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6 Tips to Successfully Land Your Dream Therapy Job
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in therapy, you’re in luck! The demand for therapy services is growing; with the aging baby boomer population, the need for healthcare professionals specializing in mobility and rehabilitation is higher than ever. According to the Administration for Community Living, people aged 65+ are expected to represent 21.6% of the population by 2040 while representing just 16% of the population in 2019! However, getting a physical therapy job can be competitive. It requires a combination of education, experience, networking, and preparation. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to advance your career, these tips will help you on the journey to your dream therapy job.
Know Your Field
Common undergraduate occupational and physical therapy majors include biology, exercise science, kinesiology, and psychology. Common majors for speech-language pathology include communication sciences and disorders, linguistics, and language development. While these degrees are common among professionals in the workforce, they are not required to start a career in therapy: “If these degrees aren’t interesting to you, major in what you are passionate about,” urges Morgan Stanfill, a Talent Acquisition Lead at EmpowerMe Wellness. “As long as you complete the necessary prerequisite courses and other application requirements, you’ll have what you need.”
Find the Right Employer
Every job search should start with a general idea of the kinds of companies you’d prefer to work for. Some of the biggest employers of therapists include hospitals, nursing homes, senior living communities, home health nursing, and outpatient services. Do some research on companies in your area and make a list of those that seem like a good fit.
Cultivate Your Soft Skills
Though knowing your field is important, soft skills are often overlooked. According to Stanfill, good therapists are communicative, compassionate, empathetic, creative, and have quality interpersonal and time management skills. To effectively work on interpersonal skills, stepping out of your comfort zone is often necessary. Communicate often and ask for feedback! Listening to others always provides a great outside perspective. Depending on the skill you’re building, it may be helpful to find volunteer positions where you can practice. As an added bonus, those volunteer positions may even look good on your resume!
Though some dread it, networking is one of the most important things one can do when starting their career! An easy place to start is staying connected with those you have gone to school with, particularly peers from your therapy programs. Organize a meet-up with classmates as an easy way to network and gain perspectives from others in the field. Take it a step further by engaging your online network. LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to find other therapists in your area. Research different virtual and in-person healthcare job fairs or consider attending an event led by the American Occupational Therapy Association, American Physical Therapy Association, or American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Prepare for Interviews
Employers are looking for therapists who are driven, passionate about their work, and keep a positive attitude. Prepare answers to some of the most common interview prompts, such as: “What are your strengths?” “Tell me about your previous experience,” “What will you bring to our company?” and “Why do you want to work here?” It’s also important to look and feel your best before an interview – don’t forget to eat well and get plenty of rest the night before.
Make Sure the Job is Right for You
While preparing answers for common interview questions is important, asking a potential employer the right questions is equally important. Before the interview, research the company culture, setting, most common diagnosis/population, benefits, advancement opportunities, scheduling, options for continuing education, and more. Specifically look at online reviews (both positive and negative) for the company and note anything that appears to be a red flag. Decide what’s most important to you and bring your list of questions to the interview.
As you search for the right position, remember to stay current with industry trends and advancements, build strong relationships with colleagues and mentors, and continually seek opportunities to learn and grow. By following these tips and strategies, you can position yourself as a competitive candidate and make a meaningful impact on the lives of your patients. Best of luck!
Want to learn more about how rewarding a therapy career in senior living can be? Visit empowerme.com/careers today.