Every year, Occupational Therapy practitioners around the world attend the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference. This is an opportunity for professionals to further develop their skills and increase their knowledge through workshops, research panels, and presentations to learn the most current methods and continue providing skilled therapy.
This year it was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was extra special because not only was it our first time attending the conference, but we also celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Occupational Therapy!
Over the course of several days, six of us Lewis and Clark Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant students attended various presentations. As students, we felt our time would be most wisely spent in student-oriented sessions to help us better prepare for entering the workforce.
We attended discussion panels of new practitioners, prep sessions with tips for taking the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam, but in the end, several of us agreed that a lecture we attended by Brandon Siegel, CRP, was the most impactful of all the sessions we attended during the conference.
Mr. Siegel provided information on to help jump start a career in Occupational Therapy, and his approach to the topic was humorous and down to earth. Below is our condensed list of Mr. Siegel’s presentation with 15 game-changing tips to entering the Occupational Therapy workforce.
- Create relationships within the company – NETWORK!!!
- Document each Fieldwork experience (Disease, Treatment, Methods, Protocols, Patient Outcomes, etc.)
- Focus on your Productivity: HARD WORK PAYS OFF!
- Interview your coworkers to step up your game
- Resume (1-2 pages)
- Needs to have licensure at the top
- Goal: Hit key words, Disease, Treatment, Exposure (summary)
- Summary of Qualifications: 1-2 pages
- Brag about your exposure and experience
- Fieldwork Level 1: 1-2 bullet points
- Fieldwork Level 2: 2-3 bullet points
- Curriculum Vitae (CV) … Life story as an OT
- Could be 20 pgs.….
- Include only experience relevant to OT
- Get a LinkedIn Profile
- Copy of resume, 2 letters of recommendation (1 clinical, 1 character building) Sample documentation
** The quality of therapy is only as good as your documentation**
- Verify the job hours (e.g., PRN, Full Time)
- GPA is not relevant
- Passing the NBCOT exam states you are qualified for entry level job
- Cover letter:
- 2-3 paragraphs max
- 1/2 – 2/3 page – Background information and your qualifications
- Don’t include an objective statement
- Start looking for jobs 6-8 weeks before the exam
- Put the most relevant information at the top of the resume
- Resume should include bullet points and minimal color
- Do your homework! Not only is the employer interviewing you, but you are interviewing them! The more you know about the employer, the better you can judge if the job opportunity and workplace is a match for you. Knowledge is power!!