Nursing jobs are coveted spots, especially among the legions of new graduates. To secure employment as soon as you’ve graduated from nursing school requires a unique edge. While you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of competing with thousands of newly graduated and eager nurses, there’s several tips designed to propel you from classroom to nursing unit.
New Graduate Nursing Job Hunting Blunders to Avoid!
Sometimes, the best way to learn what to do is to understand what NOT to do. This is especially true when dealing with new graduate nursing jobs. While you may be excited to demonstrate your refined skills, if you go about demonstrating these skills incorrectly, you may find yourself clutching a freshly printed degree with no job.
Here are some of the biggest job hunting blunders you should avoid at all costs throughout your new graduate nursing job hunt:
#1 – Listing Too Much Information on Your Resume
This is one of the most common issues most new grads encounter, and it’s completely understandable. After all, you’ve spent years of your life dedicated to learning and growing as a nurse. Throughout this time, you’ve experienced a vast array of clinical hours.
While your time spent performing hours of intensive clinical work is vital to perform the tasks and responsibilities, listing excessive information on your resume is actually counterproductive.
You may assume that delivering a novel of a resume boosts your chances of getting hired. Unfortunately, this attempt to clearly demonstrate your expertise often backfires.
If you want to stand out from other applicants, be concise and succinct with resume details. Clearly demonstrate your experience and briefly highlight your most desirable achievements (as it relates to the job you’re applying for).
#2 – Applying for EVERY Nursing Job in the World
You’ve likely heard the saying, the widest net catches the most fish. However, this analogy shouldn’t be applied when sending out job applications.
One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to applying for nursing jobs is simply applying for every type of nursing position you can. Of course, you know you could perform the basic duties of the position, but this doesn’t mean you’re right for the job.
Throughout your training, you’ve likely been exposed to a variety of potential job environments. While working in a hospital, private practice or nursing facility may be the traditional career pathways, after becoming a licensed Registered Nurse, there are dozens of potential career paths.
Some of the most common jobs for newly graduated nurses include:
- Specialty Clinics
- Health Insurance Companies
- Schools and Universities
- Government Agencies
- Travel Nursing Agencies
- Home Health Care
- Rehabilitation Facilities
#3 – Overcoming the Need for Previous Experience
Probably one of the most frustrating experiences a newly graduated nursing student will encounter is the “requirement” of previous experience. This is incredibly confusing as most nursing jobs require years of experience. So, how does a newly graduated nursing student actually receive this experience if the only jobs available require previous work in this field?
The first step in overcoming this common predicament is speaking with the career center from your nursing school. Commonly, your school will have partnered with area hospitals and clinics who provide a specific number of annual jobs to newly graduated students.
You should also consider taking an internship or other entry-level job programs. There may be a time when you feel you’re overqualified for these types of positions, but as with many careers, taking on an internship is part of paying your dues.
Of course, if you’ve spent several years working as a Certified Nursing Assistant prior to starting nursing school, you should be able to leverage this experience and qualify for more high-level nursing jobs.
Lastly, you should consider becoming an on-call or temporary nurse. While these positions aren’t traditional full-time jobs, they will offer you hands-on experience as you continue to grow as a nurse.
#4 – Identify Work that Satisfies Your Future Career Goals
For most newly graduated nurses, the role of “Registered Nurse” is only an umbrella title. It’s not uncommon to eventually specialize in a specific branch of medicine.
Therefore, it’s imperative that the initial moves you make upon graduation help align you to achieve your long-term nursing goals. For example, if you want to secure employment as a labor and delivery nurse, you should consider starting your career by working in an obstetrician’s office. This not only positions you in a specialty clinic geared toward your ultimate goal, but provides hands-on experience necessary to eventually fall into your dream nursing job.
#5 – Don’t Rely on Job Applications Alone
The biggest mistake you can make as a new graduate, and one that could potentially be costly, is solely relying on job applications to secure employment.
Of course, job apps are part of the process of securing employment, but they are just one minor branch in the tree of success. Much like any other career, your ability to secure employment and find yourself in a rewarding position is directly related to your networking and self-marketing ability.
Spend time becoming involved in your local nursing organizations. Become active on LinkedIn and attend as many networking events as possible. If you aren’t sure where to begin, reach out to senior nurses that work where you wish to be employed. Ask to schedule an informational interview, which is a quick and no-pressure meeting geared toward gaining insights and explicit advice from a professional who’s already paid their dues.
#6 – Focus on Practicing Interview Skills
To say that careers are made in job interviews is an understatement. While the United States is suffering from a nurse shortage, this doesn’t mean you won’t be competing for your ideal position.
While it’s impossible to guarantee an amazing job interview, there are several ways you can bolster your chances. The most important of these is preparing for the interview by writing a list of answers to the most commonly asked job interview questions.
- Why did you decide to become a nurse?
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Describe an accomplishment and a failure, what did you learn?
- What are your ultimate career goals?
Much like every other element of being a nurse, preparation is paramount for a successful job interview.