Now that you have your nursing degree, you’re ready to start your career! How can you find you find the position for you?
Step 1: The Resume
A well-written resume sells you to the potential employer, highlighting your abilities and accomplishments in a way that is relevant to the job. Because nursing is a competitive field, make sure your resume stands out by making it professional. Use heavy-weight linen or cotton rag paper in cream or white, with a plain, readable font. There are many good resume books with effective examples and templates; find one directed specifically to healthcare and craft a resume that emphasizes skills medical professionals are looking for. Target each resume to the position by avoiding vague objectives such as “I want to work in a large hospital.” “I am seeking a position as an RN in obstetrics” is a better choice. Relate non-medical job experience to nursing and include volunteer positions, academic achievements, and applicable skills, such as fluency in a foreign language. Ensure your contact information is complete and accurate and, most importantly, be honest! A “padded” resume won’t land the job or, if it does, will eventually get you fired.
Step 2: The Job Search
Decide which area of health care suits your needs, education, and interest. Do you want to work for a large or small hospital? Do you like working with the elderly? Would you prefer working in a school or physician’s office? What hours do you prefer? Do you want to stay in town or relocate? Target your search accordingly. Use contacts you made when doing your clinicals, and check with your school’s career services office. You can find some medical jobs advertised in the newspaper and approach physician offices or local nursing homes directly. However, your best option may be to search online. Every hospital website has a career section listing dozens of nursing jobs; often, a hospital manages doctor’s offices and clinics and hires for them as well. You can also investigate general sites such as Nursingjobs.org, Nurse.com, and Medhunters.com.
Step 3: The Interview Process
It won’t be long before you land your first interview. Here are some tips to make sure it is successful.
Be early. This shows you will be on-time and conscientious. Avoid plenty of travel time to allow for traffic problems, lack of parking, etc. Being early will also give you time to freshen up and find the office.
Be professional. Dress neatly in a clean, business-like outfit. Be well-groomed, but remember, this is an interview, not a date.
Be prepared. Research the hospital, company, or practice, so you can ask intelligent questions and direct your interview responses to the employer’s needs.
Be positive. Be friendly, confident, and interested.
Be polite. After the interview, send a brief thank-you note and repeat your interest in the position.
Finally, be patient. Every job search takes time. But with your degree, a good resume and solid interview skills, you’ll find a challenging and rewarding career in nursing.