A Few Tips To Land Your First Nursing Job as a New Grad!
It’s that time of the year, or time of your life, or time of your choice where you finally begin looking for a nursing job! But first thing’s first, congratulations on making it this far! It is an extremely remarkable achievement to make it to this point, as nursing school is no easy feat. You made it through late nights, exams, clinicals, maybe even a few tears (hehe), and more – so celebrate!
Now let’s begin!
The process of applying for a nursing job varies from person to person. One may want to use prior to graduating nursing school, while others may want to wait until after writing the NCLEX exam. Some may want to apply to RN Residency programs, while others may want to go through traditional orientation programs directly. The options and possibilities are endless!
My journey involved applying for a nursing residency program I was interested in two weeks prior to graduating, where I was offered a position a few days before graduating. Thus, the choice of when to apply is unique to you!
Here are a few tips I found beneficial while applying for jobs as a former nursing student:
- Begin by reflecting. Think about what kind of nursing experience you would like to get into and reflect on your previous clinical experiences to see if you enjoyed a specialty. It helps to have a realistic idea of what kind of position you’d like to apply for.
- Do research. Based on your reflection, begin researching the position that you are interested in as a new grad nurse (or as an upcoming new grad). Think about whether you’d like to apply for an RN role directly or if you would like to go through a nursing residency route.
- Job Search. Once you have an idea of the position you are interested in, begin looking for jobs specific to your interest – and take NOTE of their qualifications. In general, write down what you need to have to apply for the positions. It also helps to see if you qualify for those positions. A lot of the time, job qualifications can include “one year of related work experience,” but don’t let this keep you from applying for the position. This is when your clinical experience comes into play.
- Revamp/organize your resume. Reach out to your school’s career services (if offered). A lot of the time, they offer resume feedback on how to improve your resume. OR you could reach out to your guidance counselor/professor for resume feedback. OR you could look up online resources (even through IG/Youtube) on ways you can improve your resume/make it stand out!
- Apply! Once you know which type of position you’re interested in, go ahead and apply and hit that submit button (along with all the information they need, such as your resume, cover letter, and any qualified certifications)!
- Prepare yourself for the job interview. I recommend looking up “common new graduate nurse interview questions” and practicing answering those questions. You can even watch online videos on how to prepare yourself for a nursing job interview. Other critical key tips are to: learn as much as you can about your potential employer, arrive on time (or be virtually online on time), dress for success, stay true to yourself/be courteous, ask questions, and thank them for the opportunity and time! Another helpful thing to remember is to reflect on your previous clinical experience (I think it will help with clinical scenarios that may come up during the interview).
Overall, give it your very best! This part of your nursing journey is simply another stepping stone, so don’t feel rushed and go at your own pace. You know what is best for you.
Although it may not be much, I hope this little post was of help to you. These were some of the few things that helped me in my journey, but reach out to your peers, mentors, and even professors for more help and guidance. Best of luck, I believe in you!
Love, Annika Grace
Written by: Annika Grace