Chart Your Course, Know Yourself

Self Assessment

You are the central, consistent component in your career. Any other aspect of your career will change over time, but you are the constant. Take time to assess who you are, both professionally and personally. Identify your values, your vision for your life; what energizes you, what drains you; what are your strengths; what are your challenge areas.

Know Yourself

Many professionals from underrepresented groups have found it essential to be grounded in knowing who they are within themselves. Otherwise, external sources may attempt to impose their perceptions of the diverse individual’s social identity on to that person. Once you begin to know yourself, you are positioned to begin to chart your career journey.

  1. Hone career planning skills
    To set yourself up for success, take inventory of your career planning skills. There will be innate strengths, but always opportunities for growth. An effective career planning strategy requires self-evaluation that leads to refining your skills and identifying ways to overcome barriers.

    Tool:

    This timeless article offers practical steps to help you plan your healthcare career:
    Career Planning Success

  2. Find your passion & purpose
    Discovering a career in which you have a genuine passion and one that aligns with your current life’s purpose will give you a solid foundation for moving forward on your career journey. Learn quick tips from Anton J. Gunn and Glenn Llopis on ways to identify passion & purpose in your career.
  3. Explore healthcare management career options
    Develop a charted course for your career, but remain open-minded and nimble. Unexpected opportunities may arise to offer career options you had not previously considered. Peggy Harris, an executive in the Carolinas HealthCare System, describes her journey that led to a non traditional healthcare management career.
  4. Maximize use of general career development resources
    Seek out and then fully use the many resources offered by healthcare professional associations, your employer, and other sources. For example, numerous scholarships and other opportunities are not used because of lack of applicants. Explore opportunities offered by the American College of Healthcare Executives, find them here under the scholarships, internships and fellowships section. Discover Scholarships offered by the National Association of Healthcare Executives here.

Info and Tools

Info & Tool: “Listen to the Market” Article and Exercise

As an early careerist, you will benefit your career by tuning into what employers want and need. Using this article and exercise will help identify what employers need in the healthcare job market and enhance your ability to communicate your value proposition on your resume and interviews.

Info & Tools: ACHE Support for Early Careerists

Explore ACHE resources available to support the unique career development needs of early careerists.
$Note: fee required for some tools.

Tool: ACHE Interview Prep Tool

Unique interview prep tool enables you to video record your responses to expert-recommended interview questions for positions at a variety of career levels and offer resources to help you craft your best responses.
$Note: fee required for one-year subscription.

Master the Job

  1. Polish personal practices
    Early in your career, you must sharpen essential practices, such as time management, strong work ethic, perseverance to get a job done as promised, professional etiquette, integrity, and projecting your authentic, professional self.
  2. Become a great team player
    Success in healthcare administration is not about how much you can achieve for and by yourself, but rather how well you work with and lead others to achieve organizational objectives. Increase your exposure to teams early in your career to develop the skillsets required to first be an effective team player, and then you can master being a team leader. Early careerist Rizan Mohsin discusses the challenges diverse individuals can overcome and become team leaders.
  3. Strengthen core competencies
    Aspiring senior leaders master the content of their current position and then continue to focus on developing supplemental skillsets. Here is an example of core competencies you should work towards mastering.

Leverage Relationships

  1. Network for maximum exposure
    As an early careerist, seek to broaden your network, but use a strategy that prioritizes quality over quantity. For example, John E. Green, Jr. gives a realistic reminder for finding your networking balance.
  2. Find mentor and sponsor
    Early in your career, learn how to find and nurture relationships with experienced individuals who are willing to assist you along your career path—mentors—and willing to advocate on your behalf—sponsors. Listen to Denise Lew discuss how this can be helpful. Here’s a quick tip from John E. Green, Jr. on how to build a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship.

    Tool: Mentee Guide
  3. Learn “meta-leadership”
    This is the interpersonal skill of managing up, down, and laterally. Learning how to demonstrate leadership appropriately when interacting with any level in the organization will help you establish and cultivate invaluable relationships.

Gain Positive Visibility

Avoiding Missteps

You want to build a positive reputation that will proceed you on your career journey. This requires taking intentional, strategic steps and also striving to avoid career-crippling missteps. For example, hear from Dr. Tiffany Love on a common misstep that can result in negative visibility.

  1. Lead in organization-wide activities
    Participate in initiatives to showcase your strengths to the organization as broadly as possible, so you can expand your network and visibility to senior leadership.
  2. Distinguish yourself from peers
    Potential competition exists at every stage of your career. Learning how to differentiate yourself from the crowd will help you draw the positive attention needed to propel your career. Experienced Traveler Anton Gunn shares a few ideas on how to distinguish yourself. Another Experienced Traveler, Nico Tejeda, offers 3 practical steps to positive distinction.
  3. Develop personal brand
    As you get to know your professional self, you also will develop your unique brand that projects who you are and what you value. Learn how to intentionally develop your brand and avoid those unintentional missteps that can tarnish your brand.
  4. Learn how to talk with senior leaders
    Distinguish yourself from your peers and take initiative to authentically communicate with Senior Level Administrators in your organization. Understand that they have been in your position and will likely make time for you. Rizan Mohsin shares tips on how to successfully handle an encounter with Senior Leaders.