15 Steps to Climbing the Healthcare Career Ladder

There are so many opportunities for career progression in healthcare, but how can you ensure you give yourself the best shot at reaching your dream position?

Here are 15 steps to climbing the healthcare career ladder. 

1. Have a Plan 

Sometimes people make it to the top by accident, but these instances are few and far between. What’s far more common is when someone makes it to the top because they’ve had a picture of what they want to achieve and have taken steps to make that happen.

Now, this picture might well change many times during your journey, but it’s important to have some kind of idea of what you’re aiming for. It’s a long journey up the career ladder, and you need to have a rough plan for what you want it to look like. 

2. Set Goals 

Having a plan is one thing, but when you set goals, it makes it real. 

You might tell yourself you want to be CEO one day, but unless you explicitly set goals, it’s more of a dream than something you’re working towards. Goals are a vitally important part of any career, and you should be looking to set SMART goals for the short, medium, and long-term. 

Climbing the career ladder can be difficult, and there will be setbacks along the way, but if you’ve got good goals, then you’ve always got something to push you on. 

3. Understand Your Strengths 

There’s no limit to what we can do if we work hard enough. That being said, it’s easier to climb the career ladder if you’re doing something that makes the most of your strengths

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is a huge part of furthering your career, and it’s something you regularly need to evaluate. One of the most important things is that you don’t just focus on your strengths. It’s also important to understand your weaknesses and how they might hold you back. This way, you can work on becoming a more all-round performer and getting the best out of yourself. 

4. Keep Your Resume Up-to-Date

You always want to be on the lookout for opportunities, and having an up-to-date resume is part of this. 

You may find you never have to leave your company and you have no need for a resume, but for many people, this won’t be the case. Every once in a while, you will have to look outside of your company to take your next step, and this is a natural part of climbing the ladder. 

When you do, you’ll be thankful you kept your resume updated, as it’s much easier to list your achievements at the moment rather than looking back on them a number of years later. When you’re applying to jobs such as a Family Nurse Practitioner, there’s going to be a lot of competition; click here for more information on how to make your resume the best it can be.

5. Practice Your Interview Skills

The interview process may or may not come naturally to you, but if you’re going to climb the career ladder, then you’ll need to get used to it at some point. 

Like most things in life, though, interviews are all about practice, and the more you work on the skills, the more comfortable you will feel. As you become more experienced and understand the process better, you’ll have a good idea of what recruiters are looking for and how you can demonstrate those skills. 

Interviews may seem a little bit daunting, but eventually, you will find they’re nothing to worry about if you practice the skills. 

6. Always Be Ready to Learn 

It’s funny how you look back on time. You think back five years and smirk at how little you knew then and how far you have come, but in five year’s time, you’ll be doing the exact same thing. 

We’re always learning, and this is one of the most important aspects of climbing any career ladder. 

The more you seek these learning opportunities and actively pursue them, the quicker this process is going to be. There are always things you can improve on, but sometimes you’ve just got to take an active role in your learning. 

7. Align Yourself with Your Institution’s Goals 

It’s perfectly fine to have your own personal goals, but you need to make sure they’re not at odds with the goals of your institution. 

For example, in a hospital setting, there’s a clear chain of command which is there for a reason, and you can’t ignore this just because it suits your goal of taking on more responsibility. When your institutions/company/department succeeds, you succeed, so you need to make sure you’re aligning yourself with those goals. 

If these goals are at odds, then it’s going to be counterproductive for your journey up the career landing. 

8. Don’t be Afraid to Specialize 

Expert knowledge is hard to find. The more knowledge you have in a specific area, the more you’re going to be seen as an expert, and the more you are likely to be recognized for it. 

People sometimes think they need to be great at absolutely everything to get to the top, but often it’s about having the highest level of knowledge about a specific subject. If you’re open to learning opportunities and continue to invest in your education, then this is perfectly achievable. 

9. Take on Responsibility 

When you get to the top of the career ladder, you’re going to have to take on a lot of responsibility. Throughout your career journey, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to practice this, so don’t shy away from them. 

You don’t have to be pushy about taking on responsibility, but it’s about showing that you’re willing and capable when these situations do arise. 

There’s no point in having big career aspirations but avoiding responsibility whenever possible because it’s not going to expose you to those opportunities you need. 

10. Be a Strong Team Player 

You’re trying to showcase yourself as an individual who is capable of taking on more challenging positions, but in order to do this, you’ve got to show how you can work with a team. No matter what position you reach in healthcare, you’re going to have to work closely with others, so if you can’t showcase this essential skill, then you’re going to struggle. 

Being able to work effectively as part of a team is one of the first things recruiters look for, so take every opportunity to practice this skill.

11. Improve Your Communication 

Communication is something you can always improve upon

In healthcare, you’re constantly communicating with people from all walks of life, and the messages you convey are of the utmost importance. No matter what position you have, it’s imperative that this is an area where you’re comfortable and efficient. 

The more you climb the career ladder and take on greater responsibility, the more accurate your communication will have to be. 

12. Keep Networking 

Building your professional connections can be hugely important for your career. You never know where an opportunity might come from, and sometimes, knowing the right people can make all the difference. 

However, it’s not just about knowing people. Networking is a perfect way to share ideas and learn new things that make you better at what you do. With life being much more online these days, networking often gets forgotten, but it’s still a big part of climbing the career ladder. 

13. Go the Extra Mile 

There are thousands and thousands of people out there with similar career goals to you, but are they willing to go the extra mile each and every day? 

Climbing the healthcare career ladder isn’t easy, and it takes hard work each and every single day. There are going to be days where it’s tempting to take shortcuts, but every time you do this, you miss out on an opportunity to improve yourself and learn.

Going the extra mile and doing the best possible work is one of the best ways to get noticed, and if you do this consistently, it will help you climb the career ladder. 

14. It’s the Journey, not the Destination 

You can’t be so focused on your goals that you forget to enjoy the journey. Working in healthcare is one of the most rewarding professions out there, and you’ve got to be in the moment to enjoy all the great benefits it offers. 

If you’re too obsessive about reaching your destination, then it’s going to cause you to miss out on all the great moments along the way. 

15. Stay Determined

The route to the top is rarely straightforward, and there will be setbacks on your journey. It’s important that you don’t let the tough days get you down, though, and that you keep going. 

Remember why you got into this profession in the first place, and keep working towards achieving your goals. Success will come eventually, but you’ve got to keep going.