Career Resources

The Keys to Career Management Effectiveness: Part II

Last month’s posting introduced the topic of effectiveness keys integral to career conducting job searches. This month, we explore tailoring your presentation and handling rejection—two keys that influence your point of view, as well as your actions.

Key # 3: Tailoring Your Presentation

Tailoring begins as a way of viewing yourself but it ultimately must become a pattern of acting. Essentially, it is allowing your actions to be driven by customer needs. First, you develop information about yourself and the employment market through keys 1 and 2, self-assessment and preparation. Then you use that information to present your strengths and skills that will make you most employable.

Today’s employment market is one in which the number of positions with traditional acute care providers is shrinking and the supply of executives keeps growing. Gone are the days when a score of MHA programs dribbled out handfuls of new graduates to more that 7,000 growing hospitals. Now there is more balance between the demand for and supply of healthcare managers. That means executives face stiff competition for new positions. The implication of such a balanced and competitive employment market is clear: Executives must differentiate themselves from others and be attentive to the needs and preferences of a potential employer.

The market contains increasing numbers of nontraditional employer organizations beyond the acute care setting and even beyond being healthcare providers at all. There are PPOs, managed care organizations, insurers, information technology vendors, suppliers, regulators, and consultants, so it is likely that at some point you will find yourself applying to new segments of the field. Knowing what these new segments value in a candidate will help you tailor your resume and self-presentation for maximum effect. A presentation of responsibilities and accomplishments that stresses success only in an acute, inpatient hospital environment will appeal only to employers with unmet needs for managing acute, inpatient hospital services. Such employers may find no value in an accounting of your publications or presentations at national meetings. However, a consulting firm might find a glowing record of publications and presentations an important predictor of success in landing new accounts.

Once you have determined which settings are of interest to you, it is important to determine which of your existing skills are transferable and which are best left out of conversations, cover letters, and resumes. Some traits may apply across an entire industry segment, while others are appropriate only for a single employer. You may even want to develop multiple versions of your resume. In a highly competitive market, knowing how to show employers the side of you that will interest them most is indispensable.

Key #4: Handling Rejection

No matter how well you present yourself or how much experience you have, there will times when you face rejection. This can be difficult to accept emotionally and, in cases financially. Rejection is a fact of life; however, it should be thought of as a two-way-street. When it becomes apparent that there is not a good match between candidate and position, then either the employer or candidate should break off negotiations. Usually this falls to the employer, but not every job offered is one an executive should accept. Forcing yourself into a poor fit will ultimately result in damage to both you and the company. When imminent mortgage or tuition payments are larger than one’s resources to cover them passing up an offer can be as difficult as being rejected. It can often seem easier to quietly compromise than to disrupt the lives and aspirations of those closest to us, but there are personal costs involved when one gives in to expedience. No matter how difficult it is, passing up a job offer is sometimes a necessary step.

Rejecting tempting offers or missing hoped-for opportunities can be more manageable when one is prepared. One way to prepare is to develop a personal support network of colleagues, friends, relatives, and mentors. Also, you can often find community, religious, and professional organizations that host support groups. Having a support network can ease the sting of disappointments and help salve the pain of passing up an offer. Also, they can lift one’s spirits so that rejection brings a maximum of learning. a minimum of wallowing, and little or no interruption in one’s job search. And continuing your search will always reduce disappointment over rejection because the next offer is just around the corner.