Janet contacted me and asked for some help. We had a bunch of back and forth and she asked me to post this to my blog so she can get the input of my brilliant readers. So, let’s help Janet get out of a job she hates and into something she loves:

Janet: I need some guidance and hope you may help. Basically, I hate my job, I hate Mondays thru Thursday beginning Sunday nights!! I have had a LinkedIn account for some time, but never really pursued any connection because I really do not know how. I have a Bachelor’s in Business, Master’s in Health Management specializing in Human Resources and graduated with honors in Nursing school in 2013. All these degrees, I worked very hard as a single mother. My downfall is that I have not been successful in passing the nursing board. My frustration has been to the max. I have no motivations to study afraid that it will lead again to failure.

Currently, I work for a corporation as a Credentialing Coordinator making less than $32k. I have degrees and 17 plus years of experience in the medical field, what am I doing wrong? I decided to try a different approach and began searching for a career coach. I spoke to two of them so far and their costs are in the thousands. I literally cannot afford. I would like for my experience in healthcare, my degrees (pending my boards) that I may combine them all in a job position that is fulfilling, helps people, self-worth and allows me to have my confidence back not to mention earning the bracket I should be in which is $80k. My prior experience in trying to apply to hospitals, for example, have been failures because if I do not have a friend that knows someone in that organization chances of being hired are very slim. I am asking you to please guide me: where do I begin? I know I need to redo my profile on LinkedIn (but how)? My resume looks to be boring, how do I attract an employer? I don’t even know what job position to look for. I feel lost and frustrated not to mention overwhelmed.

Please help me.

Sincerely, Janet

Suzanne: So, what’s your goal? Did you want to work as an RN or did you want to work in more of an office type job?

Janet: For now office type, because I have not passed my boards.

Suzanne: Is that your goal? Are you working towards that?

Janet: Eventually, I would like a management position and once I pass my boards it may be used towards management as well.

In reality, I do not even know where to begin. Where I live it is hard to get hired in a hospital unless you know of someone. I currently work for a corporation and I was hired by someone that I knew.

Suzanne: Okay, the fact that it’s been 5 years since you got your RN and haven’t passed your boards is really going to hold you back no matter what position you apply for. Companies are rightly skeptical that there’s a problem with either your follow-through or your academic skills.

I’d emphasize that you got the nursing degree because you love medicine, but it turns out that you prefer healthcare management to hands-on patient care, which is why you haven’t pursued the licensing.

Janet: Attached is my resume in case you cannot see it on my profile.

I enjoy both hands on and administration, but the fact is I have no motivation to study especially coming home having the responsibilities and stress from work.

Do you suggest I remove the nursing from my resume?

What type position do you recommend or what area should I look into?

Suzanne: I can’t get it to open, but let me ask a couple questions:

Do you focus on things you’ve accomplished or tasks that you do? So, “Drafted guideline for….” instead of “Worked on guideline creation”

Do you use numbers when possible? “Supported 3 managers”

I think removing the nursing information depends on your ultimate goal. Even in healthcare management having hands-on experience is helpful.

Are you willing to relocate?

Janet: I believe I focus on tasks that I have accomplished.

I relocated from one county to another a couple of months ago. [Note: She is currently in the US and is a US citizen.]

Suzanne: Was that for your current job? Did they pay relocation costs?

Janet: I relocated because we bought a house and better community for kids. Also, many great hospitals and corporation are close by too.

When I lived in the prior county I was working at my current job for a year.

Suzanne: Same job, right?

Janet: Problem is that my department promised me that there would be growth, but it will not happen.

Correct same job.

Suzanne: And they didn’t pay for relocation, right? You don’t have any obligations for that?

Janet: No they did not. No obligations.

Suzanne: Excellent.

I’d do two things.

1. Focus on networking like heck. Any conference, any meeting, anything with other humans in your field that you can possibly go to, go to that.

2. Either decide to study like crazy for the nursing license and pass the test, or say, “well, that was great to learn but now I’m going to focus on this side of things.” Having it hanging over your head is adding stress that you don’t need.

