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I am having trouble finding a case management position without actually being certified. Any suggestions?

Wednesday February 6, 2013
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Dear Donna,

Potential employers are increasingly asking for highly specific certifications in lieu of experience and education. Basically, I have been working as a case manager for more than 20 years but am finding difficulty actually getting a case management position because I am not certified. Though I qualify for the certification, it is too expensive, especially without any guarantee of a job. To add to the problem, recruiters are increasingly inexperienced and not familiar with the position for which they are recruiting. They rely solely on the presence of key words in a resume, rather than the actual content, and cover letters do not help. Any suggestions on how to break the certification barrier?

Wants to Break Barriers

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants to Break Barriers,

While some, not all, employers are looking for nurses with various certifications, believe me when I tell you that certification would be in addition to, not instead of, experience and education. Not every employer requires case management certification. If you are relying solely on the classified ads, whether online or in print, for your job opportunity information, you are getting a skewed view of the market. What appears in classified ads is not representative of the bigger market. Likewise, you can't rely solely on sending in resumes and cover letters online or by snail mail. These are the least effective ways to find a job.

Networking, or word of mouth, is the most effective way to find a job. You need to contact everyone you know, both in and out of healthcare, and let them know what you are looking for. Ask for help in getting introductions, leads and recommendations.

Attend local chapter meetings of the Case Management Society of America (www.cmsa.org), even as a guest if not a member. When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those currently doing it.

Also attend career fairs. There are many different types of employers at these events. See what's coming up in your area at www.Nurse.com/Events/Career-fairs/. Read “How to get the most out of attending a career fair” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Career-fair).

When what you're doing isn't working, it's time to try a new approach. Rather than placing blame on everyone and everything in the job market — things you have no control over — consider what you can do differently and better to find what you're looking for. Focus on the above strategies and tips, including those in the referenced articles, and move toward your goal.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.