Tips on Career Transitions and Job Searches
Job Search Assistance
Tips for Networking, Volunteering, and Mentorship
We are going to discuss tips for putting your career on the fast path so that you can land where you want to be (career-wise, of course). Networking, volunteering and mentoring are endeavors that will impact your ability to get and do what you dream of in this field.
Networking is defined as” interacting or engaging in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support.” Consider that the word “networking” is made up of the two words “net” and “working?” Yes, networking is very hard work but it is done anyway because we all need mutual assistance and support. It is work that actually provides a safety net for your career.
Did you ever consider who in our profession is going to be able to give you mutual assistance and support?
First, your HIT and CIM instructors here SBCC are some of the leaders in our field. Get them to know you and your career is already advanced! They hire, they are asked for references, and they make referrals for jobs.
Second, your fellow students are the HIM leaders and employers of tomorrow. Developing a string relationship with them will not only be fun but will definitely pay off as you proceed with your career in HIM.
How else can you meet other professionals in our field?
Let’s talk a bit about Volunteering in a HIM Department or Tumor Registry.
What are all employers of HIT and CTR professionals looking for?
They want a credentialed professional who has experience! But how does a student get experience? Volunteering in a HIM Department or a Tumor Registry is definitely a requirement for those who aren’t already working in our field or are working in one capacity with the desire to move into a different and better job.
Do you know how powerful volunteering is? It says to that manager that you are motivated and that you are willing to give your time to learn and gain experience. Most volunteers wind up getting a job in the department they volunteered in!
Let’s discuss other ways to volunteer and meet your colleagues and future employer…
All of our States have state-wide health information management associations. In California it is the California Health Information Association (CHIA). Some of the large states, such as California, have local organizations as well. So for those of you in California, there is a state and local health information association that holds meetings, has educational programs, and provides opportunities for networking with the other HIMs in that area. This is one way you can meet the leaders in your local area, who are usually, at the same time, the employers in your area.
All of these state associations offer student rates for membership, which are extremely reasonable. CHIA, for example, has a student membership rate of $20.00 per year. The CHIA Journal, which you receive as part of your membership, is a fabulous source of current information in our field. To apply for student membership to CHIA, please go to CHIA Membership for Students.
So check out your state and local health information associations for the networking as well as their educational programs. All of our states have HIM organizations that are ready to greet you with open arms! You can find a listing of AHIMA component state association (CSA) websites at ahima.org/about/csa.aspx. If you are currently an AHIMA member, you can also check whether a particular CSA has a Community of Practice (CoP) posted at the AHIMA website.
A mentoring program links an experienced person with a less experienced person. There are several wonderful mentoring programs immediately available to you. One is under the auspices of AHIMA and for those of who join CHIA, the California Health Information Association, there is a great mentorship program you might investigate.
The CHIA and AHIMA Mentor Programs link and promotes ongoing dialogue between HIM students and experienced, enthusiastic, and committed HIM professionals who are willing to contribute to the future excellence of the HIM profession. AHIMA mentors share their experiences with students, offer advice and encouragement, answer questions, and act as the leaders and advisors that we all wish we had access to at the beginning of our careers.
A CHIA mentor is an HIM professional who is willing to teach, guide, share and serve as a reference person to students when they first enter an HIA/HIT program and continuing throughout their studies.
AHIMA’s Mentoring Program
Mission Statement—The AHIMA Mentor Program links and promotes ongoing dialogue between HIM students and experienced, enthusiastic, and committed HIM professionals who are willing to contribute to the future excellence of the HIM profession. AHIMA mentors share their experiences with students, offer advice and encouragement, answer questions, and act as the leaders and advisors that we all wish we had access to at the beginning of our careers.
Both the CHIA and AHIMA Mentor Program strives to provide:
- A forum where students can obtain practical and honest career advice from seasoned professionals.
- A safe environment in which students and professionals can communicate honestly and without fear.
- Information for students that is timely and useful, and responds to contemporary and ongoing student concerns.
- Mentor responses that are thoughtful, accurate, and representative of the current climate in HIM.
- A support system for students in times of professional difficulty, crisis, or confusion.
- Opportunities for interaction that bring out the best in both students and professionals
and which could lead to life-long
- Examples of conduct that inspire students and instill in them a sense of pride in the profession they are entering.
- Increased awareness about the association’s commitment to the future of HIM, about the vast array of online and other CHIA and AHIMA resources available to support students, and the many benefits of continued membership.
- A method for efficiently directing students to appropriate external information sources when necessary.
- A way of identifying and gauging the future direction, needs, concerns, and challenges of the HIM profession as a whole.
In the AHIMA program students will also have the option of communicating with the mentors privately, through channels outside the Student CoP (such as phone or e-mail), for matters that are personal or otherwise not appropriate for public viewing.
In the CHIA Program, the mentor and mentee decide for themselves how they will work together. If you are interested in the CHIA Program, go to californiahia.org and click on CHIA Mentor and Mentee Program.
As an AHIMA member, you may review the AHIMA Mentor Program Guidance by accessing the AHIMA CoP at ahima.org, and type the keyword “mentor” in the search function.
The goal is to get you integrated into the HIT/CIM Communities ASAP. Please give this a great deal of thought right now and start yourself on the path to the job you want. Volunteer! Become a Mentee! Get great grades so your teachers get to recognize your name and recommend you for a job you want! Do all three.