Career Counseling Wrightsville Beach NC

Ph: 877.392.0047  |

Seagate Consultants is a contingency-based recruiting firm focusing on the Health Information Management field. Founded in 1989 by Susan Parker, M.Ed., RHIA.

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As we approach convention season – both national and mid-year – you hear a lot of talk about networking.  Sure it’s the perfect way to talk with people about your facility and compare notes.  But how do you use that opportunity to look for a new job without being uncomfortably pushy?  Here are a few tips:

Be strategic.  Use name badges to your advantage.  Introduce yourself to hiring officials.  There’s a time to gently put the word out to peers and friends and use the filtering method, but since conventions offer clear names and titles, use it.

Respect time.  Introduce yourself and establish a time to talk.  They may be going to a session or through the vendors, so suggest a time and place for about 10 minutes.

Example:  “Hi I’m Susan.  I am the DRG Coordinator at Fantasy Hospital and I see you’re with Dream Hospital.  I’d love about 10 minutes of your time.  Can I buy you a cup of coffee after this session?”  OR “sit with you during this session” OR “Walk with you a minute” Do not suggest buying them a meal or an alcoholic drink.

Have a prepared “elevator speech”.  Be brief but not abrupt.  Convey your message clearly and comfortably in your own words.  If you mumble and fumble, everyone starts to sweat.  This is a four sentence scenario.

Example:  Who are you?

What do you do?

What are you seeking?

What unique experience/skills/goals would you bring to them?

End professionally. Hand them your card, but write your cell phone and a brief memory jogging blurb on the back.  Conventions are a business card festival.  You don’t want your card to get tossed later.

When the coffee’s gone, the meeting starts, or it’s been 10 minutes – shake their hand and leave.

If you’re unsure of this approach or need a little extra practice, try it on me!  I’ll be at Midyear and the AHIMA Convention.  Look for my name badge and I’ll know exactly what you’re doing, so you can do a run-through without consequences.  (And you do not have to buy me a cup of coffee really).


1. One size does NOT fit all.

  • New graduates and experienced professionals will not look the same.
  • New graduate resumes will be at the close of this article.  Not left out, just figured it wouldn’t hurt for you to read all of this too!

2. Highlight Experience

  • A resume is a marketing tool, YOU are the product.  Use it wisely
  • Only relevant experience counts.  If you don’t have any relevant experience, start with education.
  • Don’t list every job you ever held.  Go with what’s significant to this position.  Certainly red flags fly at gaps in employment, address those honestly.  But you don’t have to list the year you were a holiday gift wrapper in college.

3. Format Tips

  • Bullets for quick reading.  Resumes should tell a story, quickly.  Consider your reader to have acute adult attention deficit.  Most duties are self explanatory if the job title is standard.  If you were a coder, identify inpatient or outpatient.  If you were a supervisor, note of what area and number of employees, but not daily tasks.
  • Be number specific when you can.  If you have quantifiable experience, list it.  Example -Increased weekly billing from $500,000 to $1,000,000.  You can still use the bullet format, highlighting experience that showcases your specific accomplishments.
  • Toot your own horn.  This is a multi-skilled field.  Do not focus on only one area of your training.  Market your training while strategically indicating how the background increases your ability to meet their long term needs.
  • Make it POP.
    • Well placed verbs can make all the difference.  Use words with power behind them:  Achieved, produced, implemented, improved, etc.
    • If you have more than 2 pages, put your name and credential at the top of every page.
    • Don’t crowd it.  Leave plenty of white space, easy to read.
    • Use good quality crisp, white paper.  Resumes are frequently scanned into the system, white is simply easier to read.

4. Be honest, 100% of the time.

  • No exceptions, you will be caught.  Integrity is irreplaceable.
  • Do not inflate job titles or salaries
  • Do not enhance duties
  • Do not invent degrees

5. The New Graduate Resume.

  • Market your strength, list education first
  • List only college education, regardless of your prestigious high school, drop it.
  • Most Merit-based Scholarships, list for up to one year out of college.
  • Most school leadership positions, list for up to one year out of college.

A Word About Career Counseling

Have you ever wished you could contact someone and HIM related career advice? Personally, I feel like a person, not a web site, ought to help guide people along. These are really important decisions in a person’s life. As a result, this article may help and I also suggest you check out the AHIMA Career Map, it’s awesome.  Most of the questions that have come in this month are directed toward coding, and may apply to you or someone you know. Here’s a shortened version from some January conversations:

Q: Can I take coding classes from home?

A: Of course. There are several AHIMA approved coding programs offered on-line.

Q: Does a coding course have to be AHIMA approved for me to sit for the CCS or CCA exam?

A: Nope. But when you go through an approved program you have the assurance that the curriculum has been designed to cover all the bases for passing the CCA test.

Q: Why mess with the CCA exam when the CCS is the credential people want to hire?

A: The CCA is entry level, the first rung on the coding career ladder. The CCS is designed for the more experienced coder. That test is just plain harder.

Q: If I pass the test, will I get a job?

A: Boy, I hate this question. Although there is certainly a shortage of coders, experience still speaks volumes. Coding is simply too important to risk a learning curve. Your very best bet is to network early, do an internship, offer to re-code charts to prove your ability. This will help an employer realize your ability when you’re just getting your feet wet in the profession.

Q: How can I find out if my program is approved?

A: Scroll across the header of this home page to “Schools/Jobs”. Select Approved, accredited programs from the drop down menu. A screen with 4 blank boxes will appear. Put Coding in the first box, skip the next box, put in your state for a traditional program and mark “no” for the last box, distance education. The search will tell you all the approved programs in your state. To find out about an on-line program, ignore the box asking about your state and mark “yes” in the last box, distance education. This search will tell you all the approved on-line programs in the country.

If YOU, a reader of this page, have a question, call me at 910-392-0047. I’ll answer on the first or second ring. If not, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee at the next AHIMA meeting!


Contact us for all of your employment and recruiting needs! 877.392.0047

Preparing for Your Future

Seagate’s Susan Parker was just part of a panel presentation at the 2014 AHIMA National Convention in San Diego, California. The topic was HIM Without Walls, How to Build Expertise for the Future. Findings of a workforce study were presented with emphasis on skills and focus for the next ten years.

One of the most important things an individual can do right now is stay current – take advantage of resources available through AHIMA like the Journal and the Career Map. Look at job descriptions online and then compare them to your own skills. Check out AHIMA’s new competencies and see where you need additional education. Develop a plan by determining where your interest lies and then strategically develop your next steps. Have mentors, follow thought leaders on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Network and volunteer in the new areas of interest. When a credential or certification becomes available in your area of interest, go for it!

The future is bright and full of new opportunities, although they may look nothing like the field you envisioned just a decade ago. It’s a great time to be in HIM!

Seagate Consultants
PO Box 856
Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480

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