In this series, recent grads share their journey to landing that first job out of college. After years of studying and working toward a degree, these Panthers’ hard work paid off. Now they’re paying it forward by letting you know how they did it.
Name: Vidhya Keerthi Tirumalaraju
Hometown: Visakhapatnam, India
Degree/major: Master's of public health with a concentration in health policy and management.
Where are you working: I got my first job at Maryland Hospital Association as a health policy analyst in the Quality and Health Improvement department.
How did you get your job: I saw the job posting on LinkedIn and applied. I then had an initial telephone interview, which led to an in-person interview.
What was your greatest fear before attending an interview? The key to crack any interview is whether we fit into the organization well or not. My biggest fear was the same. Both the interviewer and interviewee will get an answer to this if the interviewee is being him/herself and honest. I have learned that an interview should be more of a conversation rather than a question-answer session. It goes well when we converse, make them laugh. It is very important to keep three professional references ready from your current supervisors who can best describe your work.
What surprised you the most about your first job? The Maryland Hospital Association is a non-profit organization doing excellent work since 1970. The organization advocates for hospitals and the health systems in the state of Maryland to improve the health of Marylanders. Staff members are highly talented with various health care experiences. They very kind, friendly and grounded. I am not from the area and feel like an outsider but there has not been even one day where they have treated me like an outsider. The professionalism at the workplace, equality, diversity and respect toward every staff member, in spite of the barriers, surprised me. I am glad to work for people with such empathy and kindness.
What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process? The initial steps would be getting the resumes and curriculum vitae ready. FIU's Career and Talent Development department is an excellent source that assists with job preparations; they offer mock interviews to make you ready for the world. I suggest my fellow Panthers fasten your seatbelts from the beginning of their last semester, because the process will require a lot of patience and determination especially for my fellow international students. I applied to more than 400 positions. Ultimately, the goal is not only to get a job, but to get “the dream job,” which justifies your major and concentration that you have worked hard to get all these years. Try to stay motivated from start to end and always believe in your instincts.
How does your job connect back to your coursework? As a health policy analyst, my job requires strong health policy skills, along with the synthesis of qualitative and quantitative data skills. I directly gained this knowledge from Evidence synthesis class with Benjamin C. Amick III, chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management.
What inspires you at your job the most? In my role, I have had the opportunity to improve, not just individual health, but the population's health, thus using my public health degree.