4 Tips to Help OTs Land A Job In Pelvic Health Without Years of Experience
OTs find themselves in a chicken and egg type problem that usually goes like this:
OT: “Hi Hiring Manager I’d like to get a job in Pelvic Health:
Hiring Manager: “Great, do you have any experience?”
OT: No, but I’m hard working, smart, great with clients and with this posiition I’ll get the experience I need.”
Hiring Manager: “We need someone with experience.”
OT: “How do I get experience without a job?”
Hiring Manager (avoids eye contact and ends the conversation awkwardly)
This is a common complaint I hear from other OTs just breaking into Pelvic Health. This runs the gambit from new OTs to OTs with many years of experience in another speciality.
The questions I usually get are something like this:
- “How do I get a job as an OT in Pelvic Health”?
- “If the job post is for a PT, how do I convince the hiring manager to hire an OT”?
- “Why do hiring managers think OTs only work with hands”?
- “I’m so tired of answering the question if we only help people back to their job. Can you help?”
Okay, so I made that last one up but OTs everywhere feel this pain!
When I first started in Pelvic Health I had to get incredibly creative to get my first job. Many of the gatekeepers were only looking for PTs to fill the role and so I had a double whammy of things not going for me: I was an OT and I didn’t have experience.
So, if you find yourself in this situation, how do you overcome these challenges and land your dream job?
Well, I did overcome these challenges and the tips I’m sharing with you are those I wished someone had shared with me.
The 3rd tip below is something that would’ve fundamentally changed my experience and is something I share now with all my OT Pioneer students.
Tip 1: Beware The Gatekeeper – Find The Decision Maker
There is a reason they say the best do the basics better. Once you see a posting you need to quickly determine who the key decision makers are. Often, the contact name listed in job advertisements isn’t the actual hiring manager.
Who is often listed in the job post? That would be the gatekeeper (this could be Human Resources in a big hospital or a front desk employee doing multiple duties in a small clinic).
That means they are there to screen out people before the actual hiring manager sees your resume.
Getting past the gatekeeper is absolutely key. The central problem many times is that often the gatekeeper may not themselves know a lot about the role or qualifications needed for the role and reject otherwise qualified candidates (don’t let that be you!)
If the role is just advertised for a PT and you apply as an OT then likely the gatekeeper will just turn you down as you don’t have the credentials they were told to look for blindly.
This is where research becomes your friend. Your mission is to find the actual hiring manager. You know, the one who would actually be hiring you and working with you each day.
How do you do this? There’s a variety of ways. Do you know anyone else who works there? If so, ask them who is doing the actual hiring.
Don’t know anyone who works there? Then do some investigation on social media. Who is working at that practice or hospital in a similar role? Using Linkedin this type of research is quite easy.
Social media not working? Check their website (especially for non-hospital based settings) and see who is listed to determine who may be the hiring manager.
Website didn’t work? Try calling the practice and asking politely to the front desk “I’m applying for XYZ position, could you tell me who the hiring manager is?” Many times they will just tell you!
The point here is to not get stuck and think creatively. With a little bit of work you will know who is actually the decision maker in the hiring decision which will allow you to focus your outreach much better.
Tip 2: Talk The Language of the Hiring Manager (Successful OTs in Pelvic Health do this!)
One of the reasons OTs excel at Pelvic Health is our emphatic nature. This allows us to really understand what our pelvic floor clients are experiencing and put ourselves into their shoes. This allows us to connect more easily to our clients, build trust and rapport, and ultimately help them get the results they desire.
Well, the key is to point this emphatic nature towards the hiring manager.
Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes.
What concerns do they have?
What is the current environment they are hiring in which may affect/influence who they want to hire?
What do they really want from this new employee?
This last question is critical. Yes, there will be the surface level things such as qualifications, communication skills, etc. But look past all these surface level things.
Hiring managers want someone who is passionate about getting results for their clients. They are enthusiastic about their work. They are creative problem solvers who can think on their feet and not get flustered when a new problem presents itself.
If you don’t have years of experience under your belt, these are the attributes you should be showcasing to the hiring manager.
How do you do this? Enter the OT Showcase Resume.
