TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Modern-day job searching in the senior living industry starts with development of a personal brand. You need a good online presence in the form of a website or networking profile and you need an elevator speech, business cards, and yes, a résumé. Some argue that the résumé is on its way out. In our experience, the résumé’s role has simply changed from being the primary means of landing a job to being one of several vital tools in your job-search toolbox. Successful job seekers use the résumé to pique an employer’s interest, while using online/social media profiles and interviews to convey more detailed information.
MAKE FAST WORK
Those looking for MDS coordinator jobs have to communicate a lot of information quickly. Most résumés are given only six seconds of attention before being tossed or placed in the “take a closer look” pile. In some companies, résumés are screened by a computer using applicant tracking system software. So, if it takes more than six seconds to get to the good stuff, or if your résumé doesn’t contain the right key words, into the bin it will go.
HAVE YOUR ATTENTION
Make a splashy résumé entrance by highlighting the accomplishments in your current position first. How have you improved care plans and compliance? Describe how your leadership has affected patient care (for the better!), and use actual statistics whenever possible. How many staff do you supervise, and how have you contributed to their training? How have Five Star, Quality Measures, and Quality Reporting improved under your supervision? Include reduced survey deficiencies during your tenure. Use hard data whenever possible to give a real-world value to words like “improved,” “increased,” and “decreased.”
BRING IT HOME
After you’ve got their attention with how much of an asset you’ve been to your current employer, reel them in further by showing yourself to be qualified, capable, and most importantly, well rounded. Highlighting critical thinking skills is a must, as is demonstrating an understanding of how all the various aspects of the job tie together and affect each other. Too vague? Let’s get specific. Are you:
· Leading Utilization Review meetings to ensure accurate coverage under the Medicare program and insurance companies?
· Staying up to date by participating in CMS-offered educational webinars and conference calls?
· Ensuring that a robust Triple Check process occurs at least monthly?
· Developing individualized, person-centered care plans?
· Teaching and training staff members on documenting ADL care, daily nursing care, behaviors, etc.?
· Maximizing reimbursement by capturing accurate care levels?
· Organizing and participating in care plans and family meetings?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, it’s time to add these to your résumé. Include metrics whenever possible and stack the content with keywords specific to an MDS coordinator position.
TRIM YOUR SAILS
After you’ve hit them with your successes and accomplishments, and impressed them with your well-rounded approach to the job, then you can add in additional training (RAC-CT certification), educational background, professional association memberships, and job history. Avoid clichés (“people pleaser,” “out-of-the-box thinker”) and extras such as hobbies or volunteer activities (better that these go on your online profile). Even résumé standards such as “Objective” can be cut. Trim off anything unnecessary, even the word “phone” in front of your phone number.
And remember, employers don’t want candidates who just do MDS; they want invested candidates who will take ownership of patient care and contribute to the bottom line of the facility. Convey that you are that type of candidate, and your résumé will be put in the “take a closer look” pile. After that, some of the other tools in your job-search toolbox come into play, such as your online profile and interview skills. If you’re just at the beginning of this process and feel a little overwhelmed, or simply have more questions, a healthcare recruiter can help you get started finding your perfect job.
Scott Heichel, RN, RAC-MT, DNS-CT, CIC, QCP, and Director of Clinical Reimbursement for LeaderStat, is a member of AANAC’s Expert Advisory Panel, is recognized as a Master Teacher for AANAC’s RAC-CT MDS certification courses, and sits on the board as the Vice President of OANAC (Ohio Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators).
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