Date Published: February 13, 2019
With graduation fast approaching, are you prepared to take on the job search and application process? It’s important to stand out in a crowded job market, so we recently held a Facebook Live event with Nurse Recruiters and Nurse Residency Managers from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City to discuss resume and application tips, nurse residency and internship details, and answer questions to help students prepare for the next chapter in their nursing journey. Keep these tips in mind and your head held high, and you’ll land a job no problem!
The application process
The application process can differ from one employer to the next, so it is important to be aware of the deadlines and requirements for each organization to which you apply. However, there are some similarities:
- Employers look to hire new nursing graduates every spring and winter.
- Apply at the start of your final semester of nursing school to make sure you don’t miss any application deadlines.
- Applications may consist of a resume submission and online video submissions.
- The employer’s website and job posting sites like Indeed.com are a great place to start.
- Knowing what a starting nursing position is named at an organization (i.e. Graduate Nurse, Introductory Nurse, etc.) can help you as you search for open positions.
The resume and cover letter
Your resume is one of the most important pieces to your job search. It serves as a way for an employer to learn more about you and your skill set and gives them get a first impression of who you are before you even sit down for an interview. When creating your resume, consider the following:
- Any experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for should be listed.
- While clinical experience is helpful, employers understand you are just finishing school and may not have much. Consider other experiences such as volunteering, part-time jobs and organization positions that have prepared you for your career. Several units love to see students who have had waitressing or bartending experience. It shows you can handle priority management etc.
- If you have a clinical that has not yet begun, you can list it on your resume with estimated hours.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. Bad spelling or grammar can negatively impact your chances of being hired. It is also helpful to have friends or family members check your resume for errors prior to submitting. Remember one of your main duties will be charting patient data. If you can’t get your resume right, it reflects on your future charting skills.
- Don’t skip the cover letter. This is one area where you can stand out from the other candidates. Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City reads every submission. Explain why you want to be a nurse and why you want to work at this hospital.
Check out even more in-depth resume tips from Nurse Managers and Recruiters.
As a part of your application submission, you may be asked to participate in a video interview portion as well as an in-person interview. There are a number of things to consider when preparing for an interview:
- Dress to impress. Whether you are interviewing via camera or in-person, it is important to look professional and make a good first impression.
- Prepare for the interview. Research the organization beforehand and come ready with a list of questions and an idea of your responses to common interview prompts. If it is helpful, write down your questions beforehand.
- Remember to write thank you notes following your interviews. While handwritten notes are always a nice gesture, a well-written email is sometimes a better option if there is a shorter deadline for hiring decisions.
Accepting a position
If everything goes well in the application and interview portions, you may be extended an offer from the organization. Congratulations!
- If you accept the offer, you will need to graduate and complete your NCLEX exam before starting.
- You will probably be given 24 to 48 hours to make a decision but be sure to respond in a timely manner. If you choose to decline an offer, the organization may want to extend it to another candidate and waiting too long can hinder them from doing so.
- If you do choose to decline, remain professional. If you are professional and courteous, you will have an opportunity to stay in touch, which could lead to other opportunities later on in your career.
There are many things to consider when looking, applying and interviewing for jobs in nursing. It is important to find jobs that interest you and also to consider how you want your future in nursing to look. Throughout the process, keep your goals in mind, but also think about how you can be helpful to the organization itself. With the right research and prep, you just may land the job you’ve always wanted!