Job Seekers

Smart Job Seeking Strategies for Recent Medical Coding School Graduates Without Experience

You are a new medical coding training school graduate and find yourself in a catch 22 situation: you want a job and doctors want experience; you don’t have experience and no one wants to hire you, let alone, give you a chance without it… so, you are pondering how you can convince potential employers to hire you without medical coding experience, since experience is what you need. You feel like a hamster going round and round in a wheel, no experience, no job, no job, no experience.

Your success starts in school, so some of the best advice we can give is for you to excel in class! By doing so, ask your instructor for a letter of reference. If you are a graduate that had 100% attendance, 100% with homework turned in and going into the final test with a score of 80% or better, a letter of reference from your instructor can go a long way and be more effective than just submitting your school transcripts. Employers don’t usually read and understand them, but they read and value letters of recommendations.

Upon successful completion of the vocational training program, sit for a recognized certification exam, which is another boost to help you get hired faster. Most doctors, when they hire often want a medical coder who is certified as well. So, consider taking one of the medical coding and billing certification exams offered by recognized professional certification sponsors.

Temporary Jobs and Externships

Many who have not yet graduated from their medical assistant program are looking for an internship (paid) or externship site (without pay) in a medical office to gain much needed experience, solidify learned skills and hopefully get their foot in the door toward a permanent job. Temp agencies, recruiters and staffers can cut out the leg work and quickly connect medical assistants with a fitting job for complete novices, or for someone who is already experienced in the field. Temporary assignments can range from a few hours to a couple of years, but are not considered permanent. While there always is the chance that the temporary position may lead to a permanent one, keeping this in mind means keeping your eyes and ears open for something that is long term, or permanent.

Typical Requirements for a Medical Coding Job:

  • Strong aptitude for detail, and ability to work independently
  • Strong organizational and problem solving skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Computer skills (Word Perfect, Microsoft Windows, etc.)
  • Graduation from an accredited training program
  • Knowledge of third party payer requirements
  • Certification is preferred

Pros & Cons of Temp Work Assignments


  1. Making a major difference to needy offices
  2. Learning and seeing new things
  3. Gaining varied experiences from different places
  4. Earning more, getting better hourly pay
  5. Meeting new people and making connections
  6. Flexibility and freedom to say no
  7. Work as much or as little as needed to get by
  8. A foot in the door for a future position


  1. Not knowing what is expected
  2. Working in an unfamiliar work environment
  3. Not being part of the established group
  4. Adjusting to a new setting and people
  5. Stressing out to do things right
  6. Having to perform tasks right off the bat
  7. Not receiving additional training
  8. Possibility to be taken off of the assignment any moment

According to the American Staffing Association, workers earn more per hour, in some instances considerably more than their permanent counterparts, however, they do not always qualify for benefit packages full time employees might enjoy. Temporary positions are available in many related fields, including health insurance billing, business administration and computers and data entry. Taking into consideration the pros and cons, temping can be the difference between getting by and not  until a permanent solution is found.

2 thoughts on “Job Seekers

    QUESTION: Hi there! I recently finished a medical billing and coding class and I would love to speak with some people who are experienced in this field. I am trying to get my first medical billing and/or coding job but am having a hard time. I’ve sent out many, many resumes and applications but no one wants to give me a chance without at least 1-2 years experience. What can I do?
    ANSWER: This is a question that comes up over, and over, and over not just for medical coders and billers. New vocational training school and program graduates are in the same catch-22 everywhere. When I first wrote my first article on this I called it the "no experience dilemma", however, many of the seasoned or "mature" adults who have been in the job marked for a while (working or looking) know that there are a few work-arounds to this dilemma. One is to not forget (and to make sure you include) other previous related jobs into your list of experience, even if it was as "little as" cashier at the local grocery store, clerk in your church, volunteer student newspaper editor, because that, too, IS customer service and secretarial experience and if you was good at it, it shows that you have what it takes to be professional, organized and dependable — that’s what counts (wouldn't you think?). When doctors hire, they also are BIG on letters of recommendations from previous employers, because one of their biggest concerns (and that is why so many want experience) truly is whether they are getting someone they can trust and someone who is "trainable". The latter you can prove by excelling in class, the previous you can prove by having excellent letters of recommendation and references. Good interview "survival" skills, a well written resume and cover letter and a positive attitude can work wonders when it comes to overcoming this "lack of experience" in medical coding dilemma.

