Saturday, 21 April 2012

Tips for Writing Resumes (especially for newly qualified radiographers)

The most important thing you can do when applying for a job, especially your first radiography job out of university, is to have a strong resume. When you consider that everyone applying for a PDY/NPDP/New Grad/Level 1 (whatever you call it, wherever you are) Radiographer position has the same amount of clinical experience and effectively the same skills then what will set you apart is a great resume. Which is easier said than done. Here are some tips I have come across by reading a lot of resume of radiographers applying to my hospital as well as university resume courses I have attended. There is obviously no one correct way to write a resume, but there are certainly a lot of wrong ways.

Career Objective
Probably the hardest part of the resume to write. Don’t be afraid to tailor this to each job you apply for.
  •        I am a graduate of …..
  •        I would like to obtain a position where I can continue to develop my skills in general   radiography, fluoroscopy, theatre and mobiles
  •        I would like the opportunity to train in modalities such as CT and MRI so as that I can develop a well rounded skill base and be a valuable team member

Obviously if you are applying for a position  where they for example don’t have CT and MRI, it probably isn’t worth mentioning that you would like training there as it may make you look like you don’t really want the job there.
I also wouldn’t recommend writing something like “I hope to study medicine and become a doctor” because it makes you seem like you only have short term ambitions for the job, whereas most workplaces are looking for a more long term employee.

How far back you go probably depends on how old you are. If you have been out of the work force for 20 years and have just recently completed a degree, you’re high school results are probably not necessary. Since most newly qualified radiographers completed high school reasonably recently, it is worth putting it in.
Mention any notable achievements such as awards or particular high marks (e.g. high GPA or high averages across subjects).

Clinical Experience
I have found the best way to set this out is to mention responsibilities you have had across all clinical placements. E.g.
-       use of CR/DR systems (Kodak, AGFA, Fugi etc)
-       performing examinations on wide range of patient presentations from ambulatory to non responsive
-       working independently and as part of a team

It is also good to mention where you have had clinical experience as this gives an indication of what skills you have developed. With each clinical setting, mention what specific skills you learned there. E.g.
  •          final clinical placement at …. Hospital had extensive CT training and performed … procedures independently.

This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate all the training in different modalities you have gained.

Skills Summary
This is your chance to demonstrate all the key capabilities you possess which have been developed not only through clinical experiences but any other jobs you have had. A lot of job applications will mention certain skills you should have, so you should consider tailoring your resume to include these skills.
May include:

Clinical Reasoning Skills
  •  questioning/assessing patients, identifying issues with requests, modifying examinations/techniques for patient presentation, evaluating radiographers

Practical Skills
  •          experience in general, theatre, mobiles etc
  •         trauma or paediatric experience
  •         image interpretation

Professional Conduct
  •           there is probably a guide or document to reference e.g. in Australia it is the Australian Institute of Radiography Guidelines for Professional Conduct for Radiographers, Radiation Therapists and Sonographers and The Code of Ethics       
  •       awareness of patient confidentiality, OH&S, non discrimation etc

Communication and Teamwork
  •          make mention of other jobs/activities where you have demonstrated this as well as clinical settings
  •         communication and teamwork with radiographers, nurses, radiologists, referring doctors, other health care professionals

 Other Skills
  •         CPR/First Aid
  •         Other languages spoken
  •         Possession of a driver’s license

Obviously where you can demonstrate other responsibilities you have had. It is especially important to demonstrate skills, which are transferrable to radiography (e.g. communication, teamwork, organisation etc.

Don’t have to go into too much detail but it is important to show that you have a life outside of work. Mention of couple of interests you have and don’t be surprised if they are mentioned in an interview.

Transcripts/Clinical Reports
This will be expected to be included so their absence will look like there is something you don’t want them to know!

General “Don’ts” For Resumes
  •         Include a photo of yourself. I’m not sure why but employers generally don’t like this. They won’t hire you because you have a nice photo and it is generally unnecessary
  •         Make spelling/grammatical mistakes. Have as many people as possible read and correct your resume. Constant spelling or grammatical mistakes will be a definite turn off
  •         Talk yourself up to much. Find the line between demonstrating your skills and blatantly talking yourself up. You can’t be the best at everything, you can’t perform every possible examination and procedure perfectly so claiming it will only make you seem arrogant and complacent. I once read a resume which said exactly that but clinical reports said clearly the opposite!
  •         Make it unnecessarily long. Use bullet points and get to the point quickly as most employers will skim it quickly for the main facts. If it takes too long to read they won’t read it.
  •         Use a crazy font or colours. They won’t like it and it won’t help. Stick to the basics.

