Yahoo! Education just came out with the “Eight Hot Careers to Watch in 2013” which - I am so very pleased to announce – named Medical Assistant as the NUMBER 1 hot career to watch this year!
I am rather excited about it because not only is our medical assisting program available on our Pittsfield, Albany, and NYC Mildred Elley campuses, but we offer two versions of medical assisting, both Clinical Medical Assistant and Medical Office Assistant. The Albany and NYC campuses even offer Associates’ Degrees in Medical Assisting.
Medical Office Assistants tend to do more of the administrative work in running a medical office. They tend to handle tasks like making appointments, answering phones, calling in prescriptions for doctor’s and handling insurance billing. Sometimes they even handle transcription of a physician’s dictations. Typing skills are crucial for this position.
A Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) on the other hand usually greets the patient, handles the taking of vital signs, updating charts and making sure exam rooms are prepared properly. Other duties a CMA may perform could include drawing blood, performing EKGs.
After doing a little more digging, I discovered that the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook says that “Employment is expected to grow by 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will stem from physicians hiring more medical assistants to do routine administrative and clinical duties so that physicians can see more patients.”
Training to become a medical assistant takes about a year if you want to graduate with a certificate, or you can go for 4 more months and complete the Medical Assisting Associate’s Degree.
If Medical Assisting sounds like a career that might be for you check out Mildred Elley’s Medical Assisting Page where you can download a brochure and contact an admissions representative to talk about Medical Assisting as a career.
So you’ve got the interpersonal skills down, you’re willing to kick your work ethic into high gear, you landed the interview, now what are you going to wear?
The Suit: Go classic, not trendy. Exception to the rule, cosmetology grads should definitely dress to the 9s in the latest trends. Do research on the company, don’t go in blind. Can’t afford the perfect interview suit? Check out Suit Yourself, in Pittsfield MA which offers suits, and better yet, fashion advice for those ready for job interviews. Also a quick side note, for women that wear a suit with a skirt the overwhelming vote is YES wear pantyhose.
The Shirt: For the guys, choose a conservative button down shirt and tie, yes, you have to wear a tie. And flannel doesn’t count as a button down. Ladies, do not show your cleavage. Please! Save that for clubbing. If you are wearing a classic suit, you shouldn’t have to worry about your bra straps showing, but for cosmetology students, if you go trendy, do the shake test with your outfit to make sure your undergarments don’t slip into view. Don’t forget to check your waistline in the back!
Grooming: For guys, please shave or trim that beard and get a haircut! The objective is neat and tidy. If you don’t take time to practice basic hygiene, what are you going to do with my TPS reports? Also cut your fingernails and scrub your hands clean, no dirt under those fingernails please! Ladies, 80’s big hair is out. There, I said it. If you want to keep the hair big and fluffy for your personal life, put it up in a bun. Again the goal is neat and tidy.
Portfolio: Don’t bring it in a manila folder, notebook or other halfhearted attempt at assembly. I want to see something you take pride in, with beautiful organization. Yes, how you organize your portfolio will tell if you have those organizational skills I want.
Makeup: Go conservative. Again, Cos grads are always the exception to the rule. For business and medical fields, a little goes a long way. Use daytime eyeshadow, maybe a little lipstick and you’re good. Be cautious with mascara, if you tend to touch your eyes or you could sweat, it may run. Yuck! Oh and lay off the glitter! Also, If you can cover your tattoos, give it your best try. You may love them, but it’s the hiring manager’s opinion that counts.
Shoes: This is tricky for women, for guys it’s easy: don’t wear white socks or sneakers, make sure that your shoes are polished and don’t have holes in them. For women, flats or pumps with a reasonably low heel. Don’t go for the stilettos, shoes with lots of bling, sneakers, flip-flops, or Uggs.
Perfume: If your interviewer has to hit her inhaler because of the perfume you over-used to cover up the smoke smell, that’s a bad sign. This may sound weird, but have a friend smell you. Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to smell yourself if you are used to it!
And one final word of advice, do a test run in your outfit. Sit down, stand up, bend over and make sure everything stays where it should. If you still aren’t comfortable or confident, come on in to the Office of Career Services at Mildred Elley. They are the experts and can help you get that job!
