Student and graduate nurses are my favorite population. Really. I truly believe the future of the nursing profession depends on their ability to succeed. We (experienced nurses) need to do everything we can to support new nurse learning and transition into professional practice. Our goal? To teach new nurses how to be the nurses we want to work with at 2am in a crisis, and the nurses we want caring for our families.
To make this happen requires student nurses get hired in a supportive environment shortly after graduation. However, many new grads are struggling to find work in an acute care environment. Nurse recruiters are inundated with resumes, phone calls and emails from prospective students looking for work. I see posts on Linkedin frequently from recently graduated new nurses who can’t find a job. Many times when advising out of work new nurses, I wish I could go back in time to when they were students.
Securing that first job as a professional nurse really starts by preparing as a student. One of the most
important actions you can take as a student is to start building your resume.
Build your resume
I’ve reviewed thousands of resumes from student nurses for various programs and positions. In addition to looking for basic information, I look for evidence they are serious about their role as professional nurses. Do they belong to a professional nursing organization or student nursing organization. Do they volunteer in the health care industry or related field? (Volunteering at your Dad’s repair shop doesn’t count). Have they attended any nursing-related events – conferences, local chapter meetings, workshops, etc?
If I only saw clinical experiences as students and various “fillers” (non-nursing related activities), their resume went into my “no” pile. I only wanted students/new grads who appeared to be serious about being a nurse. Getting involved sent a message they were.
What can you do to build your resume now?
If you are still a student, start now by getting involved.
· Join a local nursing organization. Most colleges have a Student Nurse Association. Attend their meetings and consider becoming an officer (looks great on a resume!).
· Attend a local chapter meeting. Find out if any professional nursing organization such as the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses have upcoming local chapter meetings. Many welcome student nurses and offer discounts. This looks great on a resume and provides an opportunity to network with nurses who may know of open positions.
· Volunteer. Many student nurses can’t imagine adding one more thing to their list! However, carving out a small amount of time monthly to do volunteer work is well worth the sacrifice! Volunteer at your local health clinic, hospital or non-profit organization. Sometimes the commitment is minimal yet the ability to include the work on a resume – priceless!
The key to landing your first job is to prepare, prepare, prepare now. Don’t wait until you graduate to start thinking a about building your resume. By then, it may be too late. Build it now!
I hope this tip helps you secure the job of your dreams!
Take care and stay connected
To find out how you can bring Renee to your organization or next nursing event, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org