Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is Linda J. Ramsey, Esquire, ARM, CPHRM, CHC. I was laid off as Assistant General Counsel and VP for Insurance and Risk Management for the Philadelphia Academic Health System on May 15, 2020.
Why were you looking for a job?
PAHS declared Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on June 30, 2019, which resulted in Hahnemann University Hospital closing, the sale of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, as well as COVID-19 shutting the courts. At the time, civil cases were effectively stayed, and the Workers Compensation cases were substantially slowed. After that and other experiences with for-profit healthcare, I decided to step back in my career and move out of the city to an area closer to nature.
How did you discover GCG?
I am not sure how I discovered Great Careers Groups (GCG), but I am very grateful I did. I started as a Lynne Williams “groupie” taking her LinkedIn classes and just about every other class she or GCG offered. At the free weekly interview preparation workshop, Les Segarnick helped me in his excellent session on interviewing (which I listened to >1x). In addition, he reviewed my resume and spent with me in a practice interview. All of the programs gave a new way of looking at information that I may have heard before, but it did not resonate at the time. Each speaker added their insights to material that could have been repetitive but often sparked an idea to approach a task differently.
How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
In April 2020, before I was laid off, I started volunteering for Citizens Corps Delaware County (COVID-19 testing and now vaccinations) and Sewn for Good (sewing and supplying masks for health care workers). After I was laid off, I continued my volunteer activities and added Zoom GCG events. I looked on ASHRM, Indeed, and LinkedIn for insurance claims and risk management jobs. While I got some interviews, I did not get any offers.
In December, I revised my resume with the help of Les and the Penn State Alumni office. In January, I discovered Career Success Group Mondays from 9-11 am led by Kevin Keene. This morning structure supplied the discipline I needed to stay focused and stay on track. Then, I started reaching out to recruiters with my revised resume and used it to apply independently. Finally, I began to get more interviews than I had in the Summer and Fall.
How did you find your job? How long did it take?
The position at Northern Light Health was on the ASHRM career page and had been there for 2-3 months. I reached out to a former colleague who worked there to see if it was still open, and he told me it was. I applied and had my first interview on February 22, 2021, and received an offer on March 8, 2021.
In this role, I will be assisting with the education of the local risk managers and building consistency across the system of 10 hospitals located throughout the state. This hospital system includes one tertiary care facility, three critical access hospitals (25 beds), six community hospitals, employed physicians, and two long-term care facilities.
What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
My goal was to move to the mountains to be with nature, which feeds my soul. I drove up to Bangor, Maine, to find a place to live and see if I liked the area, and I loved it.
What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
- Zoom fatigue is real, and the time spent watching the various webinars feels productive, but too much can be a procrastination tactic. That said, being a “night person,” the 9 am meetings got me up.
- You are not applying for jobs when you are on the webinars. The webinars should help you develop a schedule and plan.
- Take breaks. Every 25 – 60 minutes, stand up, walk around, take an exercise class, walk your dog, etc. Set the alarm on your phone as a reminder.
- Get out of the house. Volunteer.
- Get CEs, preferably free if you can, to keep your skills up and stimulate your brain.
- Post on LinkedIn, follow people and comment. LinkedIn is an excellent way to connect with others.
Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
It was harder for me to network because I did not want to stay in the Philadelphia area. I reached out to some Penn State alumni I found at the companies I wanted to work for, but it felt a little awkward.
There is nothing like GCG anywhere else in the country. I looked and signed up for a couple of groups, but their programs were mainly for small business entrepreneurs. Since I wanted to be an employee, they did not fit my needs.
What will you do in your new role?
It was a challenge figuring out what I wanted to do, and I ended up right back in the career I went to law school for, which was to become a healthcare risk manager, a resource for the providers.
What is one (or more) takeaway(s) or nugget(s) of wisdom that you would like to share?
- Have a list of questions prepared in advance of your interview. (I have a template if you want it).
- Know who is interviewing you and look them up on LinkedIn.
- Use your list of accomplishments and match them to the job description when asked the “tell us about yourself” (thank you, Les, for this tip!).
- Always send a thank-you note, and if you for not get the job, follow up with the interviewer to see what skills or attributes you need to improve upon to be a better candidate. It is hard when you are disappointed but worth the effort.