position, here are a few things to consider to make yourself more marketable to your future employer.
Are you preparing to start your career as a traveler? As a new graduate, it can be difficult finding your first position with limited experience or skills. The first tip begins while you’re still in school. Choose to work in a variety of settings during your clinical rotations or fieldwork. Yes, you can be a traveler in most medical settings. However, there is not a lot of control on where the job market is at any given time and what medical settings need therapists. With that being said, it’s great to have worked and shadowed in a variety of settings to allow yourself to be experienced and capable when new openings come available. Even though you may think you know what setting you will like, get out there and challenge yourself! Step out of your wheelhouse and try something new. As a traveler, it’s best to be flexible! With the control you have, choose a geriatric and pediatric setting, along with both inpatient and outpatient. This will help out tremendously when starting your job search!
Also, keep in mind that the interview process for travel assignments consist of basically all phone interviews. Spruce up your phone interview skills to show your personality! Great communication is key.
Find your Wheelhouse
Thinking about settling down in a direct hire position after graduation? Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself. Where do you strive as a therapist? Do you enjoy working with adults or pediatrics? Is your home in a small rural area or is your heart in the city? These questions can be difficult as you’re still a student, but it’s important to take some time and really think about what you want to do in your career and also be able to grow to your full potential. This isn’t something that you can determine overnight. Take your time, find a mentor, and do your research. It’s okay to ask questions and go outside your bubble. Stepping outside of your comfort zone means you are growing and learning!
Once you figure out where your passion is, focus on that setting in school and clinicals. Get as much experience as you can. If possible, work part time or shadow at a facility that may interest you or in the setting you like. It’s also important to record everything you do that’s relevant to therapy. Using this information on your resume helps display your skills, experience, and what you can bring into your career.
Networking is pertinent. When it comes to your job search, it can come down to who you know and also who they know. When a facility has an opening, it’s convenient for them to hire someone they know and trust. Ask questions when you’re there during your clinicals. Ask if they are hiring or for feedback on how you’re doing and what you can do better. Stay active when networking and show interest. In the words of Jeff Olson, “wanting is uncomfortable, yet wanting is essential to winning.”
Success and Failure
Life is all about choices and those choices will lead you to success or failure. Remember that both can be temporary, so maintaining your edge will allow you to keep a strong pace. Through time, life doesn’t lead you down a straight path. There are ups, downs, and sharp curves along the way and you have little or no control on when or how they will happen.
There is one easy way to determine how you’re handling the road ahead. It all comes down to blame and responsibility. Taking responsibility for who you are, what you do, and how you do it demonstrates how you’re applying your edge. Blaming others or circumstances for things that happened only digs you deeper in a hole with no way out. Think about your choices and attitude as you start your career. It starts with your mind set. Are you going to sit back and wait for your dream job to fall in your lap or will you challenge yourself and work for it? Keep the control in your own hands and watch what can happen to your future!
Now it’s your turn to decide. What’s your edge?