Jobs in Functional Medicine: Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Lisa McDonald 09/23/2019 How to Find a Job, Recent News, Job Seekers

Jobs in Functional Medicine

Since I started the Integrated and Functional Connections Job Board in 2015, historically, the number of jobs in functional medicine has declined during the summer months. However, this summer we saw the number of opportunities posted increase. Not only that, but the opportunities ran the gamut, from private practices to health systems to supplemental companies, with an array of roles, including providers, practitioners, and management. 

As the Functional Medicine movement continues to grow, with opportunities and a record number of careers in the Functional Medicine field, the number of trained practitioners is also growing. I remember when I started recruiting in this field ten years ago, and it was very difficult to source experienced Integrative and Functional Medicine providers. Most of my days were spent trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. Today I’m spending a significant amount of time reviewing CVs and conducting interviews to present the most qualified candidates to my clients. And even though the number of opportunities is growing, there are still more candidates seeking jobs than there are opportunities available.  

As the landscape becomes increasingly competitive within this field, candidates should understand that it’s more important than ever to put your best foot forward when it comes to finding a job in Functional Medicine. Here are a few tips to do just that:

Don’t Ghost Recruiters

“Ghosting” is when you suddenly end all communication without warning. My first experiences with candidates failing to show for an interview happened this summer. I understand that it’s a strong market and there is a shortage of primary care providers, but we’re still a relatively small field, and you always want to leave a good impression whenever you present yourself. When you ghost recruiters, it can burn very important bridges that you may want to come back to some day. Rescheduling the time or day of a call is understandable, especially given the demand for patient care and our busy lives. But not showing up at all and ignoring follow-up communication is definitely not advised. 

Include Education or Experience in the Field in your CV

A trend I continue to notice is candidates leaving out their course work in Integrative and Functional Medicine from their resumes. Some list that they are a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine but do not list the courses they’ve taken up to this point. I’ve reviewed CVs of candidates who have completed all of the coursework and their case report and are ready to sit for Certification, but have left all of this information off their CV. When asked about it, they stated that they weren’t yet IFMCP (certified by the Institute for Functional Medicine), so they didn’t include it. It is imperative that you include all of this information when communicating about a potential job in Functional Medicine. It takes significant time, energy, money, and dedication to complete these courses, and it provides candidates with more expertise in the field. These are all things that potential employers need to know about when making hiring decisions. If it turns out that you’re neck in neck with another candidate, it is this sort of initiative and dedication that may set you apart from the competition and edge you out over the others.

If you’re pursuing a Fellowship or Board Certification in Integrative Medicine, this is also very pertinent information to include, and you’ll want to indicate the dates on which you started or complete the program. Every employer I work with values this information in assessing you as a viable candidate. 

Proofread Your Cover Letter and CV

Putting your best foot forward also means submitting a complete and error-free CV. I’ve received a number of cover letters over the years that were addressed to a different employer and tailored to a different job. I’ve also seen CVs containing objectives that were directed to an entirely different role than the one for which they applied. Candidates have submitted CVs that were not current, or that omitted an Integrative and Functional Medicine practice employer. Any practice experience conveys to potential employers that you are able to hit the ground running and often warrant employers taking a second look at you. Therefore, it is crucial that you not only include any relevant information in regard to practice experience in the field, but also review your CV to ensure that it’s current and tailored to the position that you’re interested in. 

Candidates can do this by customizing the cover letter as to why they are interested in this role and why they are the perfect candidate for this practice. Employers actually read cover letters and objectives. It’s a chance to share your mini-story and another opportunity to market yourself and ensure that your skills and experience are seen. In a brief and succinct way, explain why this job is a perfect fit for what you’re looking for and how you will add value to their team.

Your CV is your best marketing tool when seeking a new opportunity, so it’s important to make sure it is easy to read, free of grammatical errors, targeted to the opportunity, accurate, and comprehensive in showcasing all your credentials, experience, and education. This one snapshot of your career can open the door to your dream job. For more information on resume and CV mistakes that you want to avoid, check out our previous blog post here

Not Preparing for the Interview

When it comes to interviewing in this field, the way you present yourself and the impression you make during the interview have a big impact on whether or not the hiring manager feels you’re a good fit for their medical practice. From not adequately researching the employer, to not being prepared to share your career story, there are a number of things that you need to keep in mind when preparing for your interview. Check them out in our blog post here

Consider Every Interaction

Every interaction that you have with a potential employer is important. From the moment you apply, all the way up to the interview – any and all interactions convey who you are and whether or not you may be a good fit. This means that all communication, both written and verbal, creates lasting impressions. Because as they say, first impressions are lasting impressions. 

So what is the best way to make a favorable and lasting impression? Adept communication, both written and verbal. It’s important to note that many of my clients use patient portals. This makes written communication just as crucial as spoken communication. Being able to demonstrate proficient written communication is key. Spoken communication also demonstrates how candidates would communicate with patients and staff. Being able to convey that you are a masterful communicator in every sense of the word is imperative to making every interaction a positive one. 

By sharing these experiences and suggestions with you, it is my hope that you’re able to put your best foot forward when it comes to your career in Integrative and Functional Medicine and securing the job of your dreams. We also offer bi-monthly email notifications with the latest job opportunities and career tips in the field of Integrative and Functional Medicine. Sign up here for our monthly jobs announcement eBlast and newsletter.