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How can I find a “gap year” job related to my major?

gap yearLiz from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences asked:

I am a recent graduate with a Bachelor’s in Premedicine and Health Studies. I am looking for a job for the next year. Do you have any recommendations for jobs that I should apply to beyond research? I am not having any luck finding entry level jobs with my degree.

Hi Liz –

Can I assume from your degree (premedicine) and your desire to find a job just “for the next year” that you are planning on going on to medical school when the year is up?

If my assumptions are correct, I understand why you are having difficulty finding a job:

You’re not really looking for an entry-level job in your field, you are looking for “gap-year” employment. Check out this jobs resource from GapYear.com: http://www.gapyear.com/jobs.

Why a “gap year” job?  Unless the positions they are seeking to fill are temporary, most employers are not going to consider candidates who do not plan to say beyond one year. Training new employees is costly and time-consuming, so if employers know you won’t be sticking around, they have no incentive to invest time and money training you. If you are absolutely certain that you will be going to medical school after one year, finding “gap year” employment should be the focus of your search.

Your degree  – premedicine and health studies – has prepared you to study medicine and work in a healthcare-related field.  I suggest focusing your search on companies in your area that are  – in some way  – connected to the healthcare industry to see what might be available, whether the work itself is directly related to your degree or not.

Perhaps some administrative or research work in a doctor’s office or pathology lab; patient care in a nursing facility or retirement home; support positions in pharmacies, hospitals or emergency clinics.  If your circumstances allow, consider volunteering your services at a local, free/low-cost community clinic. Seek positions that do not require specific certifications but will provide you with some exposure to areas of the healthcare industry you may pursue once you have your advanced degree.

Here are some additional resources that should prove helpful:

The Association of American Medical College’s How do I make the most of my Gap Year?

PreHealthAdvising.com’s What to do during a “Gap Year” prior to medical school

Remember, when you are looking for “gap year” employment, you are trying to satisfy multiple priorities, so you must be very flexible.  You are not looking to make a long-term commitment to an employer, so you can’t expect employers to be willing to consider you for positions requiring a longer commitment than one year.

Good luck,

matt-signature

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