You've landed the perfect job, now keep it!
In this economy, jobs are on the scarce side. This means that people are competing for your job even if the position is filled with your shoes! If you've got a job that you like, pays the bills, and has room for advancement, let's make sure you keep your job and keep that resume growing.
I own my own business, actually I own two, and I work for an established company with hundreds of employees. I figure that gives me a pretty unique perspective on the inner workings of companies. One of the things I want to share is that the number one thing we want out of our employees (and our Mildred Elley Students) is work ethic.
So what exactly IS work ethic? According to Chron.com, “A strong work ethic is vital to a company achieving its goals. Every employee, from the CEO to entry-level workers, must have a good work ethic to keep the company functioning at its peak. A work ethic is a set of moral principles an employee uses in her job. Certain factors come together to create a strong work ethic.”
- Go Above and Beyond – Some employees do just the bare minimum to keep their jobs. When times are good, these people can skate by, but they won’t be getting any raises or promotions. If you have a strong work ethic, you will take pride in your work, and do the best you can, proving yourself to be an invaluable employee. Be the person that everyone goes to for help. This will make you indispensable to the company.
- Responsibility – Make deadlines and meet them. When you’ve got a deadline to make, make it. Work late or come in early if you have to. Avoid “time wasters” such as Facebook, chatting at the water cooler, gossiping, long lunches, too many smoke or coffee breaks. I know a few people who manage to look extremely busy, but get nothing done.
- Teamwork – Have you ever experienced working with someone that doesn’t pull their own weight? This person often takes credit for work that her team member completed. Don’t be that person. If you are dealing with this type of person, make sure that you complete the work for the good of the company, but then make sure that your boss knows you did the work, not the dead beat.
- Get Healthy – This may seem beyond your control, but people that constantly call in sick aren’t helpful to a company. Get plenty of sleep, eat properly, quit smoking, lay off the caffeine, exercise, and for those occasions when you are really sick and contagious, stay home! Don’t take out the entire office with germs, especially if you have the ability to work from home.
- Customer Service – In recent years we have been talking about internal customer service. This is being able to work effectively with your fellow co-workers. Is there anyone that you dread dealing with? This person has bad internal customer service skills! Make sure you aren’t the one that grumbles when people ask for help!
At Mildred Elley, our Career Services Department tries to teach our students about communication skills and work ethics. We call them “Soft Skills.” These are skills that are hard to learn. Unless you’ve grown up with these soft skills drummed into your head, it can be hard to acquire them. It’s almost like changing your personality! But, if you can become that person who has great interpersonal skills and a good work ethic, you’ll have a great chance of getting hired and keeping that job.
A while ago I was listening to a Mildred Elley graduate lament to several of us about not being able to land a job. She graduated with A’s and B’s in her classes and had great technical skills. Unfortunately, she kept getting passed over for a job. On paper she was fully qualified, not a single typo on her beautifully formatted professional resume and a cover letter to die for and landed interview after interview.
So why no job offer? To everyone else in the room it was obvious—her interpersonal skills needed some work! To put it bluntly, she was a whiner. So how do YOU make sure you have great interpersonal communication skills so you can nail that job interview? Here are my top five ideas:
1.) Whining is a huge turn-off to employers. Other examples of turn-offs are arrogance, entitlement, rudeness, lack of punctuality, defensiveness and dishonesty (yes, interviewers can tell if you are lying). The hard part is figuring out if YOU do any of these. What you say may sound just fine in your head, but what other people hear may be completely different. Video tape yourself to make sure that you don’t have any of these traits. Mildred Elley’s Career Services Department conducts mock interviews for our students and graduates. This is the perfect time to put that cell phone camera to use. When our mock interviewers give you feedback, you can pull up the video and see exactly what they mean. When you play it back, make sure you occasionally smile. Look at your body posture, are you open? Or do you keep your arms crossed over your chest? Listen carefully to your voice… Is it pleasant? Or does it sound like you’re taking on the DMV?
2.) The ability to use the English language is critical. When a candidate says “Me and so and so…” I finish up the interview quickly and give that person the “Thanks, we’ll be in touch” speech. When a person doesn’t use proper grammar, it sends a signal to the interviewer that the candidate isn’t professional. So how do you fix your language skills if they are subpar? The web has tons of self-help sites. Just do a search for “Improve your grammar skills.” I bet there’s even an app for that!
