Top 10 Job Hunting Tips for Nurses

job hunting tips for nurses

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 is now freaking hard to do. Congratulations, dear! You are officially an unemployed nurse.


But don’t you fret. If you think that new nurses are the only ones suffering from unemployment blues, you’re totally wrong. One can blame it on baby boomers who have refused to retire due to economic crisis. Or perhaps it  is just an issue of unequal manpower distribution. Either way, both experienced and newbie nurses are now finding it harder to land nursing jobs. Which is rather strange given the fact that over 40% of the nursing workforce are expected to reach retirement age between 2010 and 2020.


So what is the missing link?


Although there are some factors you can’t just control, 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, it’s fine time to take 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. So to make sure you will not be caught off guard, always update your resume, show 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 on 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. Certified nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) lead the pack with an average pay of as much as $143,700 per year. They are followed certified nurse midwives (CNMs), nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs).


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 some boring administrative positions. 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 on 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 job search.


4. Do your homework

Neither your employers nor the HR department owe 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 in 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.

Also Read: 10 Best Online Job Sites for Nurses

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 in your network. Accept the fact that here 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 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.


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