1. Set realistic goals
Chances are high that other recent grads are searching for the same position you want. Don’t let the fear of competition discourage you. However, you also need to set realistic expectations for your first job. For example, it probably isn’t realistic to expect to land your dream job immediately following graduation. Specialized positions often require years of previous nursing experience. In searching for an open position, remember that acquiring your dream job might require you to work in a setting that you didn’t initially plan for. Even if it’s not your utmost desire, entry-level positions will prepare you to become the best nurse you can be.
2. Learn to be flexible
It is important to discover your interests while in nursing school; this will guide you to well-suited opportunities post-graduation. However, don’t count an open position out just because it doesn’t directly align with your goals. Go in for the interview with confidence and never let the interviewer know that you would prefer to be placed somewhere else. You may accept the job and enjoy your coworkers, patients and the area of specialty.
3. Build a network
Networking is crucial. Who you know rather than what you know often gets you through the door for an interview. There are a number of ways in which you can use networking to your benefit. Focus on making meaningful connections during your clinical hours in nursing school. One connection can lead to a referral for an open position in the future. Keep in touch with your mentor, and if you don’t have a mentor, find one; they can serve as strong references and offer meaningful guidance over the course of your career. If you are feeling ambitious, you can also choose to work as a part-time certified nursing assistant while attending school in order to make relationships in the profession.
Be persistent in searching for openings and checking on the status of your applications. Effective follow-up is important in distinguishing yourself from other qualified applicants. For example, people often forget to take the time to write personalized thank-you notes after interviews. Be sure to express your interest and excitement in each position and thank the interviewer for their time.
Throughout your job search, remember to stay positive! Your passion for people drove you to nursing school, and with persistence, it will also land you a job! Find the right nursing program to get started today!