Early Career Stage
Chart Your Course, Know Yourself
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.
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.
- Hone career planning skills. Making decisions about who you are and how to strategize about your career can seem overwhelming. Heriberto “Eddie” Cruz gives early careerist two tips about how to begin to strategize and use resources to plan your career.
- 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.
- Explore healthcare management career options. As an early careerist, you have a broad range of healthcare management options from which to choose. Seek out career options that align closely with your personal and/or professional passions. Laurie Shanderson shares on how she found the true calling for her career, one that allows her to use her gifts and passion. Her story will inspire you to learn how to leverage your passion early in your career to make a positive impact in your field.
- 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.
Master the job
- 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.
- 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.
- Strengthen core competencies. Aspiring senior leaders master the content of their current position and then continue to focus on developing supplemental skillsets.
- 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. Stetson Berg offers several tips on how go get the most from virtual and in-person networking.
- 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. Here’s a quick tip from John E. Green, Jr. on how to build a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship.
TOOL: MENTEE GUIDE
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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 Career Navigator Anton Gunn shares a few ideas on how to distinguish yourself. Another Experienced Career Navigator, Nicholas Tejeda, offers 3 practical steps to positive distinction.
- 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.
- 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.