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7 Ways to Advance your Public Health Career

  1. Update your LinkedIn profile

You’ve heard it everywhere, and it’s true. People look you up these days – from new employers, to coworkers, to HR recruiters. Everyone wants to know who they are speaking to/about.

Having an updated LinkedIn profile will help you to network and meet peers in your space. Having an updated profile builds credibility for you. You can use LinkedIn as a channel to connect with other public health professionals and inquire about their career journey or the organization they work at.

Always remember, your network is your net worth!

  1. Join a Board or Committee

Did you know that municipalities, not-for-profit organizations and even professional organizations have openings for board of directors or committee members?

By joining a board or committee, not only will you build on a number of skills (i.e. leadership, communication, critical thinking), you will be able to network with other leaders in your space.

Look for public health not-for-profit organizations, health committees on municipality boards, or even conference planning committees in your space and apply to them.

  1. Get Social, on Twitter

In a short time being on Twitter, you will notice that a lot of prominent leaders in public health, as well as public health organizations around the world, are very active Twitter users!

To start off, you can simply follow people and/or organizations, and engage with their content (i.e., “liking” and “retweeting”). By doing this, you reap the benefits of being on top of public health news and come to know of great opportunities they share.

Pro tip: schedule about 5 to 10 minutes each day to spend time on Twitter and to engage with the content!

  1. Look back, so you can look forward

Write, write, and write some more so that you can reflect.

Writing about your career journey helps you to reflect, and is an important part of moving ahead in your career. With constant reflections, you become more aware about the daily choices you are making, and will make! There are a number of ways you can do this:

Journaling is one way to reflect. It is an amazing experience to get into your head and think about things you don’t regularly think about. Do not make journaling a chore. It doesn’t have to be a frequent nor a long activity. It can be something you schedule (quarterly or daily) or something your do when you feel like it. You decide!

Another option for reflecting is to publish your thoughts. In today’s world there are so many outlets to do this. If you choose to take your reflections beyond your journal, you can consider one of these options: start your own blog or publish a post on LinkedIn

  1. Set public health career goals

Goal setting was so important when for a student, but it became even more important once you have graduated and entered the workforce.

When we are in school, there are pre-set goals that we all seem to follow: complete an undergraduate degree, apply to an MPH program, graduate from the master’s program, apply to jobs, and start working in the field. Simple and straightforward

But what happens once you achieve all of these pre-set goals?

Think about the public health experiences (or goals) you want to have/achieve in the next 1, 5, 10, and 20 years as stops you want to make throughout your drive (things will probably change year to year, and that’s okay). The route you take to reach the stops will be determined by you and will be different for each person. The key is having a direction for your journey.

  1. Stand out & shine

 How can you add value to your organization and make yourself stand out? And valued?

Be that one person in your organization that everyone recognizes as the go-to for innovation and advancement. When your team thinks about you, be known as the person who is knowledgeable of any new advancements in public health, technology, and/or skills. Be irreplaceable.

In order to do this well, you need to first, and most importantly, recognize your strengths and what you enjoy (since you are going to be investing in it, and be called upon when the topic comes up). To be on top of new trends in your area, start investing in yourself:

  • Stay engaged in current news/ advancements within the topic area via Twitter, newsletters, and even universities. You don’t want to miss the newest trends.
  • Strengthen your skills through online courses – keep learning! Here are two examples of skill advancement courses.


  1. Keep a win list

When you accomplish something at work, big or small, or when you have new experiences, make sure you add it to your list.

A win list is so important because we can easily forget the great work we have done over the years. Beyond acting as a great motivation, your “win” list will especially come in handy when you need to write a cover letter for a job, prepare for an interview, or need to pitch yourself to prospective employers.

You can keep your “win” list simply on a Google Docs, and have written everything from how well you have handled difficult situations at work, to mini wins; and also, a little bit about how you have felt after these situations.

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