Interview and Application Tips for RMTs
Whether you’re going to complete your massage therapy exams soon or you’re an experienced RMT looking for a change of pace, there are some things you’ll need to consider when searching for a new opportunity. It’s not only important to ensure that your application materials and interview secure you the job. It’s also important to ensure that while you’re applying and interviewing, you’re also determining that the opportunity will be right for you and your career path.
The 10 tips below will help make sure your applications, interviews are successful, and you’re able to secure the right opportunity for you.
- Stay confident. People who are confident in interviews tend to be more likely to be successful. It can be difficult to be confident about your skills as an RMT shortly after you’ve graduated, but it’s important to focus on what you know you can do. It can be helpful to write down the skills and experiences you know you’ll bring to the job. It can be equally helpful to write down why you’re concerned that you can’t get the job. By analyzing the reasons you think you can’t accomplish something, you might realize those reasons are insignificant or inaccurate.
- Be clear on what you want. Some RMTs want to go to work, treat and then go home. There are some practice environments that offer that but the trade off is less independence and control over your practice. Other RMTs want to be totally independent, but this leads to more work when it comes to things like marketing and record keeping. Don’t just apply to everything – attempt to target the type of practice environment you’d be happy to work in.
- Share your accomplishments. Your resume should focus on your accomplishments, rather than simply job duties. For example, rather than saying you treated 50 patients per week through your student clinic, you could say you helped patients in your student clinic with a wide variety of concerns including sports injury, surgical recovery, chronic pain and other musculoskeletal issues reduce their pain and improve their function. The more specifics you can offer that will differentiate you from your peers, the better.
- Include concrete examples. If you have any examples of additional courses you’ve taken or unique populations you’ve worked with, be sure to include them in your application materials. Be specific about what massage therapy skills you gained, and use concrete examples when explaining your soft skills. For example, if you have strong customer service skills, provide an example of when you used those skills, for example when you successfully resolved a conflict.
- Don’t forget about your “unrelated” experience. Whether you’ve just graduated from a massage therapy program, or you’re about to start a second career in massage therapy, you likely have professional experiences that aren’t directly related to the massage therapy profession. This doesn’t mean those experience are irrelevant when you attempt to get a massage therapy job. If you have experiences related to things like customer service, organization, marketing or financial management, ,these skills are relevant and beneficial to a massage therapy career so you should emphasize your experiences in these areas, even if the experiences came from an “unrelated” job.
- Practice and Prepare. There are common questions that are asked at a large percentage of interviews. Thinking about your answers to those questions as well as practicing them with a friend or family member will help you be more confident in interviews and more able to share your experiences with your interviewers. Some examples of common interview questions include why you want to work at that particular business, why you think you would be a good fit, how you would deal with a conflict with a patient or colleague, and ideas you have to attract new patients. You can also prepare by researching the clinic, spa or fitness centre that you’re applying to so you’re knowledgeable about their general business model.
- Tailor your application to the job. A job at a small multi-disciplinary clinic would be very different than a job at a large spa, so you wouldn’t apply the same way. You should have one base resume that you work off for every massage therapy job, and can edit some specifics of your resume based on the particular position you’re applying for. For example, for a job at a multidisciplinary clinic, you might want to highlight other health professionals you’ve worked with successfully in the past, and for a job at a fitness centre you can highlight your past experiences with athletes. Your cover letter should also be tailored to why you’d be a good fit for the specific job you’re applying for.
- Don’t be afraid to show personality. A resume and cover letter are professional documents, and you should proofread them carefully to ensure good spelling, grammar and formatting. However, many people tend to be overly formal in their application materials to the point where they can sound boring. You shouldn’t be afraid of showcasing your personality which can help differentiate you from other qualified applicants and help the hiring manager determine if you’d be a good fit for their team. You can include things like areas of massage therapy that you’re passionate about and outline how elements of your personality (e.g. being naturally collaborative), have helped you in specific scenarios in your past experience. You should use the same sort of language you’d use to describe the job to a fellow RMT you’re friendly with.
- Structure your answers. It’s likely in an interview, you’ll be asked “Tell me about yourself”. This question can seem open ended, with many possible answers, but if you use the PAWS format when answering you can get craft a stronger answer. This includes personal information such as why you want the job, academic information including specific relevant courses you’ve taken, relevant work experience you have and any additional relevant or transferable skills. Your interviewer will also likely ask you how you would handle certain situations and you can respond using the STAR method. This is where you explain the details of the situation, the tasks that needed to be accomplished, the actions you took to accomplish those tasks, and the result of your actions.
- Have a two way conversation. Although you’re being evaluated for your potential fit for the team, you should be evaluating the job to ensure it fits with your goals. In the initial stages of the application, if you see something that concerns you such as the type of advertising used, or a common treatment philosophy among the RMTs already working there, you can ask about it and determine if it’s a deal breaker. You should also ask questions at the end of an interview to both reinforce your interest in the position and ensure you have the information you need to decide whether you’d accept a position at that organization. Good questions after an interview include “How would you describe the current culture of the workplace?”, “What do you like best about working here?” or “What do you find most challenging about working here?” You shouldn’t be looking for just any job, you should be looking for the job that’s right for you.
Looking for you’re a new massage therapy job can be exciting. There are many opportunities for RMTs available across Ontario, in a wide range of practice environments. Each practice environment and practice individual location has their own pros and cons and their own culture. This list aims to help you evaluate all the opportunities out there to determine which opportunity is best for you, while helping you perfect your application material and interview technique to get your ideal position.