For those considering the route of becoming a locum doctor or nurse, it is imperative to know how to effectively market yourself, enabling you to receive a constant stream of work and strive in your profession. The healthcare industry continues to grow in demand meaning that roles can prove to be increasingly competitive; securing your ideal position may not always be as straightforward as you had hoped.

As a locum, you should think of yourself now as a business, and therefore treat the process of obtaining work as a business venture. This is a skill you may not have been taught before, but will be relatively easy to adopt with the help of our guide on how to market yourself effectively to guarantee security when working as a healthcare locum.

What To Expect As A Healthcare Locum

There is a considerable disparity between working as a locum and having contracted, fixed hours. A locum position provides an alternative to occupying a permanent, long-term role; it is the individual’s choice as to whether they opt to become a full-time healthcare locum or merely part-time to support their current income.

As a locum doctor or nurse, you are an incredibly valuable member of a healthcare organisation. Healthcare locums are vital in providing a well-needed helping hand during busier periods, whether this is to support a department through covering last-minute shifts or taking on a long-term role as maternity cover.

While, when taking a locum position, daily tasks will remain the same as those on a permanent contract, there are a number of crucial differences that must be highlighted. The most significant difference is that, as a locum, you’ll need to market your skills in order to secure work. Even if you possess the skills, qualifications and experience required to exceed in a position, you need to effectively demonstrate these qualities to the relevant decision-making individual. Due to this, many newly qualified doctors and nurses opt for the locum route to gain experience across several sectors to enable them to explore career options before making a permanent commitment.

For many, the idea of locum work comes alongside a plethora of highly desirable benefits. Not only can healthcare locums enjoy complete flexibility in regards to their schedule but they are also able to travel across the country, work in diverse environments and switch between sectors when an exciting position arises. Once you are familiarised with what to expect from taking on a locum role, you can begin building your presence and understanding how to market yourself successfully as a healthcare professional.

Doctor taking notes

Determining The Ideal Customer

For any business to be successful, you need to be aware who your customers are and have a thorough understanding of them. It is crucial to perform meticulous research into specific clients before approaching them for work.

The NHS Choices website provides an array of useful information on all surgeries in your local area. Included in surgery details are the demographics that they serve, along with the number of doctors and nurses already working there permanently. Once you have short-listed several that you would be willing to travel to, it is highly recommended to perform further research into the surgery’s individual dynamics.

Here are some points you need to consider when researching into potential customers:

  • How far are you willing to travel in order to secure your ideal position? Bear in mind that the more flexible you are when it comes to location, the more work you will receive.
  • Has your specific skill set been included in the position brief of your shortlisted organisations? Avoid targeting areas where your specific abilities won’t be needed.
  • What kind of communities does the organisation serve?
  • Are you aiming to take on a part-time or full-time locum role? What is the length of the proposed positions offered by shortlisted organisations?
  • Are there any unanswered questions you hope to gain more information in about particularly surgeries?

Alternatively, you could opt to join a healthcare recruitment agency that will scout the work out for you. Most recruitment agencies will assist you in your plight, whether you are looking for private healthcare work or a position within the NHS. Locum recruitment agencies will also help to find you the roles that best suit you based on your preference, flexibility and location. When joining a doctor or nursing agency, you will be given the opportunity to specialise in different sectors such as mental health or going down the route of AHP/HSS recruitment. Nevertheless, even when opting for the agency route, you must still have a clear understanding of the way in which you aim to market yourself. The more precise you can be when joining an agency, the easier it will become for your consultant to locate a position that fulfils your requirements.

Doctor at desk on phone

Constructing An Impressive CV

Throughout your career, regardless of your level of your experience or number of years in the profession, presenting a well-constructed and highly impressive CV to a potential employer will help you to strive. It is effectively an introduction document showcasing all of your skills and therefore, should be up to date. If you are stuck on how to improve your current CV, then here is some guidance on what you should include.

Your CV should condense all of experience, qualifications and skills into a short document. It should be concise, straight to the point and composed of short paragraphs spread across only a couple of pages. The contents of the document should include only information that is relevant to the particular field you wish to become a locum in. However, you should remember to include any teaching experience, clinical interests or other spoken languages that could come across as desirable. It is essential that your CV clearly demonstrates how your skill set is relevant for the job and how your expertise can benefit the organisation. Any information that is not relevant should not be included in the document.

Remember to incorporate your past roles and current position into a summary at the beginning of the page. Briefly cover your key responsibilities and how you improved the business both physically and financially. During the short introduction to your experience, include the primary reasons why you chose to adopt the role of a healthcare locum and how through continuing this line of work, you can achieve your long-term goals.

Although it may seem obvious, it is also imperative to include referee contact details in case the employer or agency wish to get in contact directly. It is also worth adding in your current flexibility, along with whether or not your lifestyle allows you to cover busy periods, for instance, over Christmas. A precise document stops both you, as the healthcare professional, along with your potential employer from wasting time contacting or interviewing for a role that is unable to fulfil your needs. It will contribute towards speeding up the process, allowing you to find your ideal position in a shorter period. These particularl details should be included in the covering letter as opposed to your CV.

Curriculum vitae

As a healthcare locum, over time, you will move from job to job making it crucial to ensure that your CV is regularly updated. It should accurately reflect your most recent qualifications and experience. As your career progresses, you should make time to periodically review the contents of your CV and make sure it is up to date. Total Jobs has put together a useful article on ten additional tips for creating a successful CV. While they may not be industry specific to healthcare organisations, the tips are helpful in providing extra guidance.

Doctor on laptop

Guaranteeing Continuous Development

Ensuring that you continue to develop your career and skills not only helps you to stand out on the locum market but prevents you from stagnating in your job. Participating in clinical audits, extended research, gaining teaching experience and learning about new IT systems are all great ways of strengthening your marketing power as a locum.

It is a requirement for medical professionals to partake in the Continuing Professional Development (CPD process to ensure that they remain up to date with how to maintain the safety and quality of care of patients; however, CPD can also contribute towards guaranteeing healthcare locum security. Developing your skill set not only makes you more employable but will enable you to extend your abilities, expand your experience and boost your confidence within the job. According to Wisestep, confidence in the workplace achieves effective communication, successful decision making and enhances productivity; all of which are vital skills within any sector of the medical industry.

When aiming to continue to progress and develop in your career, it is imperative to establish and implement goals. You merely cannot progress if you do not have a set of objectives to work towards. Without goals, you will become too comfortable in your role, often leading to complacency. Do not limit yourself when determining your goals; they can be targets to reach not only in your current position but also in the future perhaps in a different role or sector of the healthcare industry. Prioritise goals in order of those you are most passionate about achieving; these will be your starting point.

Healthcare professionals in meeting

Strive In The Healthcare Industry Through Locum Work!

It is essential to have an active approach to securing locum work. Whether you decide to work with a recruitment agency or find positions independently, you must be proactive in ensuring your CV gets noticed by the right people. As a locum, it is essential to spend an ample amount of time marketing yourself just in the same way that a business would. If you are looking for a steady stream of work within the healthcare sector, then why not get in touch with a member of the Medical-Locums Group team today?

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