How to Land Your First Job as a Physiotherapist
Congrats! You officially graduated, got your license/registration and now… it’s time to enter the real world. How do you know where to look for your first job as a physiotherapist? What kind of setting do you want to be in? What should you look for in a job advert? The questions can feel endless! It can be a very scary, overwhelming, and intimidating process. But it’s a process that YOU need to take charge of. This blog will help you do just that!
Writing a resume
Let’s backtrack for a second. Before you apply for your dream job – and land it of course – you’re going to need a killer resume. If you’re having trouble with formatting and cleaning it up, get some resume tips here. The best way to stand out is to make it clear, concise and unique to you.
Bonus tip: You don’t need to squish it all on one page, talk about those clinical experiences!
I encourage you to have someone read over your resume. You can also reach out to your program or your schools career counselors who will assist in resume writing specific to your profession/career. Remember, resumes should vary depending on your field and profession, so find the right help!
Where to find jobs
After you have your resume all set, you’re ready to apply for jobs. But how, where? I recommend looking at ALL of the websites: Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, in addition to the specific locations’ websites. You can also see more job specific insights on those other platforms such as what people think about working there, salaries, requirements, etc. Pay attention to job listing specifics! Some may have the schedule or hours they are looking to fill, productivity requirements or frankly, they may have nothing; but make sure you know what you’re applying for (especially before a job interview).
What to look for in a job advert
Here’s a list of some of the things to look for in a job advert:
- Review the job description and responsibilities
- Review the clinic – check out their website; see if it looks like somewhere you’d like to work
- Does it specifically state the number of hours needed, and what hours are these? Does that suit your schedule?
- What is the caseload? (this can be different per person and setting) – are patients every 30 min or 1 hour; what are the productivity standards?
- What is the remuneration situation? Even if the pay rate is not stated, it should at least make clear if pay is based off an hourly rate, base plus commission, commission only, etc
- Continuing education / CPD – What opportunities / allowances are there here?
- Will there be mentoring, and what will this entail? – Don’t just ask if they have it but ask what the set up or process actually entails, e.g. inservices, journal clubs, etc.
Everyone’s timeline is going to be different and you have to remember this process is unique and specific to you. This is going to be the start of your career and you need to do what is best, for you. Some of you in America may be taking your board exam pre graduation, some soon after or some months later like I did (thank you New York).
Because of this, you need to be aware of deadlines and when you want to start. Job applications will be open at various points in the spring for Americans because of those anticipating graduation. However, some jobs may be open for applicants who can start right away. Always be transparent in the process so yourself and the employer know what you are looking for. If you’re lucky enough and are a great candidate, they may just wait for you to get your degree, licensure, etc and hold the position for you. So don’t feel like you can’t start reaching out until you have your degree in your hands!
Beyond the Resume
After submitting your resume, the waiting period begins. For bigger corporations, you may receive a preliminary phone call from HR – often something short with a few questions about yourself. Others may call you to schedule an interview right away. I encourage you to be persistent. If time passes by and you don’t hear anything, reach out, take initiative and show your interest.
Bonus tip: If you have the chance to, shadow a clinician at the workplace you’re interested in before or after your interview. It’s a great way to get to talk to other employees and get a feel for the vibe of the environment.
To find a comprehensive list of questions to ask in an interview and what to look for in an offer, click here & download everything you need to know under “Your First Job”.
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