/ Asked by Sophia
I recently completed a seven month certificate program as a Medical Assistant/Phlebotomy in September of 2013, with 4.0 GPA. I started my externship in October through December of the same year. I have been seeking employment since then and have not received any call backs, all of the employers are asking that you have a least six month to a year experience, some doesn't accept your externship as experience. I'm very disappointed that I completed the time in school to find out that what I accomplished was not acceptable. I'm 46 years old, married and have a child and didn't think that I could go back to school and do well, however I am proud of myself, but knowing that I can't move forward is devastating. Where do you suggest I go from here.
Answered by Kellie, Hiring Expert at Emerson, on Thursday, June 12, 2014
Congratulations on completing the certificate program! Each employer may consider different qualifications to meet minimum work expectations but don’t give up on applying to jobs quite yet. A few suggestions I have would be to open your career search and review the content on your resume.
When looking for positions in a new career field one of the first places to start is your school’s career services and/or former professors. You may have already utilized these services but it may be helpful to ask, “What additional recommendations do you have for graduates of this certificate program?”  They may be able to provide you with local employer contacts or example career paths that can open up your career search to all applicable positions for the certificate.
Here are a few suggestions for your resume. Given that this may be a new career path for you it may be helpful to add an Objective or Summary statement to the top of your resume. This will provide potential employers with your intent to utilize your newly acquired certificate at their company. In addition, it appears you have an impressive GPA and externship accomplishments to add to your resume. To make sure you are accurately conveying this information to employers I would suggest asking an outsider to review your resume. They may provide helpful suggestions on how to tailor your resume content to the jobs you are applying. Better yet, they may be able to offer employer contact names that you could contact directly.
I hope you find this information helpful for your career search. Best of luck!
Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I agree that you ought to be *very* proud of your hard work and recent achievements. It’s never easy to go back to school, and it sounds like you did a phenomenal job!

There are actually many organizations which specialize in placing newly-graduated medical personnel, including Medical Assistants and Phlebotomists (phlebotek.com, interimhealthcare.com, allmedstaffing.com, etc.). I would check out some of these sites and complete the corresponding online applications, so that you can be potentially contacted by a medical recruiter ASAP.

Since some employers are indeed looking for 6 months to a full year of work history for perm positions, you may want to consider getting in the door as a contract or temporary worker, even if it’s part-time, or on-call. Starting out on a temporary assignment could very well turn into permanent, full-time employment.

You can also telephone staffing agencies in the area who do not particularly focus on healthcare, and ask them if they dabble in placing people like yourself. Some might, or they may be able to refer you to other agencies locally who do. I would highly encourage you to register with as many staffing companies as possible, so they can get to know you, your skills, and your career ambitions. Having a network of recruiters on the lookout for positions for you is a great way to get your name out there.

In addition, you may also want to engage in some healthcare-related volunteer work, with perhaps the Red Cross or the Department of Veterans Affairs, so that you can begin to build your work experience on paper. There are several websites which may help you locate valuable volunteer opportunities in your area (volunteermatch.org is one of them). Drug treatment centers, plasma donation centers, and other public health agencies may very well be looking for volunteers.

And regardless of whether or not the experience you gain is paid or unpaid, be sure to carefully document the number of venipunctures you perform. On your resume, create a section titled, “Professional Experience,” and include both paid work history as well as any volunteer work you are involved with. By grouping them together under the same category, it helps employers to recognize that unpaid work still adds tremendous value to your overall employability status.
Answered by Rachel, Hiring Expert at Eaton, on Thursday, June 12, 2014
In addition to the great advice given by Kellie and Dana I would also suggest looking to join the American Association of Medical Assistants and or your state/local chapter.  This is a great way to network with employers and other professionals within your field.  They can provide you with additional opportunities that may not necessarily be visible to the general public and are a great way to build your professional network.  Often times it is who you know that gets you that introduction to a new role.
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