Job hunting post cancer treatment

Survivorship specialist, Dr Kgomotso Mzimba, provides useful tips to make the process of job hunting post cancer treatment easier.


A diagnosis of cancer can disrupt a patient’s life profoundly. Not only does it affect a patient’s life but it also affects their family life, interpersonal relationships and careers. 

One of the many implications that a cancer patient may face is the question of financial and job security. 

There are many reasons why a patient may need to search for a job post cancer treatment. The first is that the patient may not have been able to keep their previous job due to treatment and procedures they underwent, making them unable to work full time. Possibly, due to the treatment and the side effects thereof, the patient may no longer be able to fulfil certain duties that may be physically demanding. Or perhaps a patient might feel that it’s time for a fresh start and with that a career change. 

Whatever the reason may be, job hunting can be a daunting and stressful task. Here are useful tips to make the process smoother and preferably enjoyable.  

Know yourself

There are certain questions that you will need to answer before you proceed with your search. Firstly, what are your interests and passions? These may still be the same or may have changed greatly post treatment. Your passions and interests should align with the career that you’re looking in to.

Secondly, what are your goals? What are you hoping to achieve? Is it mainly to gain financial remuneration or is this possibly a career that you would like to establish yourself in? Know your strengths and weaknesses and use both to your benefit.

Be realistic

Once you have answered those crucial questions, this next step for job hunting should be a lot easier. This is where you need to be honest with yourself about your abilities and limitations. 

Survivorship is a long and never-ending process. Although you may have completed treatments, some treatments may have lasting physical and mental effects. This can cause limitations to the jobs which you can apply for.

Also consider how many hours you can work and if you are willing to work any overtime. Do you want to work part-time or full-time? Do you have the necessary skills and experience required for the job? All these considerations will help to narrow your search. 

Ensure that you are a desirable candidate

You can do this by gaining and learning new skills which help to build your CV. Your CV should be continuously updated with various skills and experiences you have achieved. 

The CV is an important document when applying for a job. You need to ensure that it has all your correct information. Many HR specialists have said that one of the many reasons why potential employees don’t get called back is due to their CV. 

So, when creating your CV, it’s important to ensure that you use the correct format, and have truthful information. There are many resources online to help with writing a CV the correct way.

Create a LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already. If you have, make sure your profile is updated. Many companies and employers use LinkedIn to scout out potential employees. Therefore, it’s vital that your business profile stands out and that you use it optimally. Your LinkedIn profile can also be used as a tool for networking.

Set a timeline

There’s no better time to start than now. Setting a timeline with goals ensures that you keep yourself accountable during your job search. Research various opportunities that are available in your chosen field and begin to start sending your CV to potential employees. 

Follow up with potential job opportunities accordingly. You should also be using this time to gain new skills which may be beneficial. There are a lot of online courses available that one can do. This will prove favourable for your CV.

Accepting rejection

While going through this process, it’s important to realise that you may encounter rejection. However, you shouldn’t allow that to get you down. Rather use the rejection as a learning experience and realise that every rejection is one step closer to getting that acceptance letter. 

The job search process is in no way easy and there may be disappointments. It’s important to always take care of not only your physical but mental health during this process. Best of luck!

Dr Kgomotso Mzimba is a primary oncology care physician/survivorship specialist. She did her undergrad at UCT and post-graduating she spent time working at Helen Joseph Hospital Breast Clinic. She currently works at Netcare Milpark Breast Care Centre of Excellence.

MEET THE EXPERT – Dr Kgomotso Mzimban

Dr Kgomotso Mzimba is a primary oncology care physician/survivorship specialist. She did her undergrad at UCT and post-graduating she spent time working at Helen Joseph Hospital Breast Clinic. She currently works at Netcare Milpark Breast Care Centre of Excellence.


Header image by Freepik

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