Hiring Tips for Nurses: Landing Your First Healthcare Job

young nurse smiling and standing in front of a patient in the background. MEDIjobs

There are abundant employment opportunities for nurses looking for a healthcare job across the country. However, due to the number of qualified nurses who are postponing or returning from retirement; newly graduated nurses are struggling to find work due to a lack of experience. To help you make the most of your nursing skills and qualifications, here are our tips for landing your first healthcare job.

Use Nursing School Connections

One way to overcome a lack of nursing experience when applying for a healthcare job is to use the existing connections between your nursing school and local hospitals or healthcare facilities.

Attend recruitment events as often as possible. Check with the career center at your nursing school for job openings or even internship opportunities. Although you may be overqualified for a position as an intern, these positions offer opportunities for creating connections. Also helps demonstrating your skills and work ethic to potential employers. 

Use Targeted Job Searching

A career in nursing covers a vast range of positions at different types of facilities. So before jumping into the healthcare system, consider which is the right type of job for you and conduct some targeted research into your preferred field. 

Targeted job searching is a more efficient way to find the job you want. Begin by thinking about which areas of nursing interest you and offer you ample opportunity for advancement.

Consider which additional qualifications are necessary for your preferred field of nursing. Identify companies or hospitals that are at the top of your selected field. By targeting jobs that pique your interest, you naturally find a better fit with your potential employer rather than just sending out mass job applications. 

Tailor Your Resume to Your Job

Your nursing resume is the best piece of marketing material you have at your disposal. The key to creating a professional healthcare resume is to tailor the information in your resume to the job you want. Highlight your talents and skills but leave out unnecessary information that isn’t relevant to the job you are applying for. 

If you are using an electronic application, keep your resume and application clean and readable. This means no novelty fonts or confusing formats. Try to include a few relevant keywords in your application to help your resume get through any filtering software.

Potential employers and recruiters need to read hundreds of applications, so if they can’t skin through your application to get to the important information, they may overlook your resume. 

Be Willing to Start at the Bottom

Whether you are straight out of grad school or an experienced nurse looking for a career change, you must be willing, to begin with, an entry-level healthcare job.

Every healthcare facility has their own reason for requiring new recruits to start at the bottom. This is generally to observe your performance and leave room for advancement later on. Top-level job positions may also require interpersonal skills and connections that are only achieved with entry-level experience. 

Consider the Logistics of the Job Position

The location of the job position can have a significant impact on your ability to perform your job well and your job satisfaction.

Nurses work a range of shifts. If you also need to factor in an expensive or lengthy commute, then the position may not be right for you. 

However, if relocating is not an issue for you, there are many areas across the country that may have greater opportunities for employment, as well as offering more competitive salary packages

Do Not Focus on Compensation

Although a good salary is an important part of landing a great nursing job, as a graduate nursing student, it is a good idea not to make that your only focus.

Aim to build your career experience in world-class facilities with exceptional staff who can help further your nursing career by building your reputation.

Follow Up with Prospective Employers 

Once you have sent off your application, you may not receive a reply for several days. Wait between 1-2 weeks to allow your potential employer time to respond. However, it is essential not to wait too long for a reply in case you miss a good employment opportunity.

Make a brief but courteous email inquiry about when you could expect a response. Your next step is a short phone call. However, if after 2-3 queries you still haven’t received a reply, then send out another round of applications elsewhere. 

Prepare for Your Interview

Most employers make an initial phone call to prescreen you for the job interview. This is to ensure that you are a good fit for the company. Having some basic information prepared can help you to avoid any nervousness and help you make a good first impression. 

Ensure you have all your qualifications and licensing information on hand, and have answers ready for basic questions such as:

  • Why did you become a nurse?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you interested in a healthcare job at this company?

The Wrap UpLanding, your first job as a graduate nurse, can be a daunting prospect, but with a little preparedness, some research and above all, professionalism, you can find a rewarding healthcare job

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