3.) Before I hire someone, I like to test their written communication skills via email. Lots of times those perfect resumes are proofread and fixed by someone else. My favorite test is to have the candidate attach something to that email, such as a references list. When they send it over, I’m looking for a properly written email that followed my directions to the letter. This is a way to test a job candidate’s ability to read, understand and follow directions. I also want to see “Dear Ms. Brothers: Attached is the list of references you requested. Sincerely, Jane Doe.” not “Hey, here’s that list u wanted.” I want an employee that can be counted on to be professional. I bet lots of other people do too!
4.) Turn off your cellphone in the parking lot. I know it sounds obvious, but candidates are often using their cell phones in the waiting area. It’s not the fact that they use their phones that is the issue, but think about what that does to their posture. Head down, shoulders slumped, what kind of impression does that leave on a potential employer? Turning your phone off also prevents interruptions. If you leave it on vibrate, and it buzzes through your whole interview, is that employer going to assume you’ll be dedicated to you position or is he or she going to think you have a whole lot of drama in your life?
5.) Let me round this out with a discussion about Social Media. It sort of falls more in a mass communications category rather than an interpersonal one, but before you even think of applying for a job, do a quick search on your name. We used to call this “Ego-Surfing” but now it’s more of an essential. Find out everything there is out there on the web about you and make sure there isn’t anything that can be construed as unprofessional. You’ll be amazed at how savvy employers are at summing up a candidate just from an internet search. Make sure your results paint a professional picture.
I welcome constructive comments and other tips for job searchers and students alike - a rousing discussion is good for the brain! Let me know what you think about the article, or any ideas for future articles. Make sure you subscribe to the Mildred Elley blog to stay up-to-date on future articles!
Classes at Mildred Elley have been cancelled today in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. To keep updated on our current status, visit our homepage at www.mildred-elley.edu.
In the meantime, here’s a quick list of ideas to stay safe during the storm.
- Secure any objects that can blow away. Don’t forget about the Halloween decorations.
- Put fuel in your vehicle. If you lose power, the gas station most likely will too!
- Get enough cash for a week or so. Credit and debit cards won’t work if electricity or phone lines are down.
- Get a hard copy of emergency phone numbers. If the power goes out for a while you may not be able to access them from your cell phone if it loses a charge.
- Back up your data on your computers. If the power goes out and you forget to unplug them, when it comes back on there could be a power surge…on second thought just unplug your computers! But do back up anyway, just to be on the safe side.
- Also if your computers are in an area in danger of flooding, move them to higher ground. Computers and water DO NOT mix.
- If you use a generator, make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors, and be careful.
- Pack your freezers full. The fuller they are, the longer things will stay cold.
- Do your laundry. Clean clothes are a surprising thing you can’t live without!
- Take a quick trip to the pharmacy. You don’t want to be without your medications if the pharmacy loses power.
- Fill the gas tank in your grill, but DO NOT cook inside with it.
- Fill your bathtubs with water and get a toilet flushing bucket. Don’t forget to have drinking water on hand as well.
- Create a power outage boredom survival kit; get decks of cards, checkers, board games, anything you can think of to keep the kids occupied. When the power is out, you can curl up with a good text book and get some studying done! Don’t forget to get batteries for your flashlights.
- Make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked.
- The Red Cross has released a Hurricane App. “Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do.” Visit http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/hurricane-app for more details.
What other ideas can you think of to make it easier to ride out the storm?
Being a student is stressful on your schedule, yes, but it can also be stressful on your bank account. The more time you spend in classes and studying means less time working. Which means less money. This temporary sacrifice is just that, however. Temporary. With your career training you will be more prepared to enter the workplace and earn a living wage to support yourself and your family.
But what do you do in the meantime?
Here are some helpful tips for pinching pennies from around the interwebs.
How much money do you spend on TV and cable services? There are more and more options every day for watching your favorite shows for a lot less money. Watch out for introductory pricing through cable companies and satellite providers. The initial cost could be minimal, but 6 months down the road your bill has grown without you even realizing it. What are some of your other options? This blog post can help you out. I recommend the Roku, too!
