Work within the healthcare sector is incredibly varied. You will work with patients from diverse backgrounds who will need supporting in different ways, and working behind-the-scenes comes with its own challenges. Although most roles will require their own skill sets that are specific to those positions, there are numerous personality traits or ‘soft skills’ that will make you a desirable candidate.
These skills will help you succeed in medical and non-medical roles. While it’s not essential to have all of the below, being able to demonstrate these traits to prospective employers will show that you’re a good fit for the job. Read on to find what medical-sector employers look for on your CV beyond the qualifications.
- I am an excellent communicator and can deal with different personality types
Whether you’re looking for a patient-facing role or a technical, scientific, or office position, good communication skills are essential in healthcare. In your job as a healthcare or medical professional, you’ll meet people from all walks of life who have different types of personality, and you’ll need to communicate efficiently with them all.
If you’re shy or uncomfortable talking to new people, you can improve your communication skills simply by using them more. As with most things in life, practice goes a long way.
A few things you can focus on include…
- Listening – focus on what people are saying so that you can respond appropriately.
- Pausing – think before you speak. Consider what you want to say – there’s no rush.
- Relaxing your body language. Folded arms act as a barrier – you’ll be more approachable if you relax a little.
- Smiling – when appropriate. Smiling sends positive energy to your brain, which will help you relax, make you more approachable, and therefore help you say what needs to be said.
2. I work well under pressure
The healthcare industry is fast-paced. Unlike many other industries, you could find yourself in a role in which lives are at risk. To succeed in the medical sector, you’ll need to be good at making calm, informed decisions quickly – and sometimes under pressure. Having confidence in what you know will help you to think on your feet.
To show off your decision-making skills and your ability to work well under pressure, surround yourself with mentors who you can learn from. Watch how they use what they know to think quickly, and talk to them about what they know.
Relevant work experience is key here, as confidence comes with practice. Consider giving examples in your cover letter of times at which you worked well in a stressful environment, and be prepared to talk about past experiences in an interview.
3. I am a team player
In medical environments like hospitals, dozens – and sometimes even hundreds – of people work together as part of one big team. For this reason, it’s essential that you are able to work with your own initiative, but also follow instructions from colleagues and superiors.
Medical environments have little room for ego, so be willing to place trust in your colleagues, and encourage them to trust you. Be reliable, approachable, and cooperative, and show this to employers by giving examples of times at which you’ve worked as an invaluable team member.
4. I have a strong work ethic and good time-management skills
As with working well under pressure, being able to manage your time efficiently will be a skill that employers see as essential.
You will be expected to really apply yourself and work hard throughout your shift, so demonstrate to future employers that you’re not afraid of doing your bit – and more.
If you’re already in work, demonstrate your work ethic by taking on extra duties beyond your role. There are numerous roles that require good time management, so look at how you’ve shown yourself to be an organised employee by recalling instances where you’ve managed multiple projects or tasks and worked to meet deadlines.
5. I pay meticulous attention to detail
Any employer will value a member of staff who pays attention to the finer details, and this is even more important in the medical sector. The fast-paced environment and the urgency of front-line hospital roles mean that you’ll be expected to be alert and attentive at all times, and that you’re analytical over even the smallest details.
This shouldn’t affect your efficiency, so you need to demonstrate that you’re able to work quickly while keeping an eye out for anomalies in patient records, vital signs, and overall states of health.
6. I have a positive attitude and can handle constructive criticism
Employers and managers in the medical sector are eager to find individuals who have positive attitudes. This means two things:
- Being a (realistic) optimist – helping to maintain a positive work environment for colleagues and patients.
- Being receptive to constructive criticism – demonstrating a willingness to learn and not taking feedback too personally
The medical sector can be a challenging environment to work in, especially if you struggle to maintain a positive mindset. Patient-facing roles in particular are suited to certain personalities. If you want to work with patients, you should be friendly and able to keep the people you care for, their families, and your colleagues in high spirits in difficult situations.
7. I am good at showing empathy
Particularly in ward-based roles, it is essential that you’re able to show empathy in the medical sector. Patients and their families need to feel listened-to and understood, so showing empathy will make your work with them far easier.
Empathy starts with being a good listener and putting yourself in the shoes of others, so show potential employers how you are willing to put your patients before yourself.
Which is the right medical role for you?
Not all roles in the medical sector are the same. In fact, there are dozens of opportunities, which vary from patient-facing and ward-based roles, to back-office and administrative roles. If you think you’re ready for an exciting new challenge, there are positions both for experienced medical professionals and inexperienced people who are looking to start their medical careers.