Although you might have already decided that you want to strive for a career as a nurse, this does not mean that you will automatically be able to find a position that suits you or your abilities. In fact, you may have to apply for many roles before you are able to acquire your dream job as a nurse.
To help you beat the high competition for nursing places in the country, here is a guide to finding and applying for great positions and some tips for standing out from the crowd.
1. Get the Right Qualifications
Getting the right qualifications is the first action that every potential nurse needs to take, and you will not even be considered for a position as a nurse if you are unable to provide evidence of basic qualifications. However, there are different educational routes that you can choose from when deciding to become a nurse, and each may influence the type of job you are able to get.
Although you will only need a BA in Nursing, an Associate’s degree, or completion of a LVN or LPN training program in order to become a nurse in the US, if you are applying for leadership positions or those focused on a specialism, you may have to achieve a Master’s degree or take an extra training program. For instance, a DNP nursing leadership qualification can help you to take on managerial positions due to its focus on HR allocation and financial management.
2. Go on a Local Placement
Another way for you to both gain experience and find out about job opportunities in your area is to go on a local work placement. These allow you to get to know and network with professionals in your area, as well as understand the requirements of nursing positions. At the end of your tenure, your employer may also keep your resume, give you advice on securing a job, or offer you a job position.
The best ways to get experience on a work placement include:
- Getting a placement at a hospital
- Volunteering at a care home
- Visiting a GP surgery
- Helping at community facilities
- Traveling on abroad placements and volunteer programs
Work experience and placements in your local area are also advantageous as they allow you to shadow experienced nurses, see what the daily routine of a nurse is like, and help you decide whether you are still interested in nursing as a career. They also give you the opportunity to learn basic skills and try new tasks and responsibilities.
3. Network with Other Professionals
Networking with other professionals is also a great way to find out about job openings near you, as they will be able to tell you about positions which may be opening in your local area. Networking can also give you the chance to communicate with potential employers, allow you to find mentors who may be able to guide you to find a position and get advice from experts in the field.
Making yourself known is important when it comes to finding available job positions, and you can find nursing networking events near you on online networking forums and groups. If you cannot attend an event locally, you should network online through business social media pages, such as LinkedIn, or through online networking websites.
4. Look Where Nurses Are in High Demand
There are 2.86 million nurses in the USA. However, there is still a major shortage. When looking for a job in nursing, it is also important that you look to see where nurses are in high demand, as this will give you an opportunity to apply and to be considered for more positions. Currently, there are many different states with large nursing shortages, including:
- New Jersey
- New York
The places where nurses are in high demand will usually be highly populated states with many large cities or those with an aging population where many nurses are already needed. You should also look to specialize in areas where nurses are most needed, with some types of nurses more in demand than others due to the training and qualifications needed to become the type of nurse in question.
The types of nurses that are most sought-after include:
- Pediatric Nurses
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Practitioners
- ICU Nurses
- Neo-Natal Nurses
5. Spruce Up Your Resume and Interview Skills
You will also need to make what you can offer to employers appealing, as with any job that you apply to, and you can do this by sprucing up your resume and interview skills. When you are thinking about your resume, try personalizing it towards each job role, stating what drives you to become a nurse and finding innovative ways to show this, such as using images or graphs.
You can also increase your interview skills by ensuring that you are dressed in a presentable manner, that you practice likely questions in nursing interviews, and that you are able to show that you have the right character traits to become a nurse, such as being caring and patient, with examples to prove this.
6. Search Online Job Boards
Lastly, the best way to find positions in nursing is to use online job boards that are tailored towards nursing. Although many basic online job boards offer nursing career options and filters, you should try using a nurse or healthcare job board for a more cultivated experience, which allows you to pinpoint the exact types of jobs that you want to apply for.
Using these is the easiest way to find nursing jobs without coming into contact with a workplace environment, but you should also check healthcare facilities’ websites and other portals where you might be able to find job openings. Online job boards also give you the advantage of being able to apply for multiple jobs easily, sometimes in one click, and have the additional advantage of storing your CV online.