Entering the Job Market as an Entry-Level Coder
Putting in the time and effort required to finish your medical billing and coding program and getting certified is a big step, an essential one—like putting on pants before leaving the house. Getting ready for the day also requires putting on a shirt (“top” or “blouse” for the ladies) and (hopefully) brushing your teeth. And just like the accomplishment of successfully putting on pants as a step in getting ready for the day, the journey to a coding career is not complete without additional work.
This convoluted attempt at an analogy means one thing—landing your first coding job takes work! Here are a few things you should pay attention to when you’re gearing up for your job search.
Pay attention to your resume
Your resume should your first priority. Make it clean, make it professional, most of all, make it YOURS. Don’t copy samples or use format templates. To start from scratch, list your education, experience, and skills on a Word doc and go from there. Don’t forget to list your certification credentials; they are your golden ticket to get in to the Chocolate Factory! If you have access to Career Step’s graduate services, take advantage of the resume review—you will thank me later.
Don’t sell yourself short
You will likely look at an impressively large pile of job openings before you land your first job. Most of them will say “experience preferred.” DO NOT let this deter you from applying for coding positions! All employers “prefer” experience because they won’t have to train as much. The reality is that your Career Step coding training and industry credentials will open doors and our graduates get coding jobs regularly.
Employ a few old school tactics
The majority of the jobs you will apply for will have online application processes. Although this will be your most common means of contacting prospective employers, it is still a good idea to do some personal contacting. This idea may seem old school and antiquated, but there is definitely something to be said for both letting an employer match a face to your name and showing that extra measure of persistence and motivation to go into the office and introduce yourself.
Following up may seem like an ancient practice as well. I assure you that it is well worth your time. Keep track of the jobs you apply for and make a call or send an email to any contact you have between 10 to 14 days after applying to check on the status of the position and reaffirm your interest.
Tap that network
Fishing is more effective if you use a big net. Think of your network as your fishing net (really, I just want an excuse to talk about fishing). Let all your friends and acquaintances know what you are doing and what you are looking for. The wider your net, the more fish you can catch. Using your network can get you info about jobs that may not get posted online. You may also be able to take advantage of the age old “who you know” factor by leveraging your network.
So let’s wrap this up. Despite the comparison at the beginning of this blog, finding a job takes far more work than putting on clothes. Consider using some of the ideas above. Your search will take patience, persistence, organization, and the proper use of strategy.
Don’t give up! Don’t get discouraged! Remember, you have put in the time and work and you are well trained. Don’t let this home stretch scare you into giving up. If you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and work, the right medical coding job IS out there!