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The Job Hunt: EXPERIENCE REQUIRED


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I'm a new graduate and recently moved to western North Carolina with the hope of starting my career. I'm running in to the age old condition of EXPERIENCE REQUIRED as I look for jobs. I'm a very solid candidate, but I get the feeling that my CV / cover letter are being brushed aside when they see no previous experience. What I'm hoping for are some tips from all you successful PAs who've been through this process and battled your way in to a position. How do I get noticed?!? Thanks!

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what did you do before pa school? that often can help land a first job:

er tech/paramedic: er/urgent care

RT: pulmonology/critical care

surg tech: surgery

ortho tech: ortho

p.t. assistant: ortho pm+r, etc

lpn/medical asst.: primary care

 

I know I would not have gotten several of my jobs including my first without my paramedic experience

 

how much are you constrained by geography? there are lots of jobs out there if you are willing to move...

what about specialty? is your heart set on 1 field or are you flexible?

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I have no previous direct healthcare experience. My previous career was in research and teaching, which are essentially non-selling points to recruiters. What I have are several preceptors willing to speak very highly of me and a stellar track record in school, but this matters very little when I can't get a foot in the door.

 

The geography is constraining and is really the predominant issue. I sacrificed job offers for home life. I am willing to, and can be, patient with finding a career, but I'm still curious on working the system a bit. Maybe a better question would be how to network in a new city as a healthcare professional... Any ideas?

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Maybe a better question would be how to network in a new city as a healthcare professional... Any ideas?

It's tough to do...I just got back from a recruitment dinner with a local hospital where I was able to talk at length with some of the main people involved in their clinician hiring process. We found common things to talk about, exchanged some emails CV; they got to meet not only me but my wife, and now I have a few more connections in my locale for when I graduate. One guy (former veteran) even said he would take me around to meet people at his hospital and adjoining clinics if I wanted. Not too shabby.

 

Anyway, moral of the story is to try and find community events, hospital events, etc to check out. It seems that every fair or farmers market there is somebody from a local clinic or hospital with a booth. I found this recruitment dinner online through the hospitals website and RSVPd for it. I was the only PA student there. There were only 2 other PAs that I saw, the rest were MDs or DOs...It was prime pickings to say the least for any PA.

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What city in NC?! I moved to eastern NC for a job right out of school... There are many out there that say "will train new grads" u just have to find them. Have u heard of ENPAC? It is an organization where NPs/PAs meet once monthly usually at a restaurant and have a specialist talk/lecture... The topic is usually pretty interesting and informative. And the president is always sending out emails for job opportunities.

 

Ur geography may be holding u back. I am actually having more trouble finding a job with only 1 year of experience then I did as a new grad. Fancy that...

 

 

Let food be thy medicine

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I am in Asheville, NC. I have not heard of ENPAC? A brief search on google didn't give me any seemingly relevant results. I actually have attempted to shadow some providers here and asked to be placed in contact with some PAs through a recruiter. They seemed to state that these were possibilities, but I heard nothing more about these opportunities... it seems that some of my requests are shuffled under the table (I've assumed the recruiter is just very busy). Would anyone recommend directly contacting a practice and seeing if I can be placed in touch with a mid-level? Thanks for the ideas so far!

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I live in Asheville.  I had a terribly hard time finding my first job out of PA school.  WNC is not interested in new grads generally.  Ortho is the only exception.  Southeastern sports grinds through their PAs and is usually looking for a new one every 6 months or so.  You could contact Blue Ridge Bone and Joint as well and see if any of their docs need a PA.  

 

It's important to make connections during rotations to get a job as a new grad.  If you know you are going to move to an area after school you really need to do rotations in that area.  Otherwise, you need to be willing to move to areas hiring new grads.  They exist.  

 

You should look into SMAPA - Smokey Mountain Area PAs - and try and make some connections.

 

I actually worked for free part time in primary care for almost a year before I got my first paying job in Asheville because moving anywhere else was not an option for me.

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Contacted ENPAC. No luck :(

 

Asheville is proving to be a much more competitive market in medicine than I ever imagined. I think rural placement is somewhat difficult also due to the hospital system owning a huge majority of the medical market within a 45 min. radius. Monopoly is killing me... haha

No luck as in no email back or he couldn't help u?! If he didn't get back To u yet, I'm sure he will soon.

 

 

Let food be thy medicine

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I have no previous direct healthcare experience. My previous career was in research and teaching, which are essentially non-selling points to recruiters.

 

Then you're not really a PA then, are you?  You're an imposter who's made his or her way through PA school and passed the PANCE... and you can't be trusted (by the recruiting organizations) to know anything useful.

 

The real fraud is that someone let you into a program with no patient care experience, knowing full well that this would be the end result: you have a useless degree, and can't get a job, because you don't have the minimums expected of the profession, which obviously exceed the minimums expected by employers.  Oh well, they've got your money, and you're only marginally employable.

 

You can get a CNA or EMT and get healthcare experience in relatively short order...  Oh, wait, someone should have told you that BEFORE they accepted you into PA school.

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DUDE, that's a little harsh...even for me...

look for jobs initially that no one else wants. that would be prisons, inner city, underserved, etc

anyone who has passed pance can get a job but it might not be in the specialty you want or the place you want.

you may have to move, better accept that now.

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also consider federal bureau of prisons, public health service, VA, and yes, the military.

ANY PA with an nccpa cert can get a job but it takes a bit of doing without prior experience or relationships in healthcare.

many of us had job offers before starting PA school. sometimes it's who you know.

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DUDE, that's a little harsh...even for me...

Yeah, sorry, that came across as biting the OP more than I meant it to.  I think the school should be held liable for admitting the OP without HCE, because the whole thing was a setup and they knew or should have known that a PA without any prior HCE was unemployable.

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You have to change something in your job search equation. Either broaden your specialty search or broaden your geographic area. I would say to reduce your compensation expectations, but it doesn't sound like you've made it to an interview yet.

 

Did you make any contacts while a student? Did any preceptor ever offer to help you out when you graduated, either with a soft offer or by hooking you up with a connection? Have you tried applying at places where you rotated?

 

At this point, since your rotations are your only patient care experience, I would advise relying on them heavily.

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I always laugh at how similar professional boards are. I think I read the same thread once, with all the same lovable characters when I was active on the pilot boards! Experience is/was a big deal in that industry as well and if you've been paying attention to any of the new regulations, breaking into flying is about to get harder as the FAA imposes higher minimum flight hour requirements on pilots. 

 

So how does aviation apply in this situation? Just like in aviation, if you are low on experience, you have to quite literally chase down opportunities wherever they are. This means networking your rear off and using every connection you have, walking your resume into every job you apply for, being willing to move for a job, or taking less than desirable jobs.

 

Still expect and demand to be compensated in a fair manner, but realize that you are at a disadvantage for the moment. Get a few years of work under your belt and this will all be just a story to tell when you are a crazy old PA. However, for the moment, it's your reality and you have to face it head on, with all the effort you can muster. It can and has been done! Good luck!

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I have to admit, I'm amazed it took this long for that conversation to blossom. I have read the no healthcare experience diatribe in several iterations myself on this board. It has fair and valid points, but is rendered to be simply idealistic when you look at the reality (IMO). We are here, more are coming.

 

With that in mind, I understand that my first job may be undesirable, and I was simply hoping for advice on networking in a new city. My apologies if that was unclear, and my thanks to those of you that offered tips!

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