Catching the attention of a human resources representative or department manager can be difficult. Without experience in the field, it can be hard to demonstrate your abilities and potential. How can you increase the likelihood that your job application gets forwarded to the radiation oncology department and ultimately leads to an interview?
There are several ways to help ensure that your application is not discarded immediately. Most importantly, be sure to read the application carefully and fill it out entirely. Furthermore, if graduation from a certain program or certification is required for the position, consider your options before answering. In some cases, applications are automatically discarded if you do not meet the requirements. Graduation or certification status at the time of starting employment is what matters to employers. If you are graduating or taking the MDCB board examination soon, you may wish to mark yes and provide an explanation if possible. However, never intentionally be dishonest or misleading on your application. Another good option would be to call the human resources department and explain your answer so your application is considered.
Another challenge for new graduates is lack of experience. If this is the case, expand on the clinical experience that you do have by providing detailed examples. Additionally, you may wish to include past work experience, volunteer experience, or research projects that have contributed to your professional skillset. Achievements and awards also demonstrate meaningful clinical experience however brief.
Employers receive dozens of applications so ensuring that yours is received and considered is your own responsibility. The first step is contacting human resources to be sure they received your application. Whether this is done through the phone or email, it is also a good time to thank them for their consideration, ask questions about the employer or position, or even ask for contact information for the hiring manager. If you know how to contact the hiring manager, contact them to ask questions, provide reasons why you are a good fit for the position, and demonstrate your eagerness and professionalism. If you do not know how to contact the hiring manager, use your colleagues to help get your name mentioned.
Interviewing as a new graduate can be especially nerve-racking for several reasons. Firstly, you may not have a lot of interviewing experience. To help with this, practicing and rehearsing is extremely valuable. A great resource for AAMD members is InterviewStream, which allows users to rehearse interview questions specific to dosimetry and receive feedback on a recording. Practicing alone or with a classmate may also be helpful. Preparing thoughts for common interview questions can help tremendously. Although you do not want to memorize answers and sound rehearsed, if you have already thought about your strengths, weaknesses, and how you will contribute to the department your answer will flow more naturally and have more meaning.
A second struggle for new graduates during the interviewing process is the lack of professional experience. Limited experience is likely to be brought up during the interview, so it is important to think about how you can use this topic to highlight professional strengths. For example, you may not have experience as an employed dosimetrist, but you have diverse clinical experience during training, pick up on new workflows quickly, or are very eager to continually learn. You may also want to mentally prepare a bank of experiences that demonstrate your skills. Although you may have limited time in the field, if you can use many meaningful examples of your accomplishments, it speaks volumes of your abilities. Some helpful examples to have prepared may be: when you worked well in a team, handled a difficult situation, creatively solved a problem, or were an effective leader. Although not specific to new graduates, remember to thank your interviewers.