4 steps to landing your first nursing job

Landing your first nursing job may seem like an insurmountable task, but with some hard work, you should be able to find a place to begin your career. Although some areas are experiencing job shortages for nurses, some areas need as many as they can get.

One think you should consider is taking a job in a different region. If you can’t find a job around you, you may need to move to a different region or state to find your first job.

For many this is not possible, and you will have to work with the resources you have. That said, you can still find a job near you if you follow these crucial steps.

1. Pass Your Boards

The first order of business is to pass your boards. Although some facilities higher new grad nurses who are on their temporary permit, you will look far more attractive if you’ve already passed NCLEX.

Another reason to get the boards out of the way is that the information will still be fresh in your mind if you take it right after school. Honestly, the best way to pass the test is to put as little time between your school and the exam.

Fully licensed nurses are more likely to get a job than someone who doesn’t have the qualifications yet. This means, for the employer, that they don’t have to worry about finding a place for you if you fail boards and need to retake them.

2. Cast a Wide Net

Sure, you may have your dream job, but sometimes that job just isn’t available in your area. You need a job, though, so you have to take what you can get and bide your time.

Even if you are not particularly interested in the work that is available, it will give you valuable experience for when the job you want opens up. This means that you have to cast a wide net and apply at every facility within reasonable driving distance.

You may find that you don’t like the job that you have, but it will help you to clarify what you do want. If you end up in a nursing home and don’t like it, you will know to refine your search in the future . . . but you will still be earning money and experience.

3. Create a Comprehensive Resume

Resumes may be difficult for nurses, but it is vital to have an eye catching calling card when sending resumes to HR personnel. This doesn’t mean that you should send it on purple paper, but you should take some things into account.

You need to highlight your experience most of all, and this doesn’t mean school clinical experience. If you’ve done anything in your life remotely nurse or medical related, make sure it is front and center in your resume

Also, list the other jobs you’ve had to prove that you show up on time and can be relied on. This will make the difference between you and other possible applicants.

4. Interview Professionally

Finally, you want to project a professional persona if you get an interview. Dress nicely, arrive on time, and answer questions truthfully.

You may want to look at some books of frequently asked interview questions and prepare positive answers. For instance, you will likely be asked about your strengths and weaknesses, and it is good to have a solid reply for that.

In the end, finding your first job out of nursing school can be challenging, but it is not impossible. You may need to look for a long time before something opens up, but it will and you can start your career at last.


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