San Diego County is home to 20 universities and community colleges, and May and June are the months when thousands of new graduates cross the stage into the next phase of their lives. While some will continue onto advanced degrees, many new grads will be on the hunt for a job — and health care is an excellent field to find one.
According to Elmerissa Sheets, director of Workforce Development and Recruitment Strategies for Sharp HealthCare — the largest private employer in the county — the need for health care workers will continue to grow through 2035 as baby boomers age.
"We always try to support our local graduates in our hiring," she says.
According to Sheets, health care career opportunities are abundant in a variety of areas, including:
- Registered nurses
- Clinical laboratory scientists
- Physical therapists
- Information systems
- Marketing and digital communications
Sheets looks for candidates with a passion for people, empathy and a true desire to be patient advocates — those who demonstrate The Sharp Experience.
She shares her top five job search tips for new graduates:
1. Find your pathway.
Become familiar with the job market in the area you'd like to live and work. Review jobs that sound attractive and discover what education, certifications and qualifications are required for each position.
There is power in face-to-face interactions. Join professional organizations, attend career fairs and talk to people who work in your field of interest.
3. Do your research.
Visit job search websites such as Indeed.com or Glassdoor.com to read listings and reviews about the company you're interested in joining. Then visit the company website, talk to acquaintances who work for the company, and do a Google search to see if the company has publications or is mentioned in articles. Recruiters will want to know why you are interested in their company and you should be able to clearly state your specific reasons.
4. Get connected.
Build your presence on LinkedIn by joining professional groups, following blogs, requesting connections with those in your desired field, communicating with your connections (comment on a recent post, congratulate them on a promotion, etc.) and adding information to your profile as you gain experience through internships, volunteering, special projects and more.
5. Strengthen your "soft skills."
It is equally important to know how to build a resume, handle a phone interview, impress during an in-person meeting and meet the professional standards of the company you'd like to work with. Emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills are very important in a competitive job market.
"One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to gain experience," says Sheets. "Be willing to do an internship or start in an entry-level position. Your first job may not be your dream job, but give it your 100 percent."
Interested in learning about a career in health care? Sharp HealthCare's Workforce Planning Department has developed potential health care career pathways and their associated educational and training requirements.