How to open the door for medical billing and coding jobs. What does it take to get notice by a potential employer and get hired for medical billing and coding jobs with little or no experience?
So how do you make a potential employer want to hire you? What’s it take to get a medical billing or coding job?
Of course you need to know something about billing and coding. Assuming you have experience in the field or have completed a training program towards receiving a diploma or certificate of completion – what’s next?
Because of the slow economy and growth in healthcare opportunities, many people are transitioning billing and coding jobs. While the long term demand for jobs looks great, this may create some “log jams” with several people applying for jobs at the same time. This is why it’s so important to make yourself stand out when applying for a job.
Match Job Description
When someone is reviewing a resume for a job opening, they’re thinking “How can this person help us?” They’re looking for experience, knowledge, and skills of the applicant and how it applies to their job. The best tool you have to do this is the description of the job. If you know the person doing the hiring you may even ask them some detailed questions. This also helps them remember you and shows you really care and are willing to go the extra mile in applying for a job.
For many billing and coding jobs – especially at smaller employers, they are in desperate need of help. They need someone who can come in right away and be productive without a lot of hand holding or training. This can be a great opportunity to sell yourself as the solution to their problem. Carefully scrutinize the job listing and concentrate on the description. For each item show how your knowledge, skill, or experience applies. A great way to do this is to describe your experience with similar situations on your resume.
Look at it from the hiring perspective – if you were hiring what would you be looking for? Think of what you would like to see on the perfect resume or cover letter. An overwhelmed office manager is looking for someone who can quickly help relieve them of the work load because they are probably trying to do two jobs.
Be Up On Current Issues
Keeping abreast of current trends in the healthcare field – especially as they relate to billing and coding jobs serves two purposes. First it shows you are forward thinking and proactive – traits that most employers value. Second it makes you valuable due to your knowledge and familiarity with the issue.
A good example is ICD-10. This has the potential to be very disruptive to the whole reimbursement process. People familiar with ICD 10, where to go for answers, and what the issues are will be very helpful.
Be sure to emphasize your skills and experience with computers, software, coding and specialties you are familiar with, insurance processing, Medicare reimbursement, etc.
HIPAA is another example. There have been several changes since it was introduced in 1996 that have affected medical billing and coding jobs. Knowing what electronic medical records are and how to use electronic medical records software is also another opportunity.
Being knowledgeable and experienced in billing and coding doesn’t do you any good if the employer doesn’t know about it. You have to tell them – sell yourself. Action statements on a resume that demonstrate or quantify accomplishments are very effective. Some examples:
There’s a business philosophy that says the key to success is to create and deliver something of value. This applies to getting a job also. So many people have great skills and experience but don’t communicate (or deliver) it to the people doing the hiring – so they don’t know about it.
Your resume or cover letter is the place to do this. Give specific examples of problems you have solved.
The Experience Hurdle
So many of the billing and coding jobs advertised these days want 3 to 5 years experience. If you just completed training and have no experience, how do you get it?
Internship program – Some larger employers may have an internship program that allows you to gain real world experience. AAPC (American Association of Professional Coders) has created Project Xtern for newly certified medical coders. The criteria are that you are a member of AAPC and certified.
A good vocational program may have an internship or similar program which matches students with companies to provide experience. This is a good “pipeline” program to getting your foot in the door with an employer.
Offer to work cheap or for free – consider it training because that’s what it really is. This is temporary because most people can’t afford to do this very long. Assuming you do a good job and make yourself valuable, there’s a good chance the folks that allow you to work for free (or cheap) will hire you. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about other job openings through networking.
Don’t bring up or emphasize negatives when applying for a job. One of the most common comments we see in submissions to the website is people who have received training and completed school, but can’t get a job because they don’t have experience. Emphasize any experience you have in previous jobs that is applicable to the job you are applying for. For example, if you were an administrative assistant, you probably have good computer skills. You probably also have good communication and organizational skills also.
The Power of Networking
Probably the most effective thinks you can do to get a job is network. People are more likely to hire someone they are familiar with and trust. And when someone who already works there puts in a good word for you – that can give be a very powerful endorsement. Of course this depends on what the hiring manager thinks of person doing the recommending – so choose your friends carefully.
I’ve found that even if someone doesn’t always have the minimum experience, if they know you and know you are a good worker, they are more likely to hire you. Networking is one of the most powerful ways of getting a job in any field. There are many jobs that aren’t even formally advertised – and the only way to find out about is by just who you know.
Networking provides opportunities like:
“The Orthopedics practice in down the hall from our office asked if we know any good medical coders or medical billing specialists.”
“The medical biller in our office is retiring next month. Are you interested?”
“One of the doctors in our office is starting his own practice. He asked me if I know any good coders or billers. If you’re interested let me know.”
Some are uncomfortable with networking but it doesn’t have to be an “in your face” type of thing. Just keep in contact with those you know in the field – or anyone you meet in the field just strike up a conversation about what they do. Facebook is also a great tool for keeping in touch or asking if any of your friends know of any openings.
So what does it take to land coding and billing jobs? Effectively selling yourself and your ability to be a productive member of their staff. Any opportunity you get to network with others in the field can also greatly improve your chances of getting good billing and coding jobs.
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