Janet: I really appreciate your help! I have contacted a couple of people and not even one replied except you.

I have even contacted two career coaches and one was over $7500!!

Suzanne: You’re welcome! I hope you can find something better. I don’t know what a health solutions partner is, but I’d also focus on insurance companies. They tend to have more money.

Uhhh, $7500? For what? Gold plated advice? Does she guarantee a job that comes with its own butler?

Clearly, I’m in the wrong profession. I’m going to switch to high dollar career coaching!

I will also say fill out your LinkedIn profile to look more like your resume. That way if a recruiter sees it, she can see instantly what your qualifications are.

Janet: Will do. Thank you so much and if you want to add my case to your post my okay with that. I would like to hear from other’s have to say.

Suzanne: Sure! I’ll put this up on my blog and see what other people have to say. Probably go live Monday, if that’s okay.

So, what can Janet do? I did eventually get her resume to open and it’s way too long, so she needs to edit it down, but it’s not a bad resume. Somehow there’s a disconnect between skill and getting in front of a hiring manager.

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31 thoughts on “Help Janet Find a New Job

  1. I recommend the book 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller (along with his free podcast and other resources). While he does lay out an excellent process, most of the “hard work” is on yourself–figuring out exactly what you want to do.

  2. Hmmm …. nurse here.

    I hate to say it, but I’m not sure that nursing school is going to help you at all unless you pass boards. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I can’t come up with any job that having a BSN will be a selling point for unless you have the RN. Even more so if your degree is an ADN.

    I think you need to decide if you want to pursue the RN or not, and then either do what you need to do to pass boards (figure out where the problem lies/take a test prep course/take a refresher course/work with someone 1:1/etc) or just leave it off your resume (but not necessarily the application).

    It sounds like your experience is strong enough that you should be able to find something without the RN.

    If you decide to pursue the RN, once you pass boards I’m not sure anyone will notice that it took you X number of years, especially if you’ve moved states since you graduated. They *will* notice that you haven’t had a job as an RN, but that is relatively easy to explain since you’ve been employed. It is even easier to explain if you come from a market that is saturated with nurses. I’ve **never** been asked how many tries it took me to pass boards as part of the job seeking process. Never. Nor have I ever heard of anyone being asked that.

    If you decide that you want to work at the bedside (which did not come across in the original post), you will benefit from doing a new-grad type program. **I would not expect to move into nursing management without working at the bedside for a few years first** (though other types of management in healthcare might well be an option without working at the bedside).

    If nursing management is something that you’re interested in, then I highly encourage you to pursue the RN. Nursing has a huuuge need for good managers. Nurses by nature tend to make terrible managers (not to say there aren’t good ones — there are — but there definitely seems to be more bad nursing managers that good nursing managers). Someone with strong management skills would be a huge asset to most facilities. But, you can’t get into nursing leadership without the RN license. And honestly, you’ll really need to understand the process that the bedside nurse goes through in order to be an effective manager.

    Lots of luck to you and if I can answer any questions let me know.

    1. I wanted to add …. there are certainly nurses who have a BSN/MSN but not a current nursing license in their state and use the nursing background in finding a job, but they have a history of being employed as an RN to strengthen their candidacy.

      One hospital I worked at the CEO was an RN but did not have an active RN license in the state the hospital was in (she did have an active license in another state). However, the CEO position did not require an RN license. The CNO position did require a nursing license, and she used the CNO position (in a different state) as a stepping stone to the CEO position, so the RN license did help her get the CEO position.

    2. I do HR in healthcare, and I fully agree with this statement! Read this one over and over again! Actively and aggressively pursue your RN license. Finding an RN with strong office skills is a rare and wonderful gem, but you need need NEED the license!

      1. I would add that LinkedIn is helpful in a lot of recruitment scenarios, but I’ve never used it while recruiting RNs. If you do go in this direction, a lot of the career advice you’ll get (LinkedIn, etc.) are less helpful. There is a large demand for RNs across the country, and hiring managers are more worried about your qualifications than how good you are at professional social media.

