Written by Maria Janotta, Associate Director of Career Services, Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud
Trista Winans, a graduate in the medical assistant program at Minnesota School of Business in St. Cloud, chose to become a medical assistant because she really enjoyed working with people. She always found the medical field fascinating and liked to learn and do new things. She knew working in health care would give her the variety she needed. She also knew she wanted a school with small class sizes where she would be a person rather than a number, so she chose Minnesota School of Business. Trista liked that her instructors had work experience in the field so they would be able to give her advice on what it is really like to be a medical assistant.
Trista is currently employed as a certified medical assistant (CMA) with Health Partners Clinic in Sartell. She started getting serious about finding a job about three months before graduation. She applied anywhere and everywhere that was hiring in the health care field. She started out trying to find jobs mostly in her field, and when she wasn’t getting the responses that she wanted, she took a step back and started applying for the jobs that could give her experience.
Trista had worked in retail management for eight years, so she had no health care experience other than her six-week internship she completed as part of her education at Minnesota School of Business. She understood she would have to start at the bottom and work her way up. While in school, Trista had a friend who encouraged her to apply at BioLife Plasma Services. She applied and got a full-time position working as a Processing Technician. Trista worked at BioLife for only about a month when she started getting calls for CMA jobs she had applied for three months prior. It was at that time Trista accepted the CMA position at Health Partners.
Although Trista expected it would take time to find a job in her field, she didn’t expect that it would take three months for hiring clinics to get back to her. She thought they just weren’t interested, but eventually she heard from several places that she had applied at all at once.
“It took a lot of rejection and constant searching to get a job in my field,” Trista says. “Perseverance is important.”
Trista says that she was constantly utilizing the career services department at Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud. She emailed the staff there and asked questions, kept them updated on her interviews, received advice on how to tweak her resume when it didn’t seem to be working, and got feedback that really helped her gain the confidence she needed to keep applying for jobs and going to interviews.
She also checked the Minnesota School of Business jobs website weekly and constantly searched for jobs on her own. She says she always knew there was a staff member there that was on her side and working just as hard to help her get where she wanted to be.
Trista’s future plans include working full-time at Health Partners for a few years to gain experience in the field. Eventually Trista would like to go back to school and become an X-ray technician.
She has some free advice for students looking toward graduation and the job search: “Perseverance will get you anywhere you want to go. Use your resources; don’t give up, and be confident in yourself and your abilities.”