After Earning Your Nursing Degree: Best Practices for Landing a Great Job
Advance your nursing career with these job hunting tips.
As an established nurse with a newly earned nursing degree to add to your credentials, you may be feeling ready to further your career in a new role. The good news is that whether you’re a registered nurse who has just earned a BSN or are an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with an MSN or DNP degree, your field is expected to grow anywhere from 15 to 31% by 2026.1 That’s excellent news.
However, you should keep in mind that while there are a lot of jobs available, there is always a degree of competition within the nursing field. Before you begin the job search, here are seven best practices to kick-start the next phase of your nursing career:
- Narrow your search. Perhaps you have your eye on a new department within your current place of employment. Or maybe you’re ready to try a new path. If so, knowing where you want to start the next phase of your nursing career is key. Consider a number of possibilities, such as a job in a hospital, a doctor’s office, or a nursing care facility. Determining other factors, including salary and options to relocate or grow, can get you on the right path to finding a great job. And don’t feel obligated to settle on the first offer—be true to yourself and your nursing career goals.
- Update your résumé. Standard practice is to include the name of your nursing school as well as all of your hard-earned and relevant experience. Highlight measurable goals that can distinguish you from other candidates vying for the same position. Use your résumé and cover letter as opportunities to communicate the value you can add to the organization.
- Seek a mentor. Mentors can help your job search in many ways, including cheering you on through the oft-overwhelming experience. Mentors can also review your résumé and help you practice for interviews. They might also be able to lead you to potential opportunities that you wouldn’t be aware of otherwise.
- Network. Online searches and job boards are great ways to begin the search, but don’t rely on just those outlets because not all jobs are posted online. By expanding your network—in-person and online—and engaging with others, you can learn about openings that aren’t public as well as gain practical professional and personal insight to better prepare you for the interview process.2
- Consider a recruiter. Healthcare recruiters can help make the job search process easier. While you’re doing your own networking, they are networking too. Some recruiters have exclusive opportunities not posted elsewhere, and they also tend to use LinkedIn groups to match candidates with openings.3
- Showcase your education. You’re an established nurse with a newly earned degree. Whether it’s a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or PhD in Nursing, you should be proud. The nursing degree you have earned shows your continued commitment to the nursing practice and can help differentiate you from other applicants. And, if you plan to continue your path of life-long learning, communicate this dedication to would-be employers.
- Practice patience. Finding the right job is all about timing, even when there is a nursing shortage. It can take months to find a job that’s the right fit for you. However, with your experience, education, and skills, it’s only a matter of time. Until then, persist in your search and practice patience.
It’s easy to get discouraged when searching for a job, but remember to revisit your motivations for becoming a nurse when you feel like giving up. You’ll be glad you did.