Hope this helps with the very difficult and long process of writing a resume. If you have any other tips or have seen something particularly terrible in a resume please share!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Interview Questions for Newly Graduated Radiographers

Here are some questions you might (hopefully) come across. Some questions I have had, others I've heard about or read about. I also have a few tips for answers which you may or may not agree with. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any other questions you have come across.

1. Why do you want to work at this hospital/ practice?
- if you've worked there before, you might mention the great teamwork/facilities/friendly staff/fact that you learnt a lot
- if you haven't worked there, mention that you have heard great things about the workplace or that they have a good reputation. Do some research so you can be specific about their facilities, which will make it more believable that you actually want to work there!

2. What are your best qualities? 
- try and think of something that is relevant to radiography
- e.g. Organization, communication, teamwork, friendly, hardworking etc

3. What are your worst qualities?
- whatever it is, you have already improved greatly on it. The trick is thinking of something that really isn't that bad. Dont say you can't communicate or you hate working with other people but also don't say things like "I'm a perfectionist" because no one really buys that. Try something like, "I used to have trouble with time management but I have greatly improved this at uni or in pracs"

4. What should you do to confirm you have the correct patient?
- time out - ask name, DOB, address if still unsure
- if inpatient also check name band
- ask the patient what exam they are having done
- ask questions about the history you are given to ensure it matches what the patient tells you

5. What should you do if the patient refuses an x-ray?
- Check that they understand the procedure and any risks involved
- Ask their concerns - helps to gauge if they are competent to make decision
- If you are satisfied they understand what they are refusing, do not go any further with the exam and notify the referring doctor - do not force or pressure patient

6. What should your film check post exam include?
- Check name, DOB, MRNA, study/accession number on film
- Check markers are correct
- Check anatomy is correctly demonstrated (e.g. Images haven't shifted in printing)
- Check contract/brightness
- Check you have all films

7. Talk about a situation where you have had to take charge
- Doesn't have to be a radiography situation, maybe another job or uni assignment but talk about your sensational communication and organizational skills

8. What is a trauma series and in what order would you perform the images?
- Unless protocols vary between states/countries - c-spine (lat), CXR and AP pelvis in that order (order of severity)

9. What would you do if you have calls for mobile X-rays, theatre and inpatients waiting all a the same time?
- Prioritise (good time to demonstrate organization/time management skills) cases in order of severity, ask for assistance from other staff where necessary (show that you are not afraid to ask for help), communicate with referring parties, keep them inforomed of your movements so they don't think you are ignoring them

10. What projection best shows a fracture of the greater tuberosity? 
- AP shoulder in external rotation

11. What additional imaging should you consider in a FOOSH injury?
- Scaphoid if pain in snuff box, radial head if elbow pain and decreased movement

12. What additional imaging should you consider with an inversion injury of the ankle?
- Oblique foot for base of 5th fracture

13. What would you do if a 16yr girl comes in with her mother for an AXR and says she may be pregnant?
- Ask pregnancy status away from mother - she has no legal right to information
- Contact referring doctor and check if they are aware and ask how they would like to continue
- If exam is not to be performed as per doctor (most likely) do not tell mother the reason, simply state if quested that the doctor has been spoken to and feels this may not be the right test and ask them to return to doctor

14. Where would you like to be in 5 yrs?
- Mention areas of interest (e.g. CT or MRI) but be careful when those areas are not available at the location you are applying for as it may appear as though you are only using them for short-term training.
- Consider mentioning having a well-rounded skills base, still working at their practice (may sound like a sucking up answer but may also be well received!)

15. Give an example where you demonstrated excellent communication/teamwork
- May be a patient who was very uneasy with having a procedure and you talked them through it
- Very difficult patient with extensive injuries requiring many Radiographers and nurses to work together
- Try to think of (or make up) a examples where you have worked with other team members, not just Radiographers, e.g nurses, doctors, radiologists, wardsmen - wide range of health professionals showing your ability to work in amultidimensional team

General Interview Tips:
- Be confident in your answers, speak clearly - don't be afraid to ask for clarification (e.g. Sorry, I don't quite understand, is this what you mean?)
- Gauge the tone of the interview, if it is serious, remain polite and professional, if it is more light hearted, don't be afraid to have a joke or laugh with the interviewers
- Ask questions - show you have an interest in the job/workplace - Research the workplace and be aware of their facilities to show you are interested in the job
- Turn up 10 minutes before the interview, any earlier/later runs the risk of inconveniencing the interviewers
- Don't try and draw the interview out too long - they may decide they like you in a short amount of time
- Take time to think about the questions, don't just rush out with the first answer you think of
- Relax and be yourself. The more natural you are the more comfortable the interview will feel and the interviewers will have a greater idea of your personality, which is often just as important as the questions.

Do you have any more questions you have come across? Please let us know!