Some things never change. For the 23rd year running, I. Donald Snook Jr. will speak at the ACHE's annual congress, presenting tips and tactics for getting ahead in healthcare.
And for the 23rd year running, he'll tell you that while different dream jobs require different skills, there's one skill that everyone should have.
That skill, of course, is networking.
Snook likens networking to the body's outermost layer of skin. It's always there, protecting the body and acting as its point of contact with the outside world.
But it's never the same skin: Old cells slough off daily, and new ones take their place.
Not only do the mechanics of networking change over time-e-mail wasn't available 30 years ago-but the network itself grows as well. Do you keep up with the same people this year as you did 10 years ago? If your network hasn't evolved, chances are your career has stalled as well.
"Getting the Job You Want in Healthcare Management," scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, and 10: 30 a.m. Wednesday, March 10, doesn't make any guarantees. But Snook, a senior lecturer in health policy and administration at Penn State University's Great Valley, Pa., campus, says that participants can use his seminar to take stock of their skills and figure out how to use them to move up.
Snook speaks from experience. He began his career as a hospital orderly. After 30 years in hospital management, he moved full time into an academic setting five years ago. He spends much of his time helping graduating students explore careers in the business of healthcare.
The seminar will be a "reflection on what I have seen work and not work in getting ahead in healthcare," Snook says.
Sprinkling his presentation with success stories and "not-so-success stories," Snook will take participants through the steps needed to get their dream jobs.
Along the way, self-evaluation is key.
Everyone has a satchel of skills, says Snook, but not everyone knows what's in it. Classifying your skills forces you to first figure out what skills you have, he says.
Classic skills are those you pick up at a university, like knowledge of statistics. Then there are skills that you develop in response to your work situation-customer orientation, for instance. And third, he says, people have certain innate skills that they may not even recognize.
Identifying and cataloging your skills are a first step. Then there's packaging them in a resume, identifying job options and interviewing. Snook will cover all of these, and more, sticking to specifics as far as possible, he says.
In the end, everybody's job search is different. "I don't pretend to have all the answers," Snook says. Except one, of course.
"Networking. It's the universal tool. Everything else pales in comparison," Snook says.