Health informatics, the discipline that blends computer science and medical science, is one of the fastest growing and most exciting fields today. For many aspiring informaticists, an internship is the first step toward a career. With good grades and a little planning, you can land a position that gives you valuable experience and competitive compensation.
1. Finding a Great Internship
Students who want the best internships need to seek out opportunities. You might find positions with a hardworking startup or a national organization that needs a team of qualified interns to analyze big data. Take the time to assess your goals and to select an area of focus before you commit to one industry. Students who live near major cities can contact local companies and search job postings to find internships in the area. You could also contact a list of companies that you would like to work for and see if they’re hiring interns. If you ask, you could even get an internship with a company that doesn’t have an existing program.
2. Preparing Your Resume
Internships can direct the course of your career and lead to bigger opportunities, so make an effort to establish yourself as a qualified candidate. Create a unique cover letter for each position that explains why you want to intern for that company. Make sure that your resume is in top shape. If you aren’t sure how to create one, have a friend help. Community organizations can also show you how to format the document and highlight your experience. Writing your resume and cover letter is an opportunity to impress job coordinators with your excellent communication skills.
3. Acting Fast
After you’ve polished your resume and prepared for the interview, you need to be ready to work. If you know of a prestigious, well-paying internship, don’t wait to apply. Professionals who make hiring decisions are more likely to select applicants who take initiative and are punctual. Have your resume ready to be emailed at any moment so that you can apply for desirable positions as soon as you see them. Don’t delay. Show employers that you are ready to start immediately.
4. Gaining Experience
Because the field of health informatics is expanding rapidly, there’s significant demand for qualified staff. Insurance companies, universities, pharmaceutical manufacturers and other major corporations prefer candidates who have experience in multiple areas. Some corporations have even invested in educating and training a workforce with the desired qualifications. Remember that you are competing with professionals who have received extensive job-specific training. If you have more experience in computer programming or health care, expand your knowledge in the other area to minimize any weaknesses. Enroll in courses that give you a new understanding of medical data, programming languages, DNA or database tools. Determine what employers are looking for, and develop those skills.
5. Planning for the Future
Many companies look for interns who will become full-time employees. Focusing on one area of health informatics will give you the experience that you need to excel in this competitive profession. During an internship, you might discover your dream career in medical research or realize that you’d rather focus on developing a program for managing electronic health records. You can research companies online or talk to current employees at local events and job fairs.
Finding an internship will also give you an advantage when looking for a full-time job. Internships are available for students and recent graduates with varying qualifications ranging from two years of college to the master’s level. Assess the job market to create opportunities that fit your skills and interests.