View Suzzannes 10 Tips on How to Land Your First CA Job

1) Follow the directions on the want ad.  If a clinic asks for you to submit your resume via email, DO IT.  Do not call.  We get tons of calls all day long.  We do not want to talk to you on the phone unless we say so.  And we love people who read and follow directions.  Seriously.  I can’t emphasize this enough.

2) I do not want an email from you giving me crap about having to send me a CV or resume.  Again, follow the directions.  They are there for a reason and the fact that you can’t be bothered to have a resume does not speak well for you.

3) The resume should look professional.  Points are awarded for interesting facts and letting your personality out a bit.  However, I never want to see a xeroxed crumpled resume scanned into a pdf and sent to me.  It is 2013.  Libraries have computers.  Type it and send me something at least mildly professional. Also, I do not want a “resume” that consists of your bio copied from your website.  I am not interested in your journey.  I want your job experience.

4) Know something about CA before you answer the ad.  I really, really mean this.  There is a reason that all of us have the number one requirement being interested and PASSIONATE about CA.  We seriously mean it that we want you to have read Noodles, have attended a CA 101 Workshop, and/or be a member of POCA.  This is a massive shift in culture.  This is nothing like a BA practice.  We aren’t just saying that to be cool.  It is a hugely different way to interact with patients and we want to know that you understand that from the outset.  If you don’t get it, it often doesn’t work out well and that sucks for everyone.  It is extremely important that you understand at least the theory of why CA exists.  If you just think CA “is a cool way to give back and be of service,” you are in for a rude awakening.  That phrase should be a good warning sign for employers.  If you as an employee are just interested in doing this to make yourself feel good, it is not going to go well.  This is awesome work and super hard at times.  This is not here to make you feel altruistic.

-You might be wondering why I am so emphatic and a total dick about some of this.  Well, I have had to let go two punks in 7 months.  It hurts.  It hurts our community, the patients, me and you- the employee.  I have also had a bunch of folks apply for a job and it was horrifying. I take my clinic and my patients really seriously.  This is not just a funtimes little side project for you.

5) Don’t act overly confident or like you are god’s gift to the Acu-World.  No one wants to hear that.  Do I want to hear that you are enthusiastic and good at what you do?  Absolutely!  Do I want to hear that I will never find anyone better than you ever and that you are super special?  No!  This place isn’t about being the most special snowflake on the block.  It is about working as a team and working hard.  We love hard workers and folks who care with all their heart. If you don’t care about your patients, then all of your special studies and trips will get you nowhere.  Caring first.  Life changing treks last. I’m not kidding.  Your time with Master So and So does not automatically qualify you to see a high volume of patients, unless you have already done that in your studies.  Basic treatments work great!  Fancy stuff takes too much time and will make it hard for you to keep up. 

6) Don’t ask questions that only pertain to money.  Is money important to talk about?  Yes!  We all gotta get paid.  But I really want to know that you are interested in the work here.  If you are only interested in the money, then you are barking up the wrong tree.  Nobody gets rich off of poking in a community clinic.  Know that upfront and everyone is ok.

7) Don’t dress like you are going to an interview at a Fortune 500 company.  Casually professional is cool.  Promise.

8) Don’t get defensive when we talk about stuff that we do not do in here.  Example: “We do not give lifestyle advice here and do not want our punks giving it either.”  If you did your research and really wanted to work here, you would know that Not Telling Folks What To Do is a giant tenet of community acupuncture.  Lots of poking, little talking. I know that it is likely that they shoved it down your throat that the only way folks get better is to lecture the hell out of them in acu-school.  It sucks that you spent so much time and money learning that. I did, too!  But I promise, folks get better with just regular poking.  Seriously!  They do.  My clinic saw over 5000 people last year and little to no advice was given.  Guess what?  People got better!  Even better, they figured out what was and wasn’t working on their own.  And that is the best part of all. 

9) Do some research on my clinic (and others!)  before you get in the door.  Look at my website!  It is there for a reason.  Feel free to ask about my cat.  I talked about her in my bio because I am nuts for the little rascal.  You will win points for caring, paying attention, and looking for stuff that is relate-able. But don’t be a suck up or a creep.  It would freak me out if you regurgitated my entire website ;)

10) Ask about what it is like to work here. (Hint this is the MOST important thing to remember!) Care about the answers.  You will likely get a teary answer from me about how wonderful and difficult it is.  I am not going to feed you a line of crap.  It really is wonderful and difficult!  My heart bursts when I think about my community and I love to share that with people.  I am dying to hire punks whose hearts burst, too.  Punks like that are hard to find and a precious thing. If you are one of them, let me know that you care and want to know how much I care, too!  I will cry and curse and laugh all over you for it.

How to Apply for a Job in a POCA Clinic
Part 5 Sample Cover Letter and Resume

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