  2. Perhaps a well written resume to closely match the specific medical coding (and billing?) job advertised could get your foot into the door. 

    Example Medical Coding Resume

    It is important that you, when applying for advertised positions, clearly express your desire to work hard and help the doctor run his practice efficiently and successfully in your resume and accompanying cover letter. Your claim and desire should be supported by documentation that attests to your eagerness and qualifications and show that you are cut out for the job. Documentation of experience, credentials and a flawless track record, as well as letters of recommendation from previous employers and statements that confirm your motivation will certainly impress a potential employer enough to place your resume high on the list of possible candidates for available positions.

    A Well Written Medical Coding Resume Example

    Hiring employers look at your education, years of experience, any specialty training you have and professional certifications. Any of these added to your resume is like a blinking job magnet that says: "Look at me! Hire me!"

    Therefore, highlight your years of job experience, current credentials and certifications and important qualifications such as specialty training in medical coding focused on IV therapy, ECG/EKG cardiology, emergency medicine, or hospital coding. Start sentences with "I and I am" and present tense verbs, such as "type 35 wpm, answer telephones, trained in emergency room coding and specialty medical coding, certified through AAPC."

    No one wants to wade through verbose language in a cover letter or resume. Blow are tested and proven resume writing tips that cut right to the heart of the matter.

    ·   Proficient in ICD-9, DRG, CPT-4 and HCPCS coding conventions and reimbursement rules

    ·   Knowledge of 3M encoder

    ·   RHIA/RHIT certification

    ·   Able to work evenings, weekends and holidays

    ·   Meditech experience

    ·   Strong interpersonal, written and oral communication skills

    ·   Proficient computer skills (MS Word, Excel and Outlook)

    So here you have it! Most doctors and facilities expect a certain amount of job experience when they hire someone new. Medical coding job applicants should add into their cover letter, that they are able to  timely review patient records in order to identify diagnosis and procedure codes that will accurately reflect the reason for admission, extent of care received and level of severity of illness, implement accurate coding of all inpatient services, procedures, diagnoses and conditions, working from the appropriate documentation in the medical record, explain policies and procedures and include any medical office management software skills you have, such as MediTech and Microsoft Word and Excel spreadsheet experience. Also add in that you are highly organized, able to pay attention to detail, and very good at multi-tasking and computer skills.

    Research Before You Write Your Medical Coding Resume

    The medical coding resume is an individualized summary of your experience and professionalism when you apply, therefore, before you write it, research what qualifications and duties the medical coding position entails and pay careful attention to what the job entails. Try to tailor your resume, as well as your cover letter, as much as possible toward it.

    Essential Elements:

    • Name
    • Contact address and phone numbers
    • Work history
    • Education history
    • Continuing professional development
    • Professional certifications/credentials
    • References

    Optional Elements:

    • Technical skills and qualifications
    • Awards/Recognitions
    • Certificates
    • Languages
    • Additional areas of professional interest
    • Letters of recommendation

    Objective Statement:

    Immediately below the top section of your resume (containing your name, address, etc.) add a short section expressing one of these: your professional objective, resume capsule, or career goal. Make sure you don't miss it and what ever you write, make it meaningful and directly geared toward the job.


    • "To obtain a position as a medical coder that offers both personal and professional growth."
    • "To obtain a permanent position as a medical coder in both, hospital in- and out-patient areas."
    • "To apply my practical medical office administrative and medical coding skills in all areas of the group practice."
    • "To utilize my vast experience in medical coding and billing procedures, medical clerical duties, and other duties as assigned. 

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