Date Published: October 13, 2020
At the start of your nursing education, the part where you actually graduate and start looking for a job can feel far away. It can sneak up on you, though, and if you’ve never looked for a nursing job before, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here are some tips to help you get your job search in order and hopefully make finding that first nursing job a little bit easier.
1) Check with your school career center: Your nursing school most likely has a career center that will have lots of ideas about how to get started, including possible internships or job-shadowing programs, or even a list of openings for entry level positions.
2) Narrow down your search: Do you know the type of place you’d like to work – a hospital, clinic, nursing home, school? What specialty have you been gravitating toward? Are there shifts you do – or don’t – want to work? The more specific you can be in your job search queries, the more relevant the open positions you find will be to your situation.
3) Check qualifications on each listing: If you find a position that you’re interested in, be sure to check the qualifications, from licensing to any physical aspects of the job to the amount of experience they’re asking for. If you can’t check every box, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply, but you definitely want to be sure you’re not doing something like applying for a senior-level position straight out of school.
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4) Think about your ideal career path: If you have a pretty clear idea of where you want to end up in your career, it’s worth looking at how people generally get into that type of role and the paths they’ve taken to get there. That may help you narrow down what you want your first step in your own career to look like.
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5) Use keywords in your resume: Be as specific as you can be in your resume and cover letter. If the job description mentions specific techniques or technology that you have experience with, mention those in your application materials – it can help you hand out. Highlight your qualifications, certifications, and any other important credentials.
6) Practice answers to common interview questions: You could be asked things like why you want to go into nursing, how you’ve handled certain situations with patients, how you respond to challenges, or what your strengths are as a nurse, among other questions. Practice your answers so that you feel confident in what you’re saying.
While job searching during COVID-19 may include more interviews on Zoom and fewer in person, it likely won’t be much different than it used to be. Focus on finding positions that you’re really interested and tailoring your resume and cover letter accordingly, and try to keep yourself busy enough that you aren’t constantly checking your email for responses to your applications. There are always lots of nursing positions open – one day, one of them will be filled by you!
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