For many leaders, career progression is all about timing: waiting for the right job description to come along, waiting for a senior team member to retire, or waiting for an opening at a coveted healthcare organization. In other cases, leaders may be hesitant due to fear of the unknown or of making the wrong move, and simply aren’t proactive about seeking new opportunities.
Of course, there are risks in moving too quickly as well – pursuing positions for which you are not qualified, for example, can damage your reputation and put a strain on your network. To achieve the best possible outcome, it is important to know exactly when to take the next step in your career.
Consider these four critical questions before deciding to make a change:
1. Do you have the right skills?
In today’s healthcare market, soft skills are more important than ever. In addition to clinical, financial or operational expertise, healthcare executives need to have the right communication and people skills to be successful. Determining the skills necessary to advance and evaluating your own skillset are critical components in the decision to move forward in your career. Research the roles you could see yourself advancing into, and identify the soft skills that would make a candidate successful in that role. Work to enhance your own skillset to meet those needs before attempting a career change.
2. Do you have the right network?
The right network will open many doors during the course of your career; it will provide you with education and support, as well as mentorship. Building a strong network will also keep you up-to-date on the latest industry news, trends and challenges, allowing you to remain at the forefront of the job market. Adding healthcare professionals from all across the spectrum will bolster your knowledge, increase your reach and enhance your existing relationships. Joining professional organizations, pursuing continuing education opportunities and connecting with executive search leaders are excellent ways to build your network.
3. Do you have the right experience?
It is important to understand the experience necessary to be successful at the next level. This does not strictly relate to how many years you have served in the industry – it includes where you worked and with whom. While remaining with one organization for your entire career does demonstrate loyalty, you may be missing aspects of experience that other candidates gain from working in diverse environments. If you are more comfortable staying with one employer for the long-term, add to your experience by volunteering with other organizations or networking with leaders from other environments. The knowledge gained by sharing ideas will enhance your abilities and allow you to stand out as a candidate.
4. Do you have the right education?
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the knowledge required to drive positive change becomes a moving target. Most organizations include their education requirements in any job posting. Be sure you understand the requirements at the next level and have achieved that standard of education. To stand out as a candidate and to prepare yourself for the coming challenges facing our industry, look for ways to enhance your knowledge through additional educational pursuits, including certifications, licenses and courses offered through professional organizations.
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