How to Start Your Senior Living Career Today
Senior living communities are located in nearly every town across the country. In fact, you probably know where one is or pass by one on your way to work without realizing it. If you’ve ever wondered if a career in senior living could be for you, we’re here to give you some good news: Senior living community leaders are ready and eager to meet you!
There are many careers available, and multiple career paths await in a senior living community. Even better, having years of experience in the field is not always as important as a true heart for working with older adults.
Ready to jumpstart your senior living career or research what getting started might entail? We’ve got your action plan prepared so you can make a senior living career a reality. We’re cheering you on!
Prepare for Your Senior Living Career
The first step in launching your career in senior living is to understand what types of positions are available. Although some people hear senior living and automatically think of caregivers and nurses, there are plenty of other positions available in communities that serve residents in other ways. It takes a variety of people sharing their talents in order to give residents a positive experience in their senior living home.
Get to know the senior living field.
Take time to get to know more about senior living in general, especially if you are new to the field. Senior living communities offer a stable work environment with opportunities for advancing to management roles and as the baby boomer generation continues to age, senior living communities aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
You can get to know more about senior living, including what types of senior living lifestyle options are available, in order to prepare for your interview and to see if you are interested in working in certain types of communities. For example, you might realize that assisted living sounds like the perfect blend of building relationships and working with an interdisciplinary team, making it ideal for you. You can also research more about what it is like to work in a senior living community so that you are able to determine if this is the career you can see yourself in for years to come.
Figure out how your skills and talents fit in.
If you aren’t quite sure what position might be best for you, take time to jot down your talents and hopes. What are you great at? What do people often compliment you on? These could be the start of developing your next job in a senior living community.
For example, if you love to be organized and the life of the party, you might excel in the life enrichment department. If you have always had a heart for working with seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, a role in memory care might suit you best. Love to cook? The dining department at any senior living community is always looking for creative foodservice professionals. Prefer to help others stay organized and greet visitors? A concierge or front desk position could be perfect for you.
Search for senior living communities near you and look at the current positions they have available. Then compare your list of talents and hopes to the requirements for each position. You’ll likely find a match and know which position to research more.
Look for the right local opportunities.
Finally, research the senior living communities you are looking at for possible employment. Not all senior living communities are created equal.
You want a community that believes in serving its employees with care, just as they do with their residents. You also want to find a workplace that offers great pay, benefits, and other perks, including internal promotions. Once you find a community that looks great and a position that looks intriguing, it’s time to apply.
Apply and Follow Up
Applying to a senior living community is an exciting step in starting your senior living career. Be sure to make a good first impression by applying with the right information for the right job.
Prep and submit your resume.
First, review your education and qualifications to make sure they align with the senior living job description’s requirements. Then complete the online application as thoroughly and completely as possible.
Remember to add jobs or volunteer roles that you have had that demonstrate certain skills, like patience, organization, working with diverse populations, or a desire to serve. Don’t forget to include all current contact information like your cell phone number and email address. Double-check those for accuracy before you submit.
After you send in your application, wait a few days before following up. A quick email to the hiring manager at the senior living community can show that you are interested in the position and looking forward to hearing from them.
Be ready for the interview.
If you do get a call requesting an interview, congratulations! You’re one step closer to your senior living job.
An interview can feel stressful, but it is a wonderful time to talk more about your passion for serving others, your talents, and your qualifications. Make the most of your interview process by answering questions thoughtfully. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to think about your answer before saying it aloud.
An interview isn’t just for the senior living community to get to know you—it’s also a chance for you to get to know the community. Use your time in the community to ask questions of your own and to make observations. Do the residents look well cared for? Are team members interacting genuinely with one another and with residents? These small observations can help you determine if this is a community where you would feel proud to work.
Ask plenty of questions during your interview. For example, ask about the community’s mission and its commitment to residents. If you find yourself in a Cedarhurst Senior Living community, you’ll surely learn about our mission to create communities where each person feels loved, valued, supported, and able to live life to the fullest. You’ll also learn more about our commitment to Living TRUE℠, the program, services, and approach we take to meet our mission and best serve our residents and team members.
Don’t forget to follow up!
Finally, follow up with a thank-you email within a few days after your initial interview. You can use that email to ask any follow-up questions you might have as well as to invite the hiring manager to ask you any follow up questions they may have. Hopefully, your interview will have been a success, creating a positive match between you and your senior living community employer. If you get the job, it’s time to get started with your new career!
It’s Time to Get Started
Once you’re hired for a senior living position, it’s time to begin your orientation and training. Most senior living communities have mandatory topics they want to cover with all new hires, including specific safety policies, tips about community culture, and information about resident-centered care. You’ll likely get paired up with an experienced team member, as well, so you can shadow them and learn by watching them work.
Take this training time seriously and ask questions. Working in senior living means always learning something new, which is exciting.
Ready to begin your career in senior living? If you’re looking for a senior living community filled with people who believe in valuing team members just as they value their residents, we invite you to learn more about Cedarhurst Senior Living and the positions we have available. We look forward to seeing your application!