Landing your first job as a newly graduated Registered Nurse can be an arduous and intimidating endeavor. Sadly, the vast majority of nursing schools don’t offer courses specifically designed to prepare their students for the job search process. Instead, the vast majority of job search resources offered by schools as well as those available in the open market are general in nature. Unfortunately, these general resources do not address the unique aspects of nursing job searches and thus leave candidates woefully under-equipped. So in this article, we’ll take a look at a book written specifically for nursing job searches with a focus on landing that first nursing job.
Background on Nursing Job Search Book
The title of the book is Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job. It was published on June 4th, 2017. The Author is Beth Hawkes MSN, RN-BC. Beth is a highly experienced Registered Nurse with a broad background. She has worked as a nurse manager in an acute care setting where she was directly involved in the hiring process. She currently works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist for one of the nation’s largest non-profit health systems. She also writes a career advice column on allnurses.com, the nation’s largest nursing forum. And she has her own website, NurseCode.com, where she offers career advice and discusses all things nursing. To say Beth is qualified to pen a book on this topic is an understatement.
It’s worth noting that I previously worked for a national healthcare staffing company. I worked with literally thousands of candidates on finding permanent, travel and PRN positions. I submitted over 1,500 candidates for job consideration. I spoke with hundreds of nursing managers all across the country. I was engaged in the nursing job search process for 50 to 60 hours per week, every week, for over 5 years.
I mention this because even with this level of experience, I learned a lot from this book. It provided me with new insight into certain aspects of the process. It also shed new light on actions I have long recommended which helped me gain a deeper understanding of the process as a whole.
About Your Last Nursing Class: How To Land Your First Nursing Job
Nursing Job Outlook
Your Last Nursing Class covers each aspect of the hiring process for registered nurses. The book begins with an overview of the job outlook for registered nurses. Beth provides an explanation for why it’s so difficult for new-grad RNs to land their first job despite the fact that everyone believes there is a nursing shortage. Understanding this mystery provides both comfort and direction for job seekers.
Nursing Job Application Process
The book then discusses the job application process. Beth points out some of the common pitfalls and how to avoid them. She provides details on when to apply and how to apply so that you won’t be caught off guard.
Nurse Hiring: The Internal Framework
Next, the book dives into the internal framework of the hiring process. This includes an insightful description of the various players involved and their respective roles within the process. Knowing the roles of the recruiters, human resources professionals, nurse managers and unit team members is highly beneficial for job seekers. Perhaps more importantly, this section lets you know how to discover information about potential employers and use it to enhance your chances of landing a job.
How to Present Yourself as a Nursing Job Candidate
This section segues nicely into the next section covering the important topic of how to present yourself as a job candidate. While this is a brief section, it’s importance cannot be underestimated. My experience as a recruiter indicates that the vast majority of candidates get this wrong. When presenting themselves, they discuss why this is the perfect job for them. Instead, they should be presenting themselves as a solution to the employer’s most pressing challenges. Beth explains how to accomplish this.
Networking for Nursing Jobs
Of course, the easiest person to present yourself to is the one you already know. Beth covers the importance of networking and how to approach it in order to achieve maximum results. This is a particularly important topic for nurses to focus on given that research indicates nurses typically lag behind other professions on the strength of their professional networks.
BluePipes: Professional Networking and Career Management Tools for Healthcare Professionals
Licenses and Certifications for the Nursing Job Search
That said, it’s important to note that nursing is a profession in which you can’t get a job without the required licenses and certifications no matter who you know. As a result, nursing job candidates often wonder which certifications are mandatory or worth acquiring in an effort to enhance their chances of landing a job. The book covers this topic in great detail so candidates can confidently focus their efforts.
Job Tips for Nursing Students and New-Grads
However, licenses and certifications aren’t enough to land jobs, especially when you’re a new-grad. The book provides a series of steps and strategies new-grads can take in order to enhance their marketability and increase their chances of landing their dream job. It’s really important to note that many of these tips and strategies must be started well in advance of graduation.
Resume Tips for Nurses
No matter your level of experience, everyone needs a resume. Beth provides resume tips specifically for nurses and new-grad nurses. It’s interesting to point out that Beth and I have some different recommendations when it comes to resumes for new-grads, but I think that’s a good thing. I recommend reviewing both resources, as well as others, to determine what you think will work best for you. The most important thing is to heed industry specific recommendations lest you end up with a resume bereft of key information.
Nursing Cover Letters
While resumes get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to job search documentation, cover letters can be equally as important. Your Last Nursing Class provides excellent information on how to write attention-grabbing cover letters.
Nursing Job Application Essay Questions
When it comes to nursing jobs, cover letters and resumes aren’t the only writing requirements for job candidates. Many nursing job applications will also include essay questions. Here again, Beth provides excellent industry specific advice on how to answer these questions effectively.
How to Nail Your Nursing Job Interview
Once you’ve gotten through the application process, you’ll need to be interviewed. Your Last Nursing Class discusses how to develop and project confidence, how to be memorable and how to handle in-person and video interviews from start to finish. Perhaps most importantly, Beth discusses the ins and outs of behavioral and situational interview questions. These are the questions that most often trip up candidates, but you’ll be confidently prepared after you’ve read the tips and advice in this book.
Completing the Nursing Job Search Process and More
With all of this knowledge, you’ll most certainly land a job offer sometime soon. Your Last Nursing Class has you covered there too. The book provides insight and tips on the closing process. It also includes advice on when and how to negotiate compensation.
Your Last Nursing Class is an informative and highly valuable resource for all nurses. For new-grads, it provides tips and tricks that will help you gain the edge you need in the competitive marketplace. For experienced nurses, it provides the insight necessary to navigate the system with increased efficiency. The book is available on Amazon and we highly recommend it!
As always, we hope you found this article useful. We’d love to hear what you thought about this book. Please leave a comment or ask any questions on this topic by posting in the comments section below.