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What can I do with a degree in Health Services Management?

Joseph from DeVry University asked:

What can I do with a degree in Health Services Management? 

Hi Joseph

I’ll start with my usual response to this kind of question:  “What do you want to do with your degree in Health Services Management?”

whereHealthcareServiceManagersWorkI know that my “answer your question with another question” response is a bit glib (sorry about that!), but it is a legitimate question.

You are not defined by your degree and employers will not know precisely what you can or want to do by looking at your degree.  You need  to factor your wants and needs into your career exploration and job search.

Okay, enough of my preaching  for now. Here are a few more tangible and specific responses:

The U.S. Occupational Outlook Handbook, produced by the Department of Labor, has prepared a report on the Job Outlook for Medical and Health Services Managers (see chart citing Labor Department data).  The information and statistics are very general; that means they apply to everyone and no one in particular at the same time,  This data should only be starting point in your research.

The American College of Healthcare Educators maintains a Healthcare Careers Page. Professional associations are often great places to look for information, professional connections, educational resources and job leads.  Birds of a feather flock together, and professional “birds” flock in professional associations. Find more associations at our Healthcare and Medicine Professional Association links.

As you review these resources, you must process the information you gather through some important filters:

  • How much do you want to/need to earn?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • What type of schedule do you wish to keep?
  • Do you want to work with people or more independently?
  • What parts of the healthcare industry interest you most/least?
  • In what types of work environments do you thrive/struggle?
  • Where do you fall on the “Live to work vs. work to live” spectrum?
  • How much responsibility do you wish to take on?

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

Finding a job that aligns well with who you are and what you want from a career involves understanding who you are and what you want from a career. Use this information about you to decide which opportunities to pursue and how to best position yourself to prospective employers.

Don’t go at this alone.  Seek out the assistance of the career advisors at your university.  Chances are good that they have helped other students asking questions similar to your.

Good luck



How can I most effectively present my qualifications to employers?

brainRachel from King’s College London in the UK asked:

I completed a masters in neuroscience in 2006 and have been trying to get a job in the field ever since. I’ve done other jobs and about 2 years of voluntary work in between then and now to get into scientific research. However I was unlucky in my choice of voluntary work. One of the places I worked had trouble attracting grant money and the other made around 50% of its staff redundant. Due to having such a bad time I feel I didn’t do as well as I could have done; I did very well in my masters (for my dissertation I gain a distinction). How do I put a positive spin on my experiences? I know that this field is right for me because I enjoyed my masters so much and many of the temporary positions I’ve had, have not been ones which I’ve enjoyed anywhere near as much.

Hi Rachel

You are in a very unique and highly specialized field. I know you are aware of that fact, but job seekers often lose sight of that reality when they looking for their next opportunity.  They apply the “conventional wisdom” standard to their circumstances (which is usually neither conventional nor wise!) and begin to make assumptions about their search, employers in general, the job market and their qualifications. Please do not do that!

Here are some tips I hope you will find useful.

Be both smart and well informed

Make sure you understand the breadth and depth of the job market in your field.

What is the job market for professionals in your field?  Where do people in your field work?  Geographically?  By industry?  What is unique about pursuing a career in neuroscience?

The better informed you are about the specific dynamics of your industry, the more strategic you can be in pursuing employment.

The Society for Neuroscience posted a very interesting article on its website on Preparing Neuroscience Graduate Students for the Job Market.  It also hosts a NeuroJobs Career Center online.

The British Neuroscience Association website also has a neurosciences jobs page.

You may already be aware of these resources, but I share them just in case you are not.

Sell, don’t dwell

Be prepared to “sell” what you offer and not “dwell” on what you do not.

It is very easy to focus on the negative, particularly when you have faced difficulty in your career.  If you dwell on what went wrong (or didn’t go right) in presenting your background and qualifications, employers will view you as problem-oriented.  If you sell what you learned through your experiences, how your path makes you qualified to work in your field, employers will view you as solution-oriented.

You did well in your studies – focus on that.  The work you did in your various volunteer and other positions was good – focus on that.

Unless your job was to attract grant money, the fact that one of the places you worked had trouble attracting grant money is not a negative aspect of your candidacy.  It was not your fault that one of your employers had to lay off employees because of staff redundancy.

As a job seeker, your primary objective is to give potential employers reasons to consider you for employment. It is not to give potential employers reasons to not want to consider you.

Sell what you offer, don’t dwell on what you don’t.

Set goals you can achieve

Approach your job search methodically and give yourself the opportunity to be successful.

Measure your progress week by week.

At the start of each week, set some job search-related goals that are realistically attainable that week.  At the end of the week, measure your progress against goals you set.

Perhaps in the first week, your goals will focus on information gathering; identifying the resources – online and elsewhere – that you need to be accessing on a regular basis to stay informed about industry trends and aware of developing opportunities.

In the next week, you might focus on accessing those resources and on relationship-building.  Who do you know and who do they know?  Who can assist you and how?  What are you doing to connect with and/or stay in touch with colleagues in your professional network.

Each week, you will probably build in some direct job search activities, as well.

