Job searching is a similar process across the board. You need to update your resume, prepare for interviews, and evaluate your skills. Although the hiring process can follow the same structure, key differences depend on the role you’re searching for. These differences can range from the qualifications you need to how you begin looking for a certain position. Medical Coding is one job with a specific plan of action you need to take to find the right one. Even though developing a plan can feel overwhelming, we’ve broken it down here with this detailed guide on how to obtain a medical coding job.

Think Through Your Career Goals

You wouldn’t jump into anything headfirst without considering what you hope to achieve, and the same should go for job hunting. Before searching for your medical coding job, think about your goals. Do you want to obtain your medical coding certificate? Do you want to develop a specialty in coding? Think through your career goals and identify what to categorize in short-term and long-term goals. For short-term goals, this would be anything you could accomplish within a year. Some short-term goals could be taking a coding course, moving into another position, or working on learning another specialty. With long-term goals, this would be something you’d want to accomplish within the next two to ten years. This would require you to plan out the direction you see your career going. A few examples of long-term goals could be becoming a manager or a coding consultant. No matter what your short and long-term goals may be, you need to take a little time to think through where you see your career going to best understand your next step.

Creating a Game Plan

After identifying your goals, you’ll need an action plan. Your goals might be different depending on which stage you’re at in your career. Regardless, you should develop a unique game plan. Below are outlines of different plans you can take:

  • Student
    • Complete a coding program or certificate course
    • Obtain a certification
    • Find a mentor
    • Complete an internship or externship program
    • Join your local AAPC or AHIMA chapter
    • Participate in volunteer opportunities
  • New Graduates with or without Certifications
    • Look for a medical coding or related job
    • Complete an externship program
    • Become involved with your local AAPC or AHIMA chapter
    • Seek advice from a mentor
    • Network with coding professionals
  • Entry Level Coders (1-5 years of experience)
    • Create your coding network
    • Network with coders at local AAPC chapter meetings
    • Set long-term goals for your career
    • Talk with your manager about growth opportunities
    • Obtain additional certifications or take continuing education courses
  • Experiened coders
    • Mentor new coders
    • Publish articles about coding industry trends
    • Teach coding
    • Become an officer in your local AAPC chapter
    • Serve as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for course development
    • Review coding books

This is a suggested outline of steps to take based on the stage of your coding career so you can reach your goals in a timely and organized manner.

Identifying Strengths and Understanding Your Value

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses that are evident when it comes to their careers. It’s important to identify and play up your strengths. Identifying your strengths can be tricky since you need to understand how someone sees you from an outside perspective. A couple of ways to learn your strengths can be making a note of when a coworker or someone in your life brings up positive attributes about you. If you can’t think of anything off the top of your head, you can simply ask someone in your life who knows you professionally. Along with knowing your strengths is understanding your value. Your strengths directly align with the value you bring to the table, so it’s important to embrace these positive qualities with open arms. To know your worth, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people who positively influence you and your growth. Understanding your value is important. Positive affirmations and self-talk help to reinforce your self-worth and value.

Networking When Obtaining a Medical Coding Job

We’ve all heard the saying ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’ – and the saying rings true for obtaining a medical coding job. A key to doing this is by expanding your network. However, sometimes networking can be daunting, and you might not know where to begin. A good place to start is by reaching out to your friends and family to see if they know an influential person in the medical coding field. This can be the easiest route to take when networking since you already have a close mutual connection who can introduce you to this person. Another useful networking tool is LinkedIn. You can connect with people who are thought leaders in the medical coding industry and those who work at organizations you’re interested in working at. Building your professional network can help connect you with decision-makers in the medical coding field and help you advance your career.

Process of Obtaining a Medical Coding Job

When finding a job, nothing is instant. You need to trust the job search process and be open to learning more about the medical coding and healthcare industry. This can look like building a solid foundation about the industry, like medical billing, credentialing, and referrals, to name a few. Throughout the job search, there are some things you should keep in mind about the process. One of the most important parts is being realistic. Every process has steps, and you should be mindful that everything doesn’t happen overnight, so patience is key. During this process, you should continue fine-tuning your soft skills and consistently evaluate your strengths. In doing so, you still maintain a pulse with who you are in a professional setting. Rejection while job hunting is inevitable. However, you can’t let that derail you in your job search. Although it can feel like a loss, it’s helpful to view the loss as a lesson. Scenarios like this can mean a better opportunity is just around the corner.

The Right Partner on Your Side Can Help

Obtaining a medical coding job can be a long journey, but the destination makes it all worth it. With our tips above, you now have all the expert resources to find one, from identifying your strengths to specific game plans to getting a medical coding job. Do you know the best resource for finding a coding job? An experienced medical staffing firm. Harmony Healthcare specializes in placing expert medical coders into jobs that help fulfill their career goals. Contact us today to find the job you’ve been looking for!

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