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.