You came, you saw, you conquered. Nursing school was not for the faint of heart, and you’ve reached the finish line. You even passed the NCLEX, after dreading it for years. Now what? How do you land your first nursing job, what should you look for, what should you avoid? Read below to help you launch your successful nursing career!
Part I: Resume, Cover Letter, & Thank You Cards 📓
A resume is a structured, easy to read outline of your professional journey thus far. We recommend not relying too heavily on putting all your clinical experience from nursing school on your resume. Instead, focus on your senior practicum/capstone. In addition, highlight real job or volunteer experience, especially those that make you stand out.
Cover letters should be personalized to the job you are applying for. Do not forget to do your research on where you are applying. Finally, have thank you cards prepared after you land your interview - that personal touch goes a long way!
Check out our Career Partners on the Lumify Hub! We have a plethora of resources including:
- Resume RX
- ReNegade Resume
- Incredible Health
Part II: Networking 📊📉
Networking is a buzzword these days, but it is SUPER important. Nurses love helping nurses – it is in our nature!
You have a few options for networking:
1. Post on the Lumify Station and ask the #Lumify fam about nursing jobs. We have nurses all over the country who would love to share their experience with you!
2. Get on LinkedIn and find nurses at the hospital or unit you want to work on! A thirty minute phone call can pave the way to finding a new job!
3. Use your Nursing School alumni network and ask fellow alums about their positions and jobs.
Part III: Shadow 👩⚕️
If you land an interview, it is imperative that you ask to shadow a nurse on the unit for 30 minutes or an hour. That shadow time will help you evaluate if the unit, hospital, clinic, culture, etc. is a good fit for you. If you are not able to shadow, you can ask your future manager if you are able to talk to a nurse on the unit one on one about the unit – bonus is that you get to meet your future co-worker and hear the deets that might not otherwise be shared by a future manager.
Part IV: Beware of the Bonus 💰
It is all over the news, so you probably are aware…healthcare locations around the world are in a staffing crunch!
So, there are lucrative bonuses being thrown around to attract nurses. The bonus can be excellent to help pay off loans or put down a deposit for a large purchase. However, make sure you understand the fine print. Beware – some bonuses have a clause that if you leave within a certain time, you are responsible to pay back the bonus in full.
Part V: Nurse Residency Program 🩺🏥🧑⚕️
As a New Graduate Nurse, it is recommended that you seek a position that offers a Nurse Residency Program aka NRP. NRP typically offers paid class time relevant to your new clinical area and precepted clinical time. NRP offers a seamless transition from nursing student to Registered Nurse.
Good things to ask your future manager about NRP:
- Length of NRP
- Length of precepted time
- Expectations and Milestones during precepted time
- If there are times when precepted time is extended
Part VI: Right Fit 😎
All things considered – you want to ensure you are finding a job with the right fit! A few things we recommend writing down before you begin your job search are:
- Learning Style Fit - What is your learning style?
- Culture Fit - Your expectations for work/life balance?
- Is night shift or a rotating schedule best for me?
- Is a 9:00-5:00 ambulatory care job best for my life outside work?
- Should I look for part time or per diem positions?
- Career Goal fit - What are your career goals?
- Do I want to go back to school?
- When do I want to go back to school?
- Do I need certain experience to go back to school?
It is normal for your first nursing job to not be your last! A lot of new nurses leave their first job 1-2 years in!
When searching the first time, second time, or even the tenth time – you want to be able to really make sure it’s a great learning fit, culture fit, and career goal fit. You want a job that will complement your lifestyle. After all, as nurses, we need to take care of ourselves.. mental health and happiness should be your ultimate goal!
Keep in mind there are many opportunities for nursing jobs right now. You, as the nurse, are acvaluable, sought-after asset. You have the power to negotiate with your future employer to meet your needs. Keep your “Right Fit” list in the back of your mind when you settle on your next career move.
We at the #Lumify fam are your number 1 fans! We are cheering for you. Reach out to us at email@example.com – we want to know what worked for you when you landed a new nursing job!