You've completed your RN training, taken and passed the NCLEX-RN, and received your RN license. At long last, it is finally time to search for jobs. While nursing jobs are readily available in most areas, newly graduated nurses often struggle to find positions that work for them. All too often, they rush into accepting the first job they find, or they are too picky and turn down great options. Read on for some great tips for getting a job as a new grad nurse.
- Volunteer - If possible, volunteer at local healthcare facilities while completing your RN training. That way, you will have some experience in the healthcare field, and it will help you stand out from other applicants. In addition to gaining experience, volunteering is an excellent way to forge important connections.
- Get Involved - In most metro areas, professional nursing organizations have local chapters that tend to be quite active. Check to see if any of them are active in your area. The Association of Nurse Executives, or AONE, and the American Nurses Association are just a few examples. Most of the time, non-members are allowed to attend as guests. While attending chapter meetings, introduce yourself around and do as much networking as you can.
- Get Out There - Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming nursing- and healthcare-related hiring events. Since nursing is such a huge field, it's not unusual for job fairs, conventions, and conferences to be held in many metro areas. These events can help you become aware of available nursing positions, and they allow you to engage in a little networking as well.
- Have Goals - As a brand-new nurse, you can't afford to be too picky. Still, you'll have an easier time finding the right job when you have clear career goals in mind. Think back to your clinical training. Which types of patients did you enjoy working with the most? Were you drawn toward certain specializations like pediatrics or gerontology? Look for jobs that let you explore your interests.
- Be Flexible - While it is important to seek a nursing job that coincides with your long-term career aspirations, it's also important to remember that you are at the bottom of the ladder. All too often, new nurses are so picky that they turn down virtually every job that they run across. Remember, until you gain more experience, you may have to compromise by taking jobs that don't quite meet your ideals in terms of pay or other factors.
- Make The Most Of Clinical Training - If you are still completing nursing school, make the most of your clinical training experiences. These are typically conducted at local healthcare facilities, where you will work with experienced nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers. Be friendly and get to know as many of them as you can. Those connections may come in handy later.
- Write A Unique Cover Letter - After putting together a great resume, increase your odds of being considered by including a unique cover letter. In other words, don't use the same generic letter for every employer. Instead, customize each one to reflect the unique aspects of the position that you're applying for.
- Deliver Your Resume Personally - These days, you can apply for most jobs from the comfort of home. However, emailing a resume is a good way to end up another nameless person in a huge list of applicants. Whenever possible, deliver your resume personally. When applying at hospitals, ask to see the head nurse and give them your resume directly. You are far less likely to be ignored or passed over with this technique.
- Apply Before You Graduate - If possible, start applying for RN jobs while you are still completing nursing school. This is not an unheard-of practice, as many aspiring nurses line up jobs before they even graduate. Doing this will give you a preview of what the local job market is like, and it will increase your odds of landing a job immediately after graduation, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, and getting licensed.
- Have A Good Attitude - Even if you look terrific on paper, you also need to be a good "fit" for any employer that considers you. When attending networking events, volunteering, sitting for interviews, or otherwise engaging in job-hunting activities, have a good attitude. Show others that you're a team player and that you're someone who they would like to work with.
As you can see, there is a lot that any newly graduated nurse can do to increase their odds of finding gainful employment after graduation. Keep the above tips in mind so that you can hopefully find the right job fast.