Laureen: Definitely. Okay, so now we’re going to move on to this question: finding the first coding job, how to land & keep a coding job. We’ve talked about this before a little differently, but I’ll let you go ahead and start this one off, Alicia. I know this one is near and dear to your heart.
Alicia: Yes, it is. And this is when I was teaching at a college, this is something that they stressed. And at CCO, we don’t want to just educate you in coding and assist you to pass the exam. We want to be there for you after you get your job. We want you to come back to us as your subject matter experts and be available to help you get CEUs as well.
So, that first job, it’s all about networking, who you know. You’ve heard people say that in the past. You could be the most experienced coder in the world, but, that may not land you that job because Suzy Green over here met Sally White who works for a specific doctor and they know each other, they know their personalities, they know their commitment. And so therefore, who do you think is going to go to the top of the list, because you have a personal reference to go by. That is going to be very important.
How are you going to network? You’re going to go to your local chapter meetings, you’re going to get involved, you’re going to let them see your personality and your passion for what you’re doing and your desire to learn, that’s going to help you get a job.
Also, networking on social media is important but you have to be very careful when you’re hunting for a job. You know, you’re not going to find a job on Facebook. Employers are going to look at your Fa
cebook, so be careful with that. But you need to be on professional sites like LinkedIn. If you’re looking for a remote job, that’s where you’re going to want to be.
You’re going to want a professional profile and you’re going to want keywords. If you don’t know the proper keywords to help you for an area that you want to specialize in, then ask your subject matter experts or people in your local chapter and say “I’m really interested in risk adjustment and I want to get that remote job that I hear people talk about. What do I need to do to my LinkedIn profile to help me catch the attention of the–” I call them headhunters but they’re recruiters, “the recruiters out there.” Because they’re everywhere, and remember, you want to network with those recruiters because they may not have a job for you at this time but, they’re constantly working with companies to fill seats and you want to make sure that you’re available.
So, ask them: “What are the keywords you’re looking for? I’m interested in outpatient surgery.” Or, “I’m really good at radiology. This is something that I enjoy a lot. What do I need to do to meet the criteria for the positions that you’re wanting to fill?” That’s very important. So the #1 thing is networking, in my opinion.
Laureen: And in our freebies section, we have a free e-book. Let’s see where it is here. Right here. Get Your First Job In Medical Coding. What’s really great about this, you just fill out your name and click it and you can download it. It’s an e-book.
We commissioned a writer to go and interview billing companies, physician’s office, hospitals, anyone that had ads out looking for a coder to find out what was it about a cover letter that would get them to look at the resume; what was it about the resume that would get them to consider them for an interview; what was it at the interview that would consider them for a job, all with the understanding that this person is newly certified/no experience. So, it’s a really good read.
The biggest takeaway – I’ve shared this many times before – is a custom cover letter. When they see cookie-cutter cover letters come in, you know, it’s kind of like a point system if you think about it. Maybe there’s, you know, one position and they have a hundred applications come in. They have to come up with a sifting and sorting process. And every manager is different. They can do it however they want. But, it’s just like kind of a credit score. There are certain things they look at – how long have you been at your current job, how long have you been in your current house. And there are factors that will bring your score up or down. So, for job hunting, you want to bring that score up as much as possible. You can’t change anything about your experience unless you’re going to lie, and you don’t want to do that. So what you can change is the cover letter and make it pop, make it be custom. If the ad in the newspaper uses specific words, get those words in your cover letter. Mention the hospital by name or the facility that you’re applying for the job with.
And nowadays, with computers and how easy it is to print stuff, you can actually do a custom resume for each job you apply for and in that, there’s normally a little beginning paragraph now, objectives or something like that, have it sound similar to how it’s worded in the ad and so when they read it, like, “Oh, they almost seem like they’re custom fit for us.” Oh yeah, you made it be that way. So, all of course with being honest. So check that book out and consider really looking at your resume and your cover letter.
Alicia: I would another thing about that too is, research where you’re applying for. You’re going to look and see what they’re looking for, but if it’s a specific facility that you want to work for, find out how many bed facility it is, find out what specialties they deal with. Is it a really well-known cardiology center? Do they have an excellent ER? You know, things that will trigger in your mind because when you get that first interview, you want to be articulate about the facility. And the same thing in working for a provider, find out where they went to school. You can find their profiles everywhere. You know, if they went to the University of Missouri, then look into the University of Missouri, you know, they’re the Tigers. Find out that, you know, when you sit down, “Were you involved in sports while you were there? I heard the Tigers had a really good year the last few years.” Their alma mater, you know, they will remember you, and that’s key.
Laureen: Yeah. And that’s another point too is, in your cover letter you could say “I would love to work at ABC Facility. It’s because my mother worked there as a nurse” or any personal connection you can make. And it just makes you more human when they’re reading it instead of you being like in the sea of resumes. So, okay. These should be great starting points towards landing and keeping your next medical coding job.
The “How to Find and Keep Your First Medical Coding Job” video originally aired on Live with Laureen #009.