Textbooks can be really expensive. Have you considered sharing books with other students? Ask a student who has gone through the course before you to lend you her books. Also keep in mind the sellback value of your books as well. Companies like Amazon.com and BIGWORDS.com will often offer cash or store credit for used textbooks. Check them out!
Food and Gas:
Of course there are tons of ways to save money on the two great necessities of life: food and gas. Find 13 great ideas here, an article from CBS News. The first and most obvious move would be to combine the two, and choose a supermarket where you earn reward points that can be put towards your gas bill. Also: make sure you are clipping coupons when you can. It can be an added hassle, but if you save even $10 a week on groceries, that's $40 you have to spend somewhere else. Also, make sure you're not eating out every day. That will cause problems in your wallet as well as in your digestive track. Skip the fast food and make yourself an egg sandwich in your kitchen in the morning instead.
If childcare is an issue, try to team up with other parents and family members to trade babysitting duties. If a friend has a different schedule than you do, offer to watch each other's children and save money on a babysitter. Mildred Elley offers day, evening and weekend programs designed to allow you to cater your schedule to your family's needs. Whatever you do with childcare accommodation, though, make sure you have a back up plan, and a back up to your back up!
Anyone else have tips on saving money while working on your new career?
On Monday June 4th, Mirror Images Cosmetology and Massage Student Clinic in Pittsfield is having its First Annual Cosmetology Graduate Showcase. There will be a live haircut and blowdry demonstration from 10:30am-11am, and then an Updo Contest featuring CHI & Biosilk products from 12:30pm-1:30pm. Salon owners and hiring managers from the community will be here to judge the contests, and the hope is that this will serve as a networking tool for our graduates.
This showcase is just one example of how Mildred Elley provides networking opportunities for students, even after graduation. Why should students and graduates come back to school and participate in these activities?
When you're looking for a job, in any field, you have to reach out to the people you know. Mildred Elley employs a team of people at every campus who network and form positive relationships with community businesses. This is a clear case of "It's what you know" AND "Who you know" that matters.
Keep Your Skills Fresh
Job hunting can take some time. Mildred Elley's goal is to have you placed in a job in your field as soon as your program ends. If this is not possible for some reason, you need to find ways to keep your skills fresh. Perhaps even more important, you need to keep your ability to SELL your skills fresh. When you come back to school for programs, open-houses, and professional development opportunties, you have things to add to your resume and opportunities to keep yourself ready to interview.
Protect/Build Your Reputation
The power of referral goes a long way. If you've shaken someone's hand at a showcase or a job fair, they are more likely to remember your name when your resume crosses their desk a month later. Perhaps you're applying for a job with someone you've never met, but you HAVE met someone they eat lunch with regularly, and you "Seem like someone worth bringing in for an interview." You have to be visible and do the work necessary to have your name known in different circles.
You know that little rush you'd get before a presentation, an exam, or a skill demonstration? Go too long without feeling that small sense of panic/excitement, you might be all nerves the next time you step up to the plate. The more opportunities you take to feel a bit of pressure and meet some new people, the more honed and sharpened you'll be when it comes to interview time.
Hope to see you there!
Something that all students have to grapple with is how to find the best possible research materials for their papers. The Internet is an amazing tool, and has added to both the excellence and the mediocrity of student work. The value of your work will directly relate to the value of your research, and when you're using websites as a main source of information, you never know what you're gonna get.
Even if you can't tell at first click, however, there are some things you can do to figure it out. Take into consideration this information from the Mildred Elley Library website: In order to figure out if a website is credible or not, you have to consider the Authority, the Objectivity, the Accuracy, and the Currency of the website.
Let's look at two examples of websites that I often see students using to get background information for papers, Web M.D. and Medline Plus. The sites look similar, but there are some significant differences in the value of their content. And here's why.
While WebMd is often written by medical professionals or "reviewed by" doctors, their articles are aimed at consumers, not researchers.
MedlinePlus has content authored by different government agencies. For an article I found on diabetes, the author was listed as the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The National Institute of Health provides the information for this website, as you can see in the web address. It's a .gov site rather than a .com site.
