What makes you so special? No, really. Employers want to know. At the recent Nursing Career Day hosted by Penn Career Services, I met several hospital recruiters and nurses who all agreed that highlighting your unique qualifications, skills, and experiences on your application is to your advantage. While this tip for standing out in the job search may be common sense, how you prepare yourself can make all the difference. Luckily, a few other words of wisdom offered by this group of employers may help you BSNs do just that:
1) Start early. Are you a sophomore or junior? Apply to externships and nurse aide positions at hospitals of interest. When it comes time to hire a staff nurse, who do you think a recruiter will look to first? You guessed it – the new graduate who was employed with them in the past (and did well). Previous related experience will certainly set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
2) Have a “Plan B.” While you most likely have an “ideal” unit or patient population in your head, it’s important to be flexible and realistic in the job search. Gaining experience in a related unit is certainly more constructive than waiting and waiting for a perfect job to show up. Perform well and you will not only have solid clinical experience on your resume but a strong reputation to precede you.
3) Don’t hibernate over winter break. Take advantage of the time off campus to schedule shadowing experiences with a hospital of interest or to connect with other healthcare professionals in your preferred geographical area. Research hospitals now so that when the time comes to apply to positions this spring, you are well informed.
Best of luck to you as the fall semester winds down and you prepare for what’s ahead in 2013!