Tips for Job Seekers
Job Search Tips
When it comes to finding job opportunities, you need to network, network and network. Talk to as many people as possible to find opportunities, and do plenty of your own independent networking (see below). There are also numerous resources available, including several offered by AAPC, to help you in your search.
As you look for job postings, be aware of the many settings (physician offices, hospitals, physical therapy offices, home health agencies, medical equipment agencies, hospice, billing companies, insurance companies, etc.) and positions (coder, billing coordinator, compliance manager, audit specialist, etc.) that are available to you.
Medical Coding Jobs Database - AAPC's online job database gives access to tens of thousands of jobs in medical coding, billing, auditing and practice management.
AAPC Employment Forums - AAPC members can access our employment forums to network with 180,000 coders to find job openings nationwide, sometimes before they’re posted.
AAPC Local Chapter Meetings. Your AAPC Local Chapter meetings are a great place to network with coders in your area who may know of job opportunities before they are posted. Get to know AAPC members in your area and use them as resources in your job search.
AAPC Project Xtern. To help newly certified medical coders qualify for a medical coding job, AAPC has developed Project Xtern, a program designed to match beginning coders with facilities willing to give them field experience and potentially their first medical coding job.
Independent Networking. Perhaps the best way to find a job in your area is to do your own networking. Look in the phone book to find offices/facilities and call or visit as many as you can to see if they are hiring. Look for job postings in local newspapers and magazines and attend job fairs in your area. Talk to as many people as possible about your job search and utilize word-of-mouth advertising. Attend community medical meetings and hospital events as well as your AAPC local chapter meetings.
Your resume should not be about past jobs; it should be about you, how you performed and what you accomplished in those past jobs.
Begin with an objective. Use a simple short statement to clearly state your goal.
Content that sells. Use active verbs to describe your experience, and be specific about your accomplishments. Identify how your skills will benefit the organization instead of just providing a list. Use PAR statements (Problem-Action-Result) to showcase how you contributed in previous jobs, and focus on achievements instead of responsibilities.
Target your resume to the organization and position you're applying for. Use the job posting to identify key words and skills the organization is looking for and highlight those in your resume. Anticipate the full range of needs each employer faces and show how you can solve those needs.
Use design that grabs attention. Use a simple design that grabs attention. Most employers will spend less than 2 minutes reading a resume. You should highlight the most important information about your work experience, skills and education. Use effective headlines and titles, and create bullet points to succinctly describe your experience. Prioritize your information by importance, impressiveness and relevance to the job you want. Know that artistic resumes are a turn-off for most employers. They just want the information.
Pay attention to the details. Your resume should be typed in a simple font such as Arial or Times using an 11 or 12 point font on beige, white or gray paper. Include your name and contact details at the top, and don't try to cram too much information onto one page. Proofread your resume several times to make sure it is error-free.
Check your references. If you include references with your resume or are asked to provide them when you interview, make sure you check with your references first. Let them know what position you have applied for and what the job posting says the company is looking for. Make sure they feel comfortable responding to a reference inquiry. Provide no more than three or four references, and don’t use friends or relatives. Employers, co-workers or volunteer employers are acceptable.
An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications and personality to a potential employer. It is a chance for you to become more than just a name on a list and leave a lasting impression.
Plan ahead. Before you go to your interview, make sure you do your homework. Research the company, the position and the people you will be interviewing with, if possible. Review your resume and be prepared to provide examples to support past career accomplishments. Consider possible interview questions and practice your responses. Make sure you are appropriately dressed and have directions to the interview site. It is especially important that you are on time (5 to 10 minutes early) to your interview.
Dress for success. First impressions are critical, so it’s important to always dress professionally for a job interview, even if the work environment is casual. Neat and conservative is the look you should go for, including your clothing and grooming. Do not wear clothing that is too flashy or ill-fitting (low-cut, too short, too baggy). Limit the perfume or aftershave, and make sure you leave the gum at home.
Remember attitude determines altitude. Your interview is the time for you to demonstrate your attitude and personality. Be enthusiastic and attentive but not over-bearing. Maintain eye contact to express your interest, and address your interviewer(s) directly. Be positive about past work experiences and employers. Be yourself, and turn whatever you are into "how and why I will be valuable to your organization."
Watch your words. Clearly communicate your skills and experience and focus on your strengths. Use PAR (Problem-Action-Result) statements to demonstrate your competency and show how you have contributed in past organizations. Answer questions honestly and concisely without rambling, and make sure you use appropriate language and correct grammar. Ask questions about the organization and position that demonstrate your interest, such as expectations and qualifications for the position; do not ask about benefits or pay.
Make up for what you lack. If you don’t have experience or are unfamiliar with a particular subject, it’s okay to say so. Don't try to make your resume look like you have experience, as the prospective employer will see through it. Use a simple short statement to clearly state your goal and make sure you also point out what you can do. All employers want someone who will work hard, has an ability to get things done and can learn quickly. Show how you can do those things. Let the interviewer know you are happy to learn new things and like to be challenged.
Be professional. Make sure you are aware of all the little things that make a big difference. The way you dress and how you act communicate just as much to potential employers as what you say.
Send a thank you. This should be short and to the point. A hand-written note or email is sufficient, as most potential employers do not want to be bothered by phone calls.