The future is bright for the physical therapy industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for physical therapists is expected to grow 15% by the year 2032. That is much faster than the national average for other professions.
Whether you are a recent grad or a mid-career physical therapist looking to make a change, try these practical tips to prep for your job search and stand out from other candidates.
1. Update Your Physical Therapy Resume
Your physical therapy resume introduces your skills and qualifications to recruiters, hiring managers, and employers. It is an informational document that summarizes your abilities and accomplishments to show that you are qualified for the position you are seeking.
According to research on the topic, recruiters spend an average of seven seconds scanning resumes before they decide to keep or discard them. The top performing resumes have the following features:
- Simple layouts
- Clearly-marked sections with headers
- Bold job titles followed by bulleted lists of tasks and accomplishments
- A profile, overview, or mission statement located at the top of the first page
Physical therapy resumes that contain multiple graphics, colors, and fonts make it hard for recruiters to find the information they need. Job experience and other details unrelated to physical therapy take up valuable space and should be omitted. Always check (and double-check) for errors with spelling, punctuation, and grammar to ensure your resume is polished and professional.
2. Customize Your Cover Letter
While your resume is a recitation of your education, clinical training, and job experience, your cover letter serves a different purpose. It is used to show how and why your skills align directly with the PT jobs you are applying for.
Use your physical therapy cover letter to highlight your qualifications and express your motivation with a more conversational tone. It should reflect your personality and give the reader a glimpse of who you are as a person and a physical therapist.
Although you can use a basic template as a starting point for your cover letter, take a few minutes to customize it for each new job application. Include details about the specific physical therapy brand or practice and why it appeals to you.
Customizing your cover letter shows you have taken the time and attention to learn more about the opportunity. Mass e-mailing generic physical therapy applications suggests you aren’t very selective about where you are applying. It gives the impression you are sending multiple letters and just hoping something “sticks.”
3. Lean Into Your Professional Network
The people you meet and work with throughout your career may prove to be your best resource for job leads. Grow your “village” by attending professional events and joining industry associations. Consider working with a mentor to help you navigate your physical therapy career path, and pay it forward by mentoring new grads later once you have some experience under your belt.
4. Research Potential Employers
Searching for physical therapy jobs can sometimes feel like a full-time job in itself. Between online searches, writing resumes and cover letters, and following up on applications, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by everything involved in finding a new position.
Researching potential employers before you hit the “send” button on your application can save you time and effort by avoiding companies that may be a mismatch. Learning more about physical therapy brands gives you insight into a company’s values, culture, and track record of high employee satisfaction and positive patient outcomes.
At Upstream Rehabilitation, our family of physical therapy brands believes in investing in our associates and setting them up for success. Last year alone, we promoted close to 800 associates in clinics across the country.
Accountability, adaptability, compassion, and inclusion are some of our core values and we exhibit those in how we support and encourage our teams nationwide. Through our Pillars with Purpose philanthropic initiative, we contribute to several charitable funds to create positive change here and across the globe If these qualities seem like values you can get behind, visit our online career portal to browse opportunities in your area.
5. Brush Up on Your Interview Skills
So after all your hard work, you landed that coveted physical therapy job interview. Congratulations! Now it is time to prepare to make the most of this opportunity.
Practicing for a job interview will help you feel more prepared, comfortable, and confident for the real thing. You can practice alone or with a friend or colleague. Start with a list of common physical therapy interview questions and prepare your answers based on your own experience.
As you know, physical therapy requires extensive academic and clinical training and preparation. But the best providers are also compassionate and empathetic. Employers want physical therapists with the desire and ability to connect with and support patients who may be in pain or experiencing mobility and function challenges.
Are you interested in learning more about working with Upstream Rehabilitation and our family of leading physical therapy and occupational brands? Start your PT job search here.