How to Navigate a Healthcare Application for a Non-medical Role

You’re perusing your local job listings and automatically skip over anything with complicated medical terminology. After all, you don’t know what half those words mean, so how can that job possibly be right for you? But maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to judge. A lot of healthcare-related organizations are so accustomed to using industry jargon they inadvertently slip it into job postings that don’t require a medical background. If you want to know how to sift through all that healthcare terminology to see if you are actually qualified for the position, read on.

How to navigate non-medical role

Focus on the core position

You’re an experienced communications specialist.  But the job posting is for a healthcare communications specialist. It uses phrases like “clinical trial management” and “global safety databases” that you are not all that familiar with, so you move on. But as long as the core essence of the position fits your qualifications, the complicated terminology should not necessarily deter you from applying for the job. If you have excellent written and verbal communications skills and those skills are the top requirement for the position, there should be no reason you can’t learn the terminology along the way.  So why not take a chance and send in your resume and cover letter, emphasizing your greatest assets?

Break it down

Some healthcare terms sound a lot more complicated than they actually are. In fact, most medical terms are made of three basic components: the root word, the prefix and the suffix. They are generally derived from Greek and Latin roots, and once you become familiar with these components, the words become much easier to decipher. For example, the suffix “itis” means inflammation, so any time you see that suffix, you automatically know that inflammation is involved. This is not to say that learning healthcare terminology is easy but knowing the basics can make it much less intimidating.

Find out how big a role healthcare terminology plays in the position

Just because the job posting uses a lot of complicated medical language doesn’t automatically mean the position requires you to understand those terms. Some job postings will specifically ask for the applicant to be familiar with industry jargon. But if the ad does not specifically state that as a requirement, you may be home free. When in doubt, ask.

If your resume is strong enough to get you an interview, the hiring manager saw potential in you. So, during your interview, make a simple query about how important knowledge of healthcare terminology is to the role. You may find out it’s completely irrelevant. And even if it’s not, here’s your chance to convince your interviewer what a fast learner you are.

Do some research

Most people will blow right past an ad for a job title they’ve never heard of. It’s only natural to think you would not be qualified for a position that’s unfamiliar to you. But before making a rash decision, do a little research and find out exactly what that job title means. You may find out that it’s mislabeled or “over labeled.” For example, you might immediately shy away from a listing asking for a Clinical Liaison because you have no idea what that entails. However, in reality, Clinical Liaison could just be a fancy way of saying Marketing Coordinator. Try to go beyond the title and look at the actual job requirements and duties. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out you’re a perfect fit for a position you never knew existed. 

Navigating through complex healthcare terminology when you’re looking for a non-medical position can be frustrating. But don’t let a few fifty-cent words or unfamiliar phrases scare you. It’s quite possible you don’t even need to expand your vocabulary for the position. And even if you do, your other qualifications, along with the fact that you are eager to learn, could be more than enough to land you the job.

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