Landing a Job in Informatics / Health Information Technology
Created by Dr. M.A. Sutton (and some of my most excellent current & former students)
Learn What Informatics Is, the Skills Needed, and Job Titles Related to It
Google the field in search of articles such as:
Explore UWF's Career Services
First, if you haven't done so already, make up a resume and cover letter for the job you think you want and take it to UWF's Career Services for suggestions for improvement. See their website for these and other services. For example, you can sign up for a JasonQuest account to receive weekly eMinders about upcoming events such as Career Fairs.
Take advantage of ALL services you can from UWF's Career Services, ASAP. You will need to stand out when you apply for a job, to land a job, and starting early is the key.
Sign Up For a Newsletter
Join one or more eNewsletters now to get direct emails about career solutions for the healthcare IT community. For example, subscribe to:
- HealthcareIT JobSpot - Get the latest healthcare IT career news and job openings every other week!
Learn About Industry-Recognized Certifications You May Need
Review job postings early in your career to plan for additional industry-recognized certifications you may need before you can apply for the jobs that interest you. Certifications can be very expensive, so do not seek this option unless you know it will be required of you to be competitive for the jobs you are seeking. To learn more now, Google any certifications you see in job postings to find out costs, time requirements, etc. Examples of required certifications seen for some jobs in informatics include:
- Project Management Professional certification - also see certificate comparisons
- Oracle certified
- CompTIA certified
- AHIMA-approved certifications
- CHP - HIPAA Certification training
- ITIL Service Management certification
UWF offers some prepatory courses online for industry-recognized certifications. You can find more information on these through UWF's Division of Continuing Education. Also consider a trip to your local bookstore for a selection of books related to various certifications.
If you do not need an industry-recognized certification, but want to take additional classes to learn more about databases, statistics, or healthcare IT applications, you might also consider these options available at UWF:
- Database Systems Certificate
- Geographic Information Systems Certificate
- Mathematics and Biostatistics courses
- Health Informatics Certificate
Many times courses in these areas can be taken as electives in various undergraduate and graduate programs.
Helpful suggestion: If you land your first job in informatics and it requires no additional industry-recognized certifications, be sure to still take advantage of any employer-sponsored programs in life-long learning right away. You will bring skills back to the company if you pursue additional certifications and this will also keep your resume competitive for future job opportunities.
Network in More Than One Way
To learn about jobs in your local community, join a regional professional society. For students throughout the Northwest Florida region, we recommend:
- ITGULFCOAST - The Information Technology Association of the Gulf Coast is a non-profit organization for information technology professionals on the Gulf Coast. Their goals are to support IT education in the community, to provide learning and networking opportunities for members and to support regional efforts to promote the region as a technology hub.
Online social networking has also been recommended as useful strategy for securing your dream job. For this, consider joining:
- LinkedIn - After setting up your account, consider joining these groups: HIMSS, Healthcare IT World, etc.
Keep in mind as you engage in online social networking that who your network with is a reflection of your “digital brand”. Develop depth in these relationships by reviewing profiles to see if there are members with similar interests or something else in common with you (e.g., live in the same city, graduated from the same school, had the same former employer, etc.). When asking these individuals to join your personal network, personalize your brief invitation message to each one.
If you would like to meet up with someone in person that has expertise you could benefit from, offer to treat them to a coffee at a local cafe, etc. Be professional and respectful with any/all leads you develop from online social networking - you never know which one could end up using their developed leads for soliciting applicants for a position. This is also a great way to learn about any certifications you might need for specific types of jobs.
Attend a Conference
Also - consider attending one or more of these annual conferences:
Open Source Health
Network with professionals at these conferences and also with the recruiters at these conferences to learn where the jobs are, where to apply, valued skills/certifications, etc.
Stay in Touch!
Finally, keep me posted at firstname.lastname@example.org when you land your dream job - I love to feature successful job search stories!
Sutton, M.A. & Reedy, S.L. (2010, Fall). Success with LinkedIn: Getting students to think beyond earning an easy ‘A’, ITS HelpDesk Spotlight on Academics Newsletter, 5.