  3. I am a career coach and what they are charging is ridiculous. The cost depends on a lot of factors, but my rates run about 1/10th of what Janet has been quoted. I say that only to suggest she keep looking for a local coach – she is bound to find one more cost effective. There are also lots of nonprofits that help with the job search at no cost to the job seeker.

    Some basics – get the resume down to two pages. Make sure the reader can skim it quickly (under six seconds) and get an idea of your strengths. Focus on those strengths that match the job you are looking for. And most important, follow Suzanne’s advice and network, network, network. In person is best, but LinkedIn is very helpful as well. Spend some time on your profile.

  4. Maybe look at lawyers offices? Many lawyers who specialize in personal injury or disability claims hire medical professionals to assist on their cases. Good luck to Janet!

  5. You took a great deal if time and put a great deal of effort into getting your degrees. Your post asserts that you have the skills and education, but you blame lack of success on external factors that you claim you have no control over: no one answers your questions, your employer has broken their promises, you don’t know how to use LinkedIn, your resume file won’t open, help is too expensive, you don’t know the right people.

    Learn to use LinkedIn; learn what’s gone wrong with your resume file that people can’t open it; learn to manage stress so that it doesn’t keep you from pursuing your goals; own your responsibility for lack of follow-through. Find a local resource to help you with job search skills and in determining what you want. Most people don’t use expensive coaches for this, and you probably don’t need to either. Don’t expect to jump from <$32k to $80k in one leap. It's likely to take several large steps over at least a few years as you determine what path you want to pursue and take personal responsibility for your forward momentum.

    1. You hit it right on the nail! I am frustrated that I did not pass my test the first time around, dead-end jobs, not being recognized by upper management, etc.
      I am taking your advice and coming up with a plan.
      Thank you.

      1. HR pro here. Stymied’s comment is a good start. LinkedIn has lots of online tutorials on how to use it better. Sign up for webinars with them. Then try to connect with anyone in your area in your field. Really grow that network.

        In terms of updating your resume, no need to reinvent the wheel. The internet is your friend. Search whatever job title you’re aiming for + resume and you’ll start to stumble across some sample ones.

        If you search “free resume template healthcare” you’ll find some good templates to take your info and make it look nicer.

        When you land an interview, finally, search for healthcare interview questions (or whatever makes sense), and practice saying the responses to questions out loud while you drive, dry your hair, etc. Use the recording feature on your smart phone to hear yourself. Your goal: play the part of most qualified candidate for this role. Do you sound like that person? If not, tweak and rehearse until you are!

        Good luck!!!!

        1. Just a note of clarification: in regards to the resume, I was talking about the fact that Suzanne was not mechanically able to open the file, not the contents of the resume after she did get it open. Inability to use basic technology processes is a huge turn off when reviewing a candidate. If you’re not sure how to use any process/technology considered standard in the job search process, practice over and over with a friend until you understand and can manage it quickly in response to a request from a potential employer.

  6. In addition to the other good advice, she needs help with the English language.There are many usage problems with her posts which might well be a turn-off for some readers.

    1. I noticed that, and was considering whether it is a factor. One’s professional communication should be correctly spelled and grammatical; casual communications do not require such a high standard. Does an email exchange with a potential professional mentor fit the first category or the second? I tend to think that if I was looking for professional advice from the general public, I’d want it to be perfect.

  7. There are many positions in higher ed that require a medical degree with no minimum required medical experience. I would suggest looking at some of those opportunities and moving up the ladder in higher ed. Several nursing programs, medical schools, etc are hiring for Program Coordinator, Deans, etc that don’t have a requirement for a degree in higher ed, but rather prefer someone with a medical degree of some sort.

    Additionally, I have worked with several managers of college health clinics that have MBAs along with their ADN or BSN. That might be an option if you are open to going back to school. It will take the focus away from lack of RN experience as it will set you up to make your resume look like you have always been interested in the work outside of patient support.

  8. What town are you in Janet? (Or at least, what’s the nearest city?). I bet we can find you some people to meet to help you make contacts in the places you want to work.

  9. I think she should expand her scope as well. Check out Fortune 500 companies. Large companies have Health Benefit departments that look for people with medical backgrounds. They need people that have knowledge / experience with the medical side as it helps tremendously with the administrative side of claims processing. Someone with experience would know what to question from the insurance companies.