If you set weekly goals  that are achievable, you will give yourself a chance to be successful in the short-term, and you will be able to  recognize the progress you are making.  You will also be able to hold yourself accountable in the short term.

Why are short-term goals important?  If you are not achieving your short-term goals, it will be extremely difficult to achieve your long-term goal of getting a job.

Good luck!


Is it okay to apply for multiple jobs with the same company?

RNMarie from Barry University asked: 

Is okay to apply for multiple jobs within the same corporation?  

I am a registered nurse looking for a job within an hospital. Frequently, single corporations own many hospitals. I want to apply for as many jobs as I can, but I don’t want to look desperate.

Hi Marie –

In a word – YES!

It is okay to apply for multiple jobs within the same corporation.  Just don’t take a shotgun approach to applying.

#1. Prior to applying for any job, make sure you are a viable candidate

That might sound pretty obvious, but I have reviewed a lot of applications from candidates who clearly did not read the position description prior to applying.

Once, when hiring to fill a position on my staff, I asked candidates applying to use their cover letter to tell me how their qualifications matched those called for in the job description. I actually received a cover letter that said:

My qualifications are what qualify me for this this position.

Guess who didn’t get an interview? When an employer reviews your application they should not have a difficult time matching your qualifications with the qualifications they are seeking in candidates.

If your primary qualification is that you need a job; you are probably not going to get an interview.  If your primary qualifications align well with the qualifications sought for multiple jobs within a company, apply for those jobs.

#2. Apply for all jobs for which you are a viable candidate

And, don’t be lazy about it.  Each opportunity is unique, so treat it as such. In most instances, the same person is not reviewing all applications – particularly in large organizations.  A Human Resources Clerk (or a computer program) may do some initial sorting and vetting of applications to weed out the non-qualifiers, but hiring managers will make the final decisions about who they interview and hire.

#3. No one expects you to apply for jobs one at a time

Competition is a good thing.  Let employers compete for your services.  Let departments within the same company compete for your services.  Let different hospitals owned by the same parent company compete for your services.

Your goal is to give yourself as many viable options as you can.  Their goal is to find the very best candidates they can.  These goals are compatible!

When in doubt, refer back to #1

Applying  for multiple jobs for which you are qualified is not viewed as a bad thing by employers.  Indiscriminately applying for jobs  is.

You are a Registered Nurse.  Registered Nurses are in great demand in most markets across the US. Chances are, the hospital that gets you will be lucky.

My advice to you: Talk to as many people working in these different environments as you can. Get some first hand information on the different hospital cultures.

When the job offers start coming in, you want to be able to make the most informed decision possible and that kind of first-person advice will be invaluable.

Good Luck!


What can I do with a Masters in HR – Rehabilitation Counseling?

rehabcounsel-WhereDoWeWorkBrandi from East Central University asked:

I will graduate with my Master’s Degree in Human Resources Rehabilitation Counseling in less than a month.  I would like to know what job opportunities will be available to me and where I should focus on sending out my resume’.

Hi Brandi –

Since you are getting a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, I assume you wish to work in the field of Rehabilitation Counseling. So, with that in mind:

The first thing you need to do is develop your knowledge of the job market in the field

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’  Occupational Outlook Handbook provides a very good overview of the job market and employment outlook for Rehabilitation Counselors.

You will see that Rehabilitation Counselors work in vocational rehabilitation, family services, state and local governmental agencies, mental health and substance abuse hospitals/facilities, residential care, community services, emergency services, insurance, education support services, medical facilities, and nursing facilities.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has also produced a career overview for Rehabilitation Counselors.  It is a very informative 2-page read.

Next, become familiar with the professional communities in Rehabilitation Counseling

Acquaint yourself with the activities and services of the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association, the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association and the National Council on Rehabilitation Education

Then, confirm your credentials

Rehabilitation Counseling is a field with strict licensure, certification and registration requirements.  In order to be a qualified candidate for hire, you many need to have credentials in place (or in process) beyond your degree itself.  Check out the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification for details.

By the way, the CRC also has a Career Center. Seek the assistance of your college career center, too.

Brandi, do your research so you will know where to look, connect with the relevant professional communities in your area so you will know who to talk to to get more information and network professionally, and make sure your credentials are in order so that you will have a compelling story to tell.

As a job seeker – your “job” is to understand the employment market in your field and how you fit into it, so that you can be authentic and convincing when you tell an employer “I want that job, and I know I have the qualifications!”

Congratulations on your pending graduation, and good luck on your job search!


Four Great Healthcare Career Resources

A job seeker named Linda was compiling health care career resources for a project and found the Resource Links Section of our site.

Linda is okay in my book, because she also emailed me to recommend three new resources  to add to the Healthcare Industry Resources Section of our Resource Links:

US Nursing – A Nursing Career Resource with Licensing Info & Job Openings –   A Resource for CNA Certification, Training & Job Listings

The US National Library of Medicine’s FAQ: Where can I find information about medical & health care education and careers?

Know of an industry- and audience specific job and internship search resource?

Share the love!

Email me the website name and URL. If it’s appropriate for the Resource Link page, I will add it to the list!  Just like these links from Linda

Thanks, Linda.