As healthcare businesses and organisations shift and change with the times, hiring is changing too. Job adverts now highlight global flexible working options, relocation initiatives and job share positions, and that’s not to mention the many employment opportunities that exist overseas. So, how can you prepare yourself to compete in this ever-changing global job market? We’ve put together ten tips to get you started!
Understand the global healthcare job market
As the world changes and the economy becomes more global, so does the job market. This means competition for work increases as companies have a larger pool of people to choose from. They’re no longer limited by their locality, and hiring can happen across borders and continents. There’s also ample opportunity to take on roles that go beyond traditional jobs in a hospital or clinic; from working in a global organisation like UNICEF or Médecins Sans Frontières, to taking on one of the many different healthcare positions that exist in today’s market. In nursing alone, you could become a mental health nurse, an ER nurse, or a travel nurse who ventures to various locations on temporary assignments.
Something to consider is that not all hiring managers have the same resources. Global healthcare organisations often have much broader objectives than smaller companies, as well as bigger budgets, which position them slightly differently to other businesses. This also means their concerns and challenges are different.
Part of understanding the global healthcare job market is understanding these differences so that you can better position yourself to be of service. Agility, problem-solving, flexibility, resilience and communication are often key skills needed by healthcare organisations that operate on a global platform.
It’s also worth taking into consideration the demands of working within a global healthcare company. Transfers to new places, dynamic and fast-paced work environments, communication between time zones and high levels of responsibility are often hallmarks of these types of jobs. If this sounds exciting, you’ve got what it takes to go global!
All good plans start with working out what you’d like to achieve. A global healthcare career can mean different things to different people, so it’s important that you define what it means to you.
Have a look online at the types of companies you’d like to work for and where you can find them. If they have offices or headquarters situated across the world, where is the closest one to you and would it be feasible for you to work with them? Then, have a look at the type of organisation they run. Do they hire contractors? Are they looking for permanent employees and in what capacity?
Look at how you and your skills and ambitions might fit in with these businesses and their mission. You can then assess your strengths and weaknesses and how you might set some goals to address these so you’re perfectly positioned to go out and start making your dreams a reality.
You might already have a bachelor’s degree in your chosen field, however often an extra tier of education can really make you stand out. You could consider upskilling by completing postgraduate study, such as a master’s. This will not only expand your knowledge of your area of expertise, but also help you build practical skills so that you’re job-ready. These kinds of hard skills include things like writing, reading, computer literacy, data analysis, and project management.
Australia’s world-renowned universities offer plenty of fantastic postgraduate courses, from nursing and medicine to dentistry and veterinary science. Just make sure your qualifications will be recognised in your chosen country to boost your chances of successfully landing a job.
Build your soft skills
We’ve already talked a bit about some of the soft skills required by global healthcare companies. Skills like problem-solving, work ethic, organisation, reliability and creative thinking are hard to define and quantify, so building on and demonstrating these types of skills needs to be evidence-based. So, how can you show you’ve used these types of skills in practical situations before? Think of projects you’ve been involved in, competitions you’ve participated in, any volunteering work you might have done, or work experience you’ve completed.
It’s good to get specific here so that you have a range of concrete examples to talk about in hiring situations. If you feel like you could do with more experience in this area, get creative and find out how you might be able to find opportunities to use and build these types of skills.
Communicate your skillset
As well as building your skillset, how you communicate is key to successfully competing in the global healthcare job market.
If you’re yet to have on-the-job experience, it’s worth detailing the modules you’ve studied and the skills you developed so that a hiring manager can see where you fit with the job description and the tasks you’ll be asked to perform.
Your CV is a great place to do this. Remember to keep it concise and relevant. Hiring managers are often busy, so be respectful of their time and demonstrate your points clearly. Have someone with experience in hiring take a look over your CV to help you fine-tune it for maximum impact.
Gain work experience
If you’re new to the healthcare job market, this can be the difference between grabbing that dream position and not. Hiring managers in a global job market often have a lot of candidates to choose from, so having on-the-job experience in similar roles is extremely beneficial when you’re applying.
It’s helpful to ask your manager from previous work experience to write you a recommendation or reference and include that with your application, too. Any evidence you’ve used your skills in real-life situations will demonstrate your ability to help your new employer meet and overcome the challenges they face.
If you feel like you’re lacking in this area, have a look for opportunities you can take advantage of.
Create an international professional network
Since the global pandemic pushed everyone to communicate online rather than getting up close and personal, networking opportunities have increased. Now, you can find whole communities of like-minded people having virtual networking events.
Jump on Meetup or Eventbrite, take a look at healthcare industry groups or events relevant to you and your ambitions, and log on to make some new connections. LinkedIn, Twitter and other business platforms are also great for creating a global network. Talking to people online via these platforms can be a good way to find out more about healthcare companies you’d like to work for, what’s involved in certain roles and where a job title could take your career. These are helpful insights that could take years to learn on your own.
Improve your English
English is still the global healthcare language, so improving your reading, writing, listening and speaking is worth the effort. Plus, certain professions or organisations might require you to pass an English language proficiency test if you want to work in a particular country or line of work.
If English isn’t your first language, never fear! Being bilingual or being able to speak several languages gives you the edge when you’re applying for roles in the global healthcare job market.
To make sure your English is good enough to compete on a global stage, keep working to improve it. There are so many tools available online and on your phone these days; you can read about websites and apps for improving English language skills here, and if you’re thinking of working in Australia, you’ll find some helpful tips on workplace slang here.
Remember, confidence is key and the best way to build your confidence is to practise! Find someone else who’s learning and improving and be study buddies so you’re not alone. Try setting weekly catch-ups to help you maintain your studies. With all these tips and tricks, the sky really is the limit.
Ready to take your career global? If you’re a doctor or nurse who wants to take their qualifications to an English-speaking country, OET is the only English language test specifically for medical professionals. The test is accepted in 10 countries, including Australia, the UK and, only recently, the US. OET is now formally recognised by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Florida Board of Nursing and the Oregon State Board of Nursing, allowing International Medical Graduates to enter certain residency or fellowship programs in the US. For more information, visit the OET website.