  10. Hi,
    It’s really hard to work in an environment you don’t like and not get the satisfaction of getting paid well for it.

    I would suggest two things:
    1) Get Support:
    “Hack the Hidden Job Market” though it is based in Oregon it can help you wherever you live. The 3 month weekly class was helpful and supportive. It does cost $279 but nothing like a head hunter.

    One thing that they will tell you is to network, which is an evil word if you are shy like me, but it does really work, you do get to meet lots of people in the field you want to be and it gives you a boost.

    Take Care of Yourself:
    Take some vacation and give yourself time. Do the thing that makes you happy: bubble baths? gardening? hiking? seeing friends? going to a new place you’ve never been?
    Take a week if you can and when Friday comes don’t worry if you haven’t figured it out. Write down all the items you want in a job or career. Get clear on what you want.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome.

    1. Hi Patty,
      Thank you for the advice. I will definitely look into it. I work in a workplace that is not, so friendly much the less a team player. When I come home my mind is has turned off from being mentally tired. I try to settle down and begin studying, but I become either distracted or too tired.
      I reached out to Suzanne because I needed guidance to pursue another job position that, I am satisfied in hope to become motivated not only in studying but in other activities.

  11. This is going to sound harsh, but you’ve asked for feedback, so here is mine.
    It all sounds pretty negatively framed to me. I understand your frustration, but holding on to that is not going to hold you in good stead.
    Get a solid plan, get excited about it, and get working on achieving it – and let positivity shine through you, in your contacts with others, your social media profile, your CV and other employment documents, in interviews and your day to day language…..much easier to captivate others attention with excitement for the future than it is a tale of woe from the past.

    1. Not harsh at all. Thank you. Definitely working on a plan. I just needed the feedback from people other than family and friends.

  12. Maybe you could try narrowing your area of interest down? I read the post carefully but I still found your description of what you are looking for a little bit vague. When you were studying for your Masters, what kind of job did you think it would lead to? Have you changed your mind since then?

    I’m not in the US but here there would be a number of positions in the pharmaceutical industry that would be right for you. I would also look at health-related government agencies, health insurance companies and the higher education sector. Large food manufacturers have interesting vacancies too.

    Another thing you mentioned is that you’d like a position where you can use the combination of your degrees. This is a trap people with multiple qualifications often fall into. If you can find a position that uses all of them, then great but make sure you don’t discount potentially interesting jobs because they don’t require all your qualifications. It may also take a long time to build up to the salary you want, so be prepared to accept a lower salary initially.

  13. My daughter had a similar problem with double interest lines, she had a background (and was certified)in phlebotomy and could do blood draws but like doing the paperwork for filing claims for a disability lawyer so she went to school to learn how to properly know how to fill these claim forms out properly ( one wrong word results in denied claim). She got this certification and started a work search. Each interview she went to she would describe how her skills would benefit the potential employer. The job she landed was in a dentist office, as the person who completes the filing of the paperwork for claims. Not the same medical terminology as a regular doctor but uses the same type of forms and the only skill needed is knowing what terminology to use, easy to learn hands-on in the job.
    What this woman needs to realize is how she wants to use her background to create her ideal job situation. You can’t put a price quote on it because benefits if offered, are considered part of the salary. There’s a reason other than lack of time she hasn’t passed the boards, especially when you can re-sign to take them until you pass and you don’t need to go to a class just do the practice tests that are available in books from places like Barrons. My niece took the boards multiple times until she passed.
    Using a career coach or guide is useless and wasted money no guarantee in job placement. She could hire a resume writer to revise her resume to post on LinkedIn as recruiters do look for candidates without you even searching. I am not looking but I get offers anyway.
    As far as Florida employment options, don’t let the negativity of your current job wear you down as part of that is caused by the cultural tone of the population. My daughter lives there and she learned to overcome that negativity by her positive job performance. If you work with turkeys, you need to soar like an eagle to do better.

