How does someone newly certified or awaiting certification land a JOB?
“Help, I need work!”
How many times have you heard the idiom, “You just have to get your foot in the door,” since you started down this path to becoming a certified professional coder … once …twice… or too many times to count? Why do seasoned coders, officials and those with current employment say this all the time? Because, silly, it is ABSOLUTELY TRUE! Paired with a positive attitude and willingness to work hard, one position within the healthcare field can turn into another and so on and so forth. You just have to find it, snag it and claim it for your own. Here are some helpful tips that may get your foot closer to that door.
Job Search: Job hunting is a tedious yet necessary process. Apply for positions daily, as if it was your job! A job search requires your daily commitment to internet searches, follow-up phone calls, and application submissions. Apply for anything and everything related to the healthcare industry that could eventually lead you to your dream coding job: medical office receptionist, file clerk, patient intake, front-desk, medical records clerk, entry-level positions.
Apply even if you aren’t a perfect match: People get hired all the time without having every qualification listed. Think of the list of qualifications as the company’s “dream list”; they are trying to get as close as they can to fulfilling their dreams but they have the ability to do without for the right applicant. You should strive to have most of the qualifications, however if you are missing two or three, don’t worry. Perhaps, you can write an outstanding cover letter and point out some of your achievements as well as convey your excitement to entice the employer into giving you an interview.
The Resume: Now that you have found a position to apply for, what do you put on your resume? Highlight grades earned, CPC examination score and any accolades from school or previous employers. Mention that you are a member of AAPC (all TXCC students in the PCT program are enrolled into AAPC) a professional organization that is recognized industry and nationwide.
In the Interview: If you do get an interview, toot your own horn while remaining humble. Know your own strengths and weaknesses. Show them your recent and proven ability to learn, grow and succeed! You just completed a rigorous program that required you to commit and consistently seek out the right answers to pass. That directly translates into skills needed for accurate coding. Furthermore, impress upon the hiring manager that you have access to the most current coding policies and procedures. Newly trained coders actually have an advantage over the more seasoned starting October 1st of 2015; learning ICD-10-CM (the new diagnostic coding system) without out having to forget 37 years of ICD-9-CM usage means faster coding and better coding practices. Lastly, someone who has just graduated from a reputable coding program knows the coding guidelines in their most current form not outdated and often wrong interpretations from long ago.
Look for Volunteer Work or job shadowing: You could always give it away for free! Offer your services as a coder for a free limited time trial arrangement. If they like what they see, they could always hire you. If it doesn’t progress into a permanent position you still have some beneficial insight into your skills as a coder and prime resume filler.
Network: Attend your local chapter meetings and network, network, network! This is the place where your will meet your peers and better yet they are peers with JOBS that could have access to more jobs. Announce that you are looking for work at every meeting. Attend multiple chapter meetings (Fort Worth, Dallas, etc.), bring a business card AND a resume; pass them out to everyone!
Inspiration: For inspiration on how seek out positions that may hire CPC-A’s or those awaiting certification, check out the www.AAPC.com forum thread labeled, “How many gained employment with NO experience?” The posts to this thread are a little dated, however the spirit of the information still rings true.
Best websites to look for healthcare jobs:
Best ways to network:
Attend AAPC local chapter meetings held monthly
Until next time,
Katrina Moultrie, BS, CPC, CFPC, CPEDC, CPC-I
“Excellence is an art worn by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an action but a habit.” – Aristotle
Katrina Moultrie is an Instructor and Education Services Coordinator for Texas Career Center. She also provides training to students and corporate clients through various seminars and specialty courses. Katrina has dedicated herself to assisting others obtain successful careers as certified professional coders through compassionate certified instruction and mentorship.