Kendra Nicastro, Director of Business Development for LeaderStat

Is it time to take the next step up in your professional life? If so, you may have to look critically at yourself before you look at the job boards.

Most high-level professionals in the long-term care industry have put some personal time and effort into improving their skill set, knowledge base, and leadership skills. Putting in similar effort yourself will make you a better candidate for a higher level job, and shows your employer you are committed to bettering yourself and the profession, which will help you stand out from the crowd.

Knowledge and skills

A quick and easy way to improve yourself today for your new job tomorrow is to get new training and up-to-date certifications. Continuing education courses pertaining to updated regulations (QAPI, anyone?) are available in person and online. You’ll need to make sure you are current on all the regulations pertaining to the job you want.

Getting a new certification is a great resume builder, too. A RAC-CT certification, for example, covers MDS coding¸ RUG IV, OBRA and PPS timing and scheduling, care area assessments, intro to Medicare Part A, care planning, and quality measures, among others. These workshops are a great way to improve expertise in skilled nursing.

Take the lead

Once your specs are up to speed, the next step in advancing your career is to improve your leadership skills, especially if you are looking to move into your first management position. Leadership courses and workshops are regularly available at annual healthcare conferences, local career centers, and colleges.

Such content will help you improve the so-called ‘soft skills’ such as communication, creativity, decisiveness, and ability to motivate a team. You may be pleased to find that these skills will come in handy in your professional and personal life.

Show your work

There are lots of self-help books on the market that will help you become a better professional and leader. However, we recommend that you read them only in addition to getting training and courses. 

You want to be able to show your effort to your prospective employer or current higher-ups by pointing to a new certification or completing a documented leadership class. Highlight them on your resume and be ready to list particulars, and talk about what you learned and how the course has helped you become a better professional.

This work shows your initiative and willingness to learn new things. If you are working with a recruiter, share your entire skillset, and discuss all the continuing education courses you have taken so they can help you advance your career.

If it holds true that “those who seek a better life must first become a better person” (as Jim Rohn once said), then those who seek a better job must first become a better job candidate.

Kendra Nicastro is the Director of Business Development for LeaderStat, a firm that specializes in interim management, executive recruiting and consulting for healthcare, post-acute and senior care organizations.