How to Get Hired and Stay Competitive as a Nurse

Stand Out in the Job Market with These Nursing Tips

The nursing industry is booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employed registered nurses is expected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, a rate that’s much faster than the national average in other industries. Despite these findings, breaking into healthcare as a young professional just out of nursing school can be a challenge. There are bound to be plenty of open positions on the market, but the competition can be fierce. If you’re looking to land your first nursing job or find a better paying position, use these tips to stand out in the job market.

Searching for the Right Job

Searching for the Right Job

Employers, hospitals, and other healthcare centers are casting a wide net when it comes to talent recruitment. From their perspective, finding a top-tier candidate that’s going to stick around for the foreseeable future can be difficult. In addition to traditional job postings, employers will also post ads on social media and even around nursing schools. While there are many types of nursing jobs out there, landing your first job means finding the right job for you. Keep your ears open and figure out which type of job is best for you. Maybe you prefer the rush of being next to the ER. Or maybe you’d rather care for the elderly in a more laid-back atmosphere like a nursing home. Going after the right jobs is an important step towards securing your future in the industry.

Overcoming Lack of Experience

Nurse Intern Illustration

If you’re fresh out of nursing school, you may be frustrated to realize that many of the jobs require several years of experience. If that’s the case, your best bet might be to work with your nursing school to see if they can help you get some work experience such as landing an internship, nurse shadowing program, or a temporary nursing position. It’s usually best to start thinking about your first career move when you’re still in school, so you’ll still have access to many of the school’s resources. Start talking to a career counselor to learn about ways you can use your education to your advantage.

Being Flexible with Your Schedule

Night Clock Illustration

Being a nurse usually means working long hours. This is especially true if you’re just starting out in your career. Hospitals and healthcare centers are constantly looking for staff members that can work long shifts, overnight, and on weekends. Hopefully, you have a lifestyle that can accommodate this kind of schedule. Being flexible with your work life will give you a strong advantage over the other applicants. Even if the job listing doesn’t mention what kind of hours you’ll be working, it might help to mention in your cover letter that you’re willing to work overtime or at odd hours. Sometimes starting a career as a nurse means putting your nose to the ground and doing the dirty work that no one else wants to do.

Marketing Yourself as a Nurse

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When you sit down and write your application, try to differentiate yourself from the other applicants by being honest and forthcoming about why you chose to be a nurse in the first place. After all, being a nurse takes a lot of effort and the employer will want to make sure that you’re in it for more than just the money.

Even though there’s a lot of overlap between nursing positions, you should get in the habit of writing a custom cover letter and resume for each job that you’re applying to. Research the facility and how they market themselves online. What kind of services and specialties do they provide? You can use this knowledge to market yourself in a way that fits in with the facility’s overall objectives.

If you’re struggling to find your first nursing job, try not to worry. If you follow the steps mentioned above, you should be able to land your first job after a few months of searching. Have you checked out job postings via our Jobs Board? It's another resource to help you in your search. And don't stress, you’ve chosen a career with a lot of promise, so keep searching until you find the right fit.