The healthcare IT jobs market is one of the hottest in the nation, claimed expert panelists who spoke on the “Hot Jobs in Life Sciences & Healthcare” panel, at the Westchester County Association’s Health Tech ’15 conference. They shared advice for breaking into, and developing a career, in healthcare and technology. The audience of over 200 recent graduates, current students, and professionals looking to change careers took careful notes. Just as important as a technical skill set, they emphasized, is having passion about what you do.
“There’s so much opportunity here—it’s just a matter of your pathway in,” said Kalish, who attributed growth in the field to the changing healthcare landscape, healthcare acquisitions, and healthcare reform.
In fact, the need for technology-trained healthcare workers may require a paradigm shift in the way medical professionals are prepared, said June Keenan, executive director for the Center for Regional Healthcare Innovation.
“We are going to have to rethink the way we retain healthcare workers,” she said. “Many current workers are in positions that when they were created did not call for tremendous IT skills. We have to send these workers into the field; they need to know how to deploy that technology.”
Competency in “soft skills”
The panelists said that the majority of the positions also require core competencies in “soft skills,” including communications, a demonstrated ability to work with others, and taking the initiative to step up and take on projects, which illustrates a candidate’s potential to be a contributing colleague at work.
“How do you learn to build a pathway to indispensability?” asked Kalish. “Take ‘stretch’ assignments and challenge yourself. You’ll become sought after – you’ll be known as the person who will find a way to get it done. You will stand out from the crowd and you will have that compelling story to talk about.”
Joseph DiCarlo, senior vice president of human resources at WESTMED Practice Partners,
said candidates should include their interests on their resumé. “You never know when you are going to sit across from someone with the same interests, and this gives you something to discuss,” he said.
The experts had advice for Millennial job candidates, in particular.
“Millennials need to pay attention to their communications skills,” said Kalish. “In today’s world, email has potential to be misinterpreted. We need to know that some of the short-hand used in today’s communications are not good business practices.”
Millennials should bring their creativity to the office, added DiCarlo, who explained WESTMED’s “emerging leader” program, where executives presented real-world problems to their younger employees. “What we saw was Milennials’ creativity manifesting itself into real tangible business solutions. We want to encourage this group to see their current job, and the next job down the road.”