If you’re about to graduate nursing school, or if you’ve been out of the swing of things for a while, then you’re probably wondering how you’re going to find a job. In this article and video, I’m going to give some tips on how to get a job, regardless of whether you’re straight out of nursing school or a nursing veteran.
Before I begin, I’d just like to point out the “catch-22” that often occurs with new graduates. On one hand, employers say they want to hire nurses with experience. On the other hand, how does a nurse get experience unless someone is willing to hire them? It’s a catch-22. Fortunately, there are ways to get a job straight out of college.
Tips for Getting a Job Straight Out of Nursing School
First, you absolutely need to NETWORK! Networking isn’t always easy, especially if you’re an introvert (like me!). However, it can definitely pay off. Who do you network with? Here’s your network list:
- Teachers. Teachers can help you in two ways. First, they can offer you letter of recommendation or reference. This can be helpful when you submit your resume or apply for a job. In fact, it may give you the edge you need to get the job. Second, teachers often go to conventions or network with local employers. They may be able to put in a good word for you at a local healthcare agency. Therefore, take time to get to know your professors, especially in those classes in which you perform well.
- Students. Networking with other students can pay off in big ways. First, some students may find a job before you do. In that case, they may be able to put in a good word for you. Furthermore, some of your peers may end up being your manager 5 years down the line. Therefore, get to know some of your fellow nursing students.
- Clinicals. Clinicals represent one of the best opportunities you have to network. During clinicals, you’ll be working in rotations at local healthcare facilities. When you find an area of nursing you love, it’s important that you talk to the managers and let the know that you really enjoy that area of nursing, and that you’ll be graduating soon. You may even want to give them a copy of your resume.
- Job Fairs. Job fairs are a great way to meet people. Employers often hold job fairs at local universities. This is a key opportunity to meet with them and give them a copy of your resume. Remember to always dress professionally, and take several copies of your resume when you attend a job fair. Furthermore, job fairs are not only for students. Healthcare companies often advertise for public job fair opportunities.
- University Job Placement Programs. Finally, many universities will have “job placement” programs to help students become employed. This is a great resource because they often have connections with local employers. They may be able to help you submit your resume, or even setup an interview. Don’t overlook this resource!
Other Nursing Job Resources
If you can’t use the above resources because you’re no longer a student, there are still plenty of other resources to help you find a job.
- Online Job Boards. You can see whether there are employers hiring in your region, and what salaries they may be offering. Monster.com and Indeed.com are two popular job boards.
- Contact Employers Directly. Advertising for jobs can get expensive, so many employers simply list job openings on their own website. It’s a great idea to get a local directory or phone book, and then search for all of the local healthcare employers. Make a list, and then visit their website. Most will allow you to search jobs or even submit a resume electronically.
- Search Classifieds. Many employers will use classified ads to alert locals of job openings. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check out the local newspaper (or online news classifieds). You can also use websites such as Craigslist.org. Just beware that there are a lot of dangerous scams on that site. You can also search other job boards like Monster.com.
- Attend Nursing Conventions/Associations. If you’ve been out of the swing of things, consider attending a nursing convention or association. This is a great way to network and meet other nurses. You can make it known that you’re looking for work, and you may even find some potential employers that will hire you.
- Move. The worst case scenario is that you may consider moving to find your dream nursing job, but this is usually unnecessary.
Conclusion: Nursing Jobs are Out There!
It can be easy to get discouraged if you don’t find a job right away. However, keep in mind that nursing still has a fantastic career outlook for the next decade or so, and many areas are still experiencing shortages and/or high demand for nurses.
I hope these tips can help you on your job search, and I hope you land your dream nursing job with a nice sign-on bonus and high salary!