A website is objective when it presents different points of view fairly and accurately, without bias. One clue that a website is not objective is the presence of advertisments. If a website is covered in ads (3 popped up while I was manuvering around WebMD) that means that the companies and indivuduals buying the adspace on the site could potentially have some input on what kind of content is published. This decreases the credibility of that piece of "research."
Is the information reliable and accurate? If the website is written by experts/professionals and peer reviewed, it is more likely to contain facts as opposed to "fact-like pieces of information." For example, the government agencies listed would be liable for any misleading/mistaken information posted on the MedlinePlus site. This probably means that the information provided on the site will be more accurate than other sites.
In this case, WebMD's information is not necessarily inaccurate, but you have to ask yourself: what is the BEST source available for my research?
Is the website up to date? When was the information published? In most cases, the more recent the information, the better.
These are the four main ways you can evaluate web content and decide if the website or article is going to stregthen your paper or detract from your argument.
Yesterday was the Boston Marathon. I was watching some updates yesterday afternoon and saw that one particular runner I was following had just hit the halfway point. She had run 13.1 miles, and had 13.1 ahead of her. I wondered how she was feeling. She was so close to her goal, but with all the effort she had put out, she probably felt further away than when she started.
We are now just over halfway through the module (or maybe halfway through your accounting program, or your paralegal certification perhaps?). Do you feel like that runner? You’re closer to the end than you are to the beginning, but with four weeks of effort behind you, you’re probably feeling the burn. With midterms behind you, though, it’s time to take a breather and prepare for the inevitable end of module push. What can you do to set yourself up for success?
1) Halfway through means halfway left to go. This is not the time to sprint. Don’t pick up your pace by adding a new volunteer position at your kid’s school or picking up a new part time job. Remember, this is the calm before the storm. It’s best to organize yourself and start working on finals now.
2) Need help? Reach out to your Student Services Coordinator or the Office of Academic Support and Advising well before “needing a little help” become “snowball of uncontrollable academic panic.” Talk to your instructor, get a tutor, and remember: Act now and you have plenty of time!
3) Doing well? Look around. There are students who could use a tutor, or maybe you could start a study group. Think about joining or starting a student-led group. Nothing says “hire me” like leadership experience on your resume.
4) Enjoy the race. Although school is stressful, you signed up for this! Anyone who toes the line at their first marathon will tell you, you don’t just wander into the racing crowd by accident. It’s the same here at Mildred Elley. Take time to enjoy achieving your goal while you're still in the process of working toward it. Be proud, and let that feeling inspire you through the second half of the mod.
Week 3 is coming to a close. By now you’ve probably settled in to your instructor’s teaching styles. Are you noticing any trends?
One thing that I do quite often in my classroom is group work. Some students think that group work is a way for a teacher to get out of teaching, but that couldn’t be more false. Designing good group activities is much more challenging than lecturing, and necessary for the success of our students.
If you’ve found yourself wondering what group work in the classroom has to do with your future career in a medical office, or why you have group projects as part of your career training, here are three reasons why.
1) When your program ends, you will work in a group environment.
Do you get antsy when your grade depends on someone else’s efforts? You’re not just working on your certificate in business management or massage therapy, you’re working on your interpersonal skills. Can you get the slacker to do something without being bossy? Can you support the quiet person in your group, making sure he adds something to the class presentation? Can you step up when the group needs you to take charge? Are you a good listener? In the workplace, your performance can be evaluated based on the happiness and cooperation of the people in your team. What do you have to offer? The classroom is a great place to get these skills in order before heading out to a job interview.
2) Learning Power.
Studies have shown that people retain more information when they are interacting with information, rather than just sitting and listening to a lecture. Group work often involves tasks that require real participation. It’s harder to zone out when you’re one of three people required to contribute rather than one of fifteen.
3) Student Satisfaction.
Although students do seem to grumble about group work, they feel better walking away from a class that included a variety of activities rather than just sitting and “listening” the whole time. Group work allows timid students to feel confident enough to talk about the reading or flesh out concepts without fear of speaking in front of the whole class. Group work also keeps one or two confident students from taking over the whole discussion. Students feel more confident in themselves, and most importantly, feel heard.
What do you think about group work? What anxieties do you have about working in a group? What do you think could be done to improve the nature of group work in your classes?