Congratulations on graduating! You’ve survived the juggle of study, clinical placements, casual jobs and exams. Well done.
Now, you’re starting a new stage of life. You’re not a student anymore – you’re a qualified professional.
Which means you’re looking for your first job. So, what exactly should you be looking for?
What makes a good job?
Career consultant Leah Lambert of Relaunch Me says there are 5 key things that make you happy at work:
- Content – What will you spend your time doing?
- Culture – Who are your colleagues? How friendly or supportive is the team?
- Control – How much control do you have over your work?
- Compensation – Are you being paid fairly?
- Compromise – Which one (and ideally only one) of the above 4 things are you prepared to compromise on? No job is perfect after all!
These questions create a good framework for assessing a potential job opportunity. But, when it comes to your first graduate job, there’s a vital sixth consideration. In fact, it should be top of the list.
A good graduate job fosters your ongoing learning
The key question for your first graduate job should be, ‘Is this a good learning environment for me?’
After all, you’re a newly qualified professional. There’s a great deal of on-the-job learning still to do.
So, how do you assess a potential employer’s commitment to your ongoing learning? By finding out about their:
- Graduate program
- Professional development.
It’s easy to pay lip service to such things so ensure you find out details. There’s a big difference between a vague answer and something more along the lines of, ‘You’ll have a scheduled meeting with your mentor each Tuesday afternoon.’
A tried and tested new graduate program
When an employer has deliberately created, tested and refined a structured new graduate program, you’re off to a great start. It means they’ve spent time considering you’re likely needs and how to meet them.
Ask for as much information as possible about their new graduate program, such as:
- What does it cover? Ask about:
- How long does it run for – 6 months, 12 months, 2 years?
- What have previous team found helpful about it?
- How long have you been running the graduate program? How have you refined it over the years?
Ultimately, you’re trying to find out how seriously the organisation takes its graduate program. Don’t be shy about asking questions – a good employer will be pleased that you’re so keen to learn.
There’ll be some days at work that go really well – patients you build an easy rapport with and cases where the treatment approach is straightforward. But there will be other times when you’re dealing with difficult people or complex situations that are immensely challenging.
Mentoring provides a way to reflect on all aspects of your new role. You can review your decisions or brainstorm potential ways of approaching a patient’s care.
Ask about an employer’s mentoring program. Who are the mentors? How often is time set aside for mentoring? If you can see that mentoring is built into the organisation’s regular schedule, you’ll know they take it seriously.
Healthcare changes rapidly meaning that all practitioners need ongoing professional development.
Ask about the professional development budget. What’s the allowance? How are professional development needs determined? Are professional development activities undertaken as a team or as individuals?
When an employer sets aside funding and time for your ongoing learning, you know they take it seriously.
Let’s say you’ve found a place that looks ideal for your first graduate job. It has a tried and tested graduate program, scheduled mentoring and a generous commitment to professional development.
You want to work there. How do you get them to want you?
You need to read the job description closely and write your resume and cover letter in a way that clearly lines up your skills, abilities and experience with the employer’s needs.
Once you’ve got the interview, you’ll probably be asked behavioural questions. The idea here is that your past behaviour is a good indication of how you might handle future situations.
Examples of behavioural interview questions usually begin with phrases like:
- Describe a time when you…
- Can you give me an example of…
- Tell me about…
Now, there’s a knack to answering these questions. Many people ramble on without getting clearly to the point or don’t clearly describe what they did to affect the outcome.
The STAR method helps you answer behavioural interview questions clearly and concisely.
|Example – ‘Tell me about a time when you had to respond to criticism.’
|Briefly provide context
|I’ve worked in an admin role on a part-time basis throughout uni. A few weeks after I started, the boss told me that my emails often seemed curt and were putting people offside.
|Describe your objective
|I had to ask myself if that was fair. I took some time to read back over a few emails and then compare them to emails my boss sent herself or that other team members sent. When I was honest with myself, I could see a clear difference in tone. I realised that I’d been so focused on getting through my workload that I’d forgotten how much the relational side of things mattered.
|Describe what you did
|I thanked my boss for the feedback and made a deliberate effort from that point on to ensure I added a pleasant greeting at the start of every email and that I signed off in a pleasant way, thanking the person for their time.
|Explain what happened as a result of your actions
|A few weeks later, I asked my boss for feedback on my emails now. She said she was now very happy and that others in the team had noted a greater sense of friendliness. I’d also noticed that others in the team seemed much more comfortable with me. I’ve now worked there for 2 years and it’s been great.
Starting your career at Gen Health Hamilton
At Gen Health Hamilton, we are always on the hunt for exceptional new team members who share in our collaborative vision.
We’re proud of our new graduate program, which has helped many young professionals to build a strong foundation for their careers.
Gen Health was created by 4 local girls who wanted to improve the health of the Hamilton community. We have a strong community focus, sponsoring local groups, living in the district and contributing to its growth and development.
A state finalist in the Telstra Best of Business Awards 2022, Gen Health Hamilton is a vibrant allied health clinic, combining physiotherapy, podiatry, exercise physiology, occupational therapy and clinical reformer therapy (clinical pilates).
Our focus at Gen Health is on a collaborative and modern approach to healthcare. We emphasise:
- A strong team environment
- Professional development
- Incorporating the latest evidence-based practice.
We empower our team by entrusting team members with a high level of responsibility within our daily operations and decision-making.
With a team of nearly 20, we service over 500 patients per week and provide more than 100 clinical reformer therapy classes.
You can see our advertised vacancies here. If there’s nothing suitable for you right now but you’d love to work here anyway, then we’d love to hear from you.
Please send a 60-second video introducing yourself and explaining why you want to work with us. Email your video and your resume to email@example.com – list your favourite ice cream flavour in the subject line. We aim to respond within 2 business days and will tell you more about our recruitment process at that point.
This information is intended for healthcare professionals.