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It’s Tuesday, and a time for you to share your tips! This community has a wide variety of experience. We have students, new graduates who are looking for their first job, MTs with a few years of experience, and some MTs with many years of experience. Each and every one of you has something to offer to this group.

In the past week, one of the groups I belong to had a discussion for new professionals about how to go about finding that first job. It was started by a new graduate who was asking if anyone wanted to purchase her reference books because she’s giving up. She’s been out of school for five months and unable to find an MT position. It’s no secret that this is perhaps the biggest challenge for someone who has just finished a medical transcription program. These new graduates come out of school excited about their future, and often hit that proverbial brick wall that says “two years of experience required.” So how do you get the experience if you can’t get the job? And how do you get the job without experience?

I also talked with a student this week who finds herself in a program where the school has decided to cancel their internship. She’s in a community college program, feels a real lack of exposure to the real live industry, and happened on this site. One of the things we talked about is how very open this community is and how supportive you all are of each other. A telling comment she made to me was that this industry often feels like a “closed group,” where it seems people have the “trade secrets,” but nobody really wants to share them. We also talked about how that doesn’t seem to be the case here and that people were pretty open to sharing ideas with each other, which is, in my opinion, a HUGE kudos to all of you!

The world of medical transcription has changed a lot since I started. When I started, there were no medical transcription programs. I took a terminology course and a machine transcription course and then drove the transcription manager crazy at the hospital where I worked until she gave me a shot. And it was so very different back then! We didn’t have the pressure of turnaround times like we have now. When I started, we had ONE person in the department who could transcribe operative reports. Nobody else had ever learned. When that person went on vacation, the tapes (yes, it was all tapes back then) with the operative notes on them were all put in a box to wait her return. With less worry about things like turnaround time, I think people perhaps were more open to taking on a newbie and training us. Today, it’s a very different story.

If I were to offer a few tips for new graduates, here’s what they would be:

  • Begin to network BEFORE you graduate. Do that through sites like this, through an AHDI chapter if you have one. Find where the MTs hang out and get to know them. You will find that networking gives you some idea of what’s happening in the industry and can also give you some ideas of where jobs might be.
  • Pursue your credential. Take a study course, then take the exam. While I still think the RMT has a long way to catching up in perceived value, it does show you are serious about the profession and that you understand that getting credentialed is a part of the process that many professionals pursue.
  • Polish that resume. Along those lines, be sure you have a profile on places like LinkedIn so you can make connections and get noticed. Employers today aren’t just looking for new staff by running an ad somewhere and it’s important to understand that this process is changing.
  • Continue your education while you are looking. Yes, I understand that may be a lot to take on. At the same time, most of us don’t come into this profession knowing all we need to know to do the job. And continuing your education is something you will need to do all through your career. Doing it now shows that you’re serious and committed.
  • Stay positive. If I’m a recruiter, I really don’t want to hear “This is the tenth company I have applied for, do you have any jobs?” I want to hear why you will make a difference if we hire you. I want to hear what you’re going to do. I really want to hear that you understand that it’s a partnership between employees and employers and that you’re willing to do your part.
  • So today for our Tuesday Tips let’s talk about tips for those newbies. If you have some experience, I want you to sit back for a minute and remember what it was like to seek that very first transcription job. What helped you succeed? If you’re new here, a new graduate, or even still in school, what are you finding works and what are you struggling with? Everyone has something to contribute, let’s hear it!

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    Filed under: Challenges in Medical Transcription

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