Alright. You’ve just graduated from Nursing school full of hope and massive ambition. Heck, you even heard about nursing shortage and all that jazz. So here you are, feeling like an invincible nurse at the right place and at the right time.
And then reality hits you:
Getting a nursing job right after graduation isn’t that easy. And the more you realize this, the more anxious you feel about your future.
Now, don’t fret.
The nursing shortage in the United States is expected to continue through 2030. And it’s probably the same case for a lot of countries around the world.
So how do you find a job?
There are strategies you can do to make the most out of your present situation. Whether you’re a veteran nurse out of job or a newbie nurse looking for opportunities, take the time to get to know the following job hunting tips by heart:
1. Always put your best foot forward.
Opportunities not only knock once. They can also come when you least expect it.
To make sure you will not be caught off guard, always update your resume. Show a professional attitude and apply effective communication skills wherever you go. For all you know, that person you’ve just befriended online might be an HR representative holding the key to your dream job.
2. Consider a nursing specialty.
While you have plenty of it, why not use your time to figure out what you want? This is especially true if you’re planning to specialize in a field. There are plenty of options that await those who are willing to work. Also, nurses with a specialty are also among the highest-paid in the industry.
3. Don’t be desperate.
In most cases, getting the wrong job can be worse than not having a job at all.
For example, most recent graduates are too impatient to get a nursing job that they just end up toiling away in a clerical position or in a job that doesn’t really make use of their degree. It might be a good decision if you only do it temporarily but if you accept a long-term job out of desperation, then you’re giving yourself more harm than good.
This is also true when you’re searching for an actual nursing job. If a position consistently shows vacancies for a long period of time, do some background check right away. It may be due to poor management skills or something more terrible. Either way, always bring your common sense and instinct with you during your job search.
4. Do your homework.
Neither your employers nor the HR department owes you anything. If you want to get a job, get your butt off that chair and start putting in some effort. Submit as many resumes as you can to your target hospitals and always do your assignments.
Prior to any interviews, do a background check of the hospital and the specific area where you want to work. Carefully write your goals on your resume and practice answering questions that you might encounter during the interview process.
By doing so, you are showing your potential employers that you have the initiative and professionalism to succeed in your job.
5. Go beyond online job search.
Simply put, don’t just rely on your online search when looking for a nursing job. Yes, nursing job boards are extremely helpful nowadays but by going directly to your hospital of choice, you will be one step ahead of other candidates. Remember, competition is getting tougher and tougher so you have no choice but to go the extra mile.
6. Set your priorities straight.
If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
This is also true when starting your nursing job search. It’s not just enough to apply for practically any nursing job you come across.
Remember, you should follow three simple steps: READY, AIM, FIRE. Start by setting your short- and long-term goals. You can then customize your job search according to your career plans, salary expectations, and other related factors.
7. Polish up your resume.
Your resume and cover letter are two of the most crucial tools in your arsenal. So don’t EVER take them for granted.
Make sure you update all the relevant information as often as you can. You can showcase your skills by putting your most important achievements in nursing school or, in the case of experienced nurses, your most recent job experience. It will also benefit your chances of getting hired by customizing your resume and cover letter based on the health care setting you’re applying to.
8. Expand your network.
In a very competitive industry such as nursing, what you know may matter less than who you know.
In other words, isolating yourself from your peers can haunt you later as you search for your next nursing job. This is why expanding your network both within the nursing school and workplace can benefit your career on a long-term basis.
Most of the time, nurses get jobs either by referrals or job alerts they wouldn’t get without the help of their networks. You can also expand your professional network by joining online Nursing groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Just don’t forget that networking is all about “give and take”; People won’t help you find jobs if you’re not even willing to offer help in the first place.
9. Ask questions.
Forget your pride and start tapping into your network. Accept the fact that there a lot of experienced nurses who came before you. So instead of sulking in one corner, why not build connections instead?
Seasoned nurses both have the network and experience to help you find a job. And even if they fail to give you actual nursing jobs, their two cents on how to survive nursing unemployment can only get you far.
10. Never give up.
Lastly, don’t forget that persistence and patience alone will help you through this difficult period. Remember, nothing lasts forever–not even nursing unemployment which can stretch anywhere from 6 to 12 months.
So keep your chin up and always maintain a positive attitude. You might be a few steps away from your dream nursing job for all you know.