How To Land Your First Physiotherapy Job After Graduation
You’ve just finished your physiotherapy education, degree or diploma, you’re hopeful – excited even! This new phase of life is just you have been waiting for. Soon you will join the salaried lot and will be balling every weekend. In your mind the only thing preventing you from achieving this is the graduation certificate and the practice license. You soon graduate and the first thing you do is run to Afya House and exchange 8000Ksh for a practicing license. However, life has a surprise in store for you and soon you learn what thousands of physiotherapy graduates in Kenya have learned the hard way; getting a good job is impossible, getting a bad job is being lucky.
In this article I will give you 10 tips on how land to your first physiotherapy job after graduation.
1. Take it easy, its just a matter of time
Take it easy, dont give up as soon as you start. From my experience and other physiotherapists, unless you’re really lucky, the first ten or so places that you visit will tell you, “sorry we dont have any vacancy at the moment”. This is fairly normal and you dont really need to be worried, just keep looking its just a matter of time before you get to someone/facility who will ask for your CV.
2. Don’t go home!
This is by far the most common mistake that physiotherapy graduates make. I can assure you that if you go home then your chances of getting a Job drastically reduce. This is especially true if you’re going back to the rural areas. Living with your parents is living in your comfort zone. You dont have to work for rent, food and other amenities. Worst of all nothing around you motivates you to go out and do better.
The longer you stay at home the more your skills in physiotherapy will depreciate! Instead of relocating and going to live with your parents back home, polish your CV and seek a paid internship. Many private physiotherapy facilities will jump at the chance to offer you a paid internship as long as you they can sense that you can offer something to them.
3. Understand your position
Avoid pride. Understand that you are an inexperienced physiotherapist and that if an employer chooses to take you in they are doing so at a risk. For any employer to take you in it means they will have to teach you and guide you at least for a month or two before you can become a competent member of their team. Since this is how majority of employers view new graduates, most of the big and “serious” hospitals and facilities will avoid employing new graduates. Hence if you want to work there understand your position and instead of asking for a job ask for an internship (Paid or Volunteer).
Bonus Tip; As a student, when on medical training attachments and internships aim to create a good relationship with the physiotherapists working there and set yourself apart as a competent physiotherapist early. This increases the chances of employment when you go back to the same hospital to ask for a job.
4. Work on your CV
When seeking a Job one of the best answers you’ll get is “could you send us your CV?” The Curriculum Vitae (CV) you send will represent you and will be the single most important thing that will determine if they will call you for an interview or not. Countless guidelines on how to write a good CV exist. There is definitely no excuse to having a bad resume.
My top tier tip in regards to optimizing your CV is this “Don’t use the same CV to apply for two separate Job!” Avoid being lazy, before applying for a job is do your research. Look at their social media pages, browse their website find out what services they offer. If you’re applying for an advertised job look at the job description. With all this information at the back of your mind write a CV that describes the you as the person who will be the perfect fit for the facility.
Many people think they have a good resume until they see a better one. Don’t be like them! Go to google and start looking at examples of good physiotherapy graduate resumes out there. Lastly, as a new graduate you might not have a lot to add in your CV. Actively seek opportunities to work on a course or take on projects that could be a strong addition to your CV. An employer might just call you in for an interview because you have a physiotherapy YouTube channel.
5. Keep learning and get certificates to prove it
If there is something I’ve learned throughout my journey as a physiotherapists its that employers love people who continuously learn and improve their practice. I know its daunting but If you’re a diploma holder, consider getting a degree or a post graduate diploma. If you’re a degree holder consider going for a masters or take a post graduate diploma. This will definitely cost you lots of money which you probably dont have. Luckily there are other options, if you can get access to 10,000 Kshs you can register to Physio-plus and get training plus certificates in more courses than you could ever complete. If you cant get 10,000kshs then you can take advantage of the free courses offered in physio-plus and other online resources.
6. Work on other skills that make you an ideal candidate
Most employers don’t employ physiotherapists solely based on their physiotherapy skills only. If you’re a guru in social media management you could be employed at facility just because you can supplement this function. To understand what skills an employer might be interested in do your research. Check their social media, were they active but now they are no longer active ? Maybe you can help their social media page grow? Include it in your CV. Do they have a website? Can you help them grow in that area? Mention it, it might be the key to you getting employed. The bottom line is that do your research and if you have a skill that makes you a more suitable employee to them mention it.
7. Learn when to settle for less and when not to settle
Sometimes you might go for a job but instead you’re offered a paid internship. Other times the salary is way below your expectations. Never make rash decisions to throw away opportunities just because they dont fit what you had in mind. Tell them to give you a day or two to think about it. You might see gold where you only saw trash.
In regards to your first Job two things matter, the experience you will get and the amount of money you will get. Weigh the two carefully and make your decision. I will advice you not to prioritize the money. If the offer you’re given will continue to sustain your lifestyle and will get you the experience you’re interested in then take it. Make sure to agree with your employer that you will renegotiate the terms after three months. After three months you can go back to the negotiating table for a new deal. If you’ve worked to the best of your abilities then you should get your first salary raise!
8. Get your certificates and license
This doesn’t need a lot of explanation some hospitals and physiotherapy centers will insist that you must have license and the other requirements of the chapter 5 of the constitution of Kenya. However, if you dont have these documents dont let that prevent you from job hunting, if an employer thinks you can add value to their clinic they might choose to employ you then you can get your documents as you continue working.
9. Don’t wait for job adverts apply before they advertise
When a physiotherapy Job is advertised more than 100+ physiotherapists will apply for that job. What are the chances that you are better than the other 99 candidates? Remember that physiotherapists who graduated years before you will also apply for the same job and they have more work experience than you. Play the smart card and visit as many facilities and hospitals as you can. Check if they might have an opening. You could be lucky and even if you dont if they a need a physiotherapist later on, you’re the first person they will call.
Keep in touch with classmates and colleagues, send them a meme once in a while and catch up. If they hear that there is a job opening somewhere you will be the first person they tell.
10. Employ yourself
If everything fails why don’t you just employ yourself? Seriously speaking there are hundreds of physiotherapists offering freelance physiotherapy services, do your research, get you license and join them. It will be hard but it you will survive.
- Take it easy, its just a matter of time
- Don’t go home!
- Understand your position
- Work on your CV
- Keep learning and get certificates to prove it
- Work on other skills that make you an ideal candidate
- Learn when to settle for less and when not to settle.
- Get your certificates and license
- Don’t wait for job adverts apply before they advertise
- Employ yourself
Lastly make sure to join the Physiotherapists in Kenya Facebook Group various job opportunities are regularly posted there!