  14. You would benefit by reading the following books in the order shown: What Color is Your Parachute? by Bolles; Smart Networking by Lynch; Cracking the Hidden Job Market by Asher.

    Richard Bolles asked three questions that I would encourage you to think about deeply: What do you want to do (it all starts here)? Why aren’t you doing it? What are you doing about it?

    If you don’t know where you are going, you are guaranteed to get there 🙂

  15. Hello.

    I understand your confusion and offer sympathy.

    I worked as a floor nurse (RN, BSN) and eventually got into pharmaceutical research (Clinical Research Associate, “CRA”) where I audit drug and device trials. This position does not usually require a nursing degree of any kind, just a BS/MS.

    Most entry-level research positions are found in the CRO (Clinical Research Organization) environment (these are companies that contract to the pharma co.s to perform their trials for them). Well-known CRO’s include Covance, PPD, ICON, and Quintiles. However, with this position (CRA) there is a lot of travel so that may be a deal-breaker for you.
    But there are administrative support roles (less pay) as well.

    Unless you are TRULY passionate about patient care, I suggest you forget about getting your license. Since my departure from patient care, I’ve made more money, enjoy regular 8-5 hours, weekends off, and am no longer dealing with the toxicity of poor management and high school drama via co-workers. Trust me, nursing is one of the most demanding yet least understood professions, and the quote “nurses eat their young” is true! I wish someone had warned me (hence my screen name (Ha!) . . . Please read http://www.allnurses.com to gain more insight.

    In essence, spend a lot of time researching other careers (google, LinkedIn articles, etc.) where you can apply your hard-earned degrees.

    Best of luck and chin up!

      1. Yes, e-mail me at: [redacted] Please let me know when you get this message. Thanks!

  16. Disclaimer – not in the medical field at all. But, I hope this is helpful

    Networking is something I find very challenging being a bit of an introvert. But, what I have found very effective in building a meaningful network is volunteering with my local industry association. By volunteering I was able to get to know people in smaller groups and demonstrating my skills and strengths working side-by-side with local leaders. Building relationships in this way led directly to an amazing job which set me on a whole new career trajectory. I never would have been considered for the role had I attempted to apply through “normal” channels. My somewhat non-traditional resume would never made it past the recruiting software bots, frankly.

  17. I have to be harsh here. I work in, manage, and hire for the kind of healthcare job you say you want and several things in your situation would concern me as if I was considering hiring you:
    1. Not passing the board exams. It raises questions about whether that was a lack of ability, or lack of effort – either one would be a problem in an environment where constant learning, adaptation, and initiative are needed.
    2. No specific plan other than “manager” and “more money”. I prefer my managers to be people who have earned their leadership position because they have expertise and strong record of performance in their domain. And yes, that has to be real-world experience, not schooling.
    3. No network. Even if you don’t much enjoy your current job, if you do it well and cheerfully then the higher-up folks at your own organization should know you and be willing to mentor you. Why hasn’t that happened?

    Based on that my advice is that you start by making certain that even if you think your current job is beneath you, you’re knocking it out of the park every single day, both with your attitude and the actual content of your work. Next, begin learning about the kinds of jobs available to you. Reach out to people in your own organization and own town who seem to be doing interesting work, and ask if they’ll share their experience with you (do NOT ask them to give you a job). Ask them what their day looks like, what they love and what they find challenging, and what kind of education and experience they feel is needed to do their job well. Then, once you have some idea what professional goals look appealing to you, put together a more comprehensive plan to actually get the experience and training you need to reach that goal.

  18. Thank you for the excellent advice and you are not being harsh at all. I have been researching in order to come up with a plan in order to reach a goal. I understand that I will not be hired at first with a management position because I have not earned it nor have a strong record of being one. Currently, I am having my resume professionally revised because it is way too long and it also needs to be updated. I have been thinking of how to approach certain people (outside of work even on LinkedIn) to ask them about their position, but I did not know how to go about it. I liked your idea on how to reach out to people which will lead a better understanding on how to reach my goal. I was thinking about purchasing books on leadership and maybe attend a workshop. Any other suggestions that you may have please let me know it will be greatly appreciated.

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