Tip 3: Build Your OT Showcase Resume
The OT Showcase Resume is your key to getting a job as an OT in Pelvic Health with little to no experience. It will be the thing that sets you apart from all other competition. It will be the thing that shows your passion, creativity and problem solving skills to the hiring manager.
It shows you are resourceful.
An OT Showcase Resume allows you to reframe the problem of having “no experience” into an asset.
A standard resume is just a 2 dimensional piece of paper which shows where you worked and what you did.
An OT Showcase Resume demonstrates your capabilities.
What exactly is an OT Showcase Resume?
An OT Showcase Resume is something you build by taking your career into your own hands and not waiting for “experience” to get started.
An OT Showcase Resume pushes you to get the most out of what you have and know.
Building an OT Showcase Resume starts when you realize that you can get “experience” outside of a traditional job which you can showcase.
Assuming you’ve already taken introductory course in Pelvic Health (if not, check out OT Pioneers to get started) then there is no reason you can’t:
- Perform an internal exam on yourself, document your notes from it, and “prescribe” exercises
- Work with a friend or family member having pelvic health issues, document your evaluation, come up with a treatment protocol and document the entire thing as a case study. Work with more than one and present all of them!
- Create your own bowel and bladder diary, chart the results, and document changes
- Film a small “library” of pelvic health supporting exercises and categorize them according to conditions you’d use with clients.
What else can you think to do? The point here is to absolutely 100% get creative and resourceful.
There is actually a lot you can do as someone with “no experience” to stand out even from those with 10yrs experience but maybe lost their passion along the way.
Demonstrate this level of passion, creativity and resourcefulness to the hiring manager and you will be remarkable and your lack of experience won’t mean nearly as much as you think it does.
Tip 4: Handle Objections Gracefully
It pays to be ready for the objections you will face in your job search. These objections will typically center on 2 items: being an OT and/or having not enough experience.
A lot of people get intimidated when thinking about the hiring manager asking about these items. Their hands start to get clammy and they get a small sweat just thinking that these questions are going to come up.
But, let’s reframe these questions for a minute. You can use these “difficult” questions as a way to build trust with the hiring manager. You can handle them gracefully, tactfully and in a manner that builds rapport with the hiring manager.
How do you do this? By not becoming defensive, owning it and having a carefully rehearsed answer you feel confident with.
What does this look like? How about this:
Hiring Manager: “I see you are an OT. We are really only looking to fill this role with a PT as I’m not sure an OT is a good fit.”
OT: “I can understand your concern. Many of my OT colleagues have also had hiring managers express similar concerns in the past. What those hiring managers found though was that OTs really excel at pelvic health due to our training in mental health, our focus on activities of daily living (sexuality, toileting, etc. are so critical) and that both PTs and OTs really get their specialized training AFTER graduate school by attending the same courses. This has really led to an awakening within pelvic health that the biopsychosocial approach is needed for our clients. I think if you give me a chance you will find the same to be true here in this practice and I’m 100% ready to serve our clients.”
Or, if the question is about your lack of experience then you can turn this around with your OT Showcase Resume like this:
Hiring Manager: “Tell me why I should hire you when you don’t have any experience. I just don’t think we can dedicate the resources and time right now to train you.”
OT: “You are correct that my experience is limited. But this is a field that I’m 100% committed to and passionate about. In fact, even those with limited experience can do something. And so, I could’ve let my limited experience hold me back, or I could turn things around and be resourceful and ask myself how to gain experience with what I have in front of me. And that’s what I did with my Showcase Resume that I shared with you. I am not waiting for an opportunity to be handed to me. I am focused on demonstrating ahead of time the value I can provide and how resourceful I can be. I will bring this same level of resourcefulness to the team whether that’s to find creative ways to have the staff help train me without it taking a ton of time or finding creative ways to work with our clients.”
When you reframe the difficult question being asked to you and use it as a way to build trust with the hiring manager, while genuinely expressing your skills and interest, then you create a connection that experience alone won’t.
So, when you are looking for a job as an OT in Pelvic Health these 4 tips will enable you to stand out from the rest of the pack and accelerate your career.
P.S. — Are you an OT interested in a career in Pelvic Health? You could spend years practicing pelvic health to discover “insider tips.” Or you could watch this FREE six part series by some of the best in the field. Grab your free interviews here.