The occupational therapy job market always seems like a minefield filled with advice, either good or bad. It can seem difficult to manage and leverage offers against one another. Whether you’re seeking a different place of employment, or trying to secure a new job and a fresh start, be assured that therapy jobs are still among the highest professions in stability, salary, and sustainability. Occupational therapy jobs are more recession-proof than other jobs, which is an asset to qualified job seekers. Even with the career-seeking head start, this guide will help you secure better jobs, negotiate longer contracts, secure employment, and find multiple opportunities in this lucrative field.
Join an Association
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is an absolute must to gain access to some of the features of being part of a community of occupational therapists.
This association is the comprehensive source for all things related to this industry. Being a part of an association has its benefits, but it’s not just about scouring the job markets. The AOTA publishes industry-specific statistics and articles, offers specific advice about licensing and education resources as well as numerous other resources. They post available jobs on their nation-wide job forum OTJobLink, which has hundreds of listings across the country.
Consider using an association in different ways to gain the upper hand on new occupational therapy jobs. Associations have listings for conferences and events related to the occupational therapy field. Getting to these events is a must for networking amongst your peers. It’s also a boon for learning about new job opportunities that aren’t listed on other online job boards.
Continue Your Education
You might think your education is done, but there are many specialized areas that you can focus on. Continuing your education allows you to develop new skills and gain new certifications that you can add to your résumé. This looks good to employers that are looking for someone who can cover multiple duties and handle a variety of tasks. If you have one more qualification than your competitor, that’s often enough to get the upper hand for a new position.
It’s not just about gaining new skills, as valuable as that might be. Your clinical instructor is one of your best resources for new positions and opportunities. Because they work with healthcare administrators, they have first-hand knowledge about new occupational therapy jobs. Unlike high school, it actually pays to become friends with your teacher on this occasion.
Update Your Résumé for the Ideal Occupational Therapy Job
You may have heard that it’s important to keep your records up to date, but you may not have done it in a while, so it’s worth repeating. You could have gained new skills or certifications that aren’t listed on your résumé. You need to fully represent your best skills to the employers. These days, sending out résumés isn’t enough. Consider what type of job you’re after. Do you want to work in a hospital? Update your résumé to reflect your ability to be resourceful and adaptable as they are skills that come in handy for hospitals. Do you want to eventually run your own private practice? Use words like “long-term” and “career” to push that angle.
Seek a Chance for Growth
Don’t assume that the best jobs are always a step up. You might have your eye on a workplace or practice that you would love to be part of, but the job they offer is a step down. Consider these jobs as a chance to grow. If your current place of employment is stagnant and not allowing any advancement, a step back in a new job could lead to several advancement opportunities in the future.
Always seek out a mentor from whom you can learn. The smartest people with the best opportunities always make it a point to continue learning. That’s why top tennis players and Olympic athletes still have coaches, because they value someone who can help them to continually grow. Don’t pass up a new occupational therapy job just because the pay grade isn’t ideal. You might not get the immediate pay raise you desire, but having better opportunities is worth more than a slightly higher salary.
Don’t Sit Around and Wait
Don’t assume the best job opportunities are going to come to you, even if an opening is in your current healthcare system. The most sought-after jobs are found by those who are active in their job search, make cold calls, send out résumés, attend job fairs, contact potential employers, research new settings and network. Whether someone has taken the time to place an ad for new occupational therapy jobs or not, everyone is looking for talented professionals. Every clinic seeks out qualified staff who can show determination and resolve. All employers are open to new therapists who are not only qualified and certified, but personable, friendly, and competent. Everyone is amenable to the idea of new and better talent. With that mindset, don’t wait for the next job posting. Get ahead of the pack by keeping all your relationships open with education centers, instructors, former clinics and administrations.
Occupational therapy is still in the nation’s most desirable fields of employment, and there will always be positions open for the right individual. It’s best to keep this in mind when looking for new occupational therapy jobs. Remember this: be the best viable candidate out there. Assume that luck or favor isn’t on your side, but that you will get that new job with drive and determination.