Tips for New Grads from one who got a job

  1. 5
    I graduated in May 2010 from a college in Georgia, and I moved to Orange County a few days after graduation. I didn't go to school in California, did not yet have CA endorsement (had a Georgia RN), and knew no RNs in the area, and had no clue where to start looking, yet I managed to find a job by June 2010. Here's what I recommend:

    Think of where you would like to work (particular unit, ie: Med Surg, Tele, Oncology, ICU, ER, etc) and target your resume and skills toward that field.

    For example, I always knew I wanted to work in ICU, so I did the following: (And I was hired in ICU)

    -ACLS
    -BLS
    -PALS
    -EKG Cert
    -Basic Wound Care (just a one day class)
    -IV Starts/Blood Draws (another one day class)
    -Joined ANA (American Nurses Assoc)
    -Joined AACN (American Assoc of Critical Care Nurses)
    -Joined ENA (Emergency Nurses' Assoc)

    1) I didn't really waste my time applying to countless new grad programs for several reasons. One, I didn't go to school here. Two, I had NO connections (these days, it IS who you know). Three, THOUSANDS of new grads who went to school here were applying, some of whom had probably even done clinicals at those hospitals and therefore had connections.

    2) I went where the crowd of new grads didn't go: Community Hospitals (200 beds or less). I called those hospitals (direct number), asked to speak to the unit manager of (insert floor here). I did not immediately blurt out that I was a new grad. I would instead discuss my certifications, goals (MSN, CCRN, etc), and skills. Inevitably, the question of how much experience I had would arise. I would answer honestly. I got interviews that way.

    I interviewed for one ER job and one ICU job. I chose the ICU job. Although I work for a local community hospital, I went through an awesome residency. They supported me, gave me an awesome preceptor, and told me to take as much time as I wanted. They also agreed to pay for any education classes I wanted to take, such as a Critical Care Course, etc. Although they told me it would probably take me 3 months of orientation, they told me I could take as much time as I wanted. It is an amazing opportunity. Having worked almost a year for them, I have been oriented in ER as well as Tele so I periodically float to both those floors, so it is great experience. Being a small hospital, there is a small number of employees and therefore I have a HUGE opportunity to advance very quickly if I want. I also work beside some nurses who work PD or PT and some FT at other huge hospitals, so now if I wanted to, I could work for a big hospital. Also, because this is a small hospital and our care is limited, my residency was not a really overwhelming experience. I got the basic skills to build on in order to be comfortable without going through sensory overload. BEST OF ALL, the hospital is THREE MILES from my house! No freeways!

    My particular hospital has hired numerous new grads in different areas in the hospital, though they don't advertise a formal new grad program. Many community hospitals operate this way.

    KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW, HERE IS WHAT I'D RECOMMEND:

    1) Join your local AACN, ENA, or other specialty area, and ATTEND A CHAPTER MEETING. You WILL meet people
    2) Attend a Magnet meeting
    3) Take a lot of classes (nurses attend those, and it's a great way to network!)
    4) I have not had any luck applying online to job applications (this is just my experience)
    5) I did have luck calling floors directly
    6) If there is not an opening currently, KEEP CALLING the unit director every week. Send a thank-you card. Send a Holiday card.

    I still actively follow these new grad threads because I feel your pain. Though I was fortunate to not spend months and months looking for jobs, I understand how hard it is.

    I hope this helps someone.

    Skeen
    Joe33, casnee, SugarNSass, and 2 others like this.
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Thanks for sharing! That was very helpful. You sound like a very proactive and positive person and I'm sure you are a great nurse Does your hospital have a postpartum, mother/baby unit by any chance?
  5. 0
    Our hospital does not do peds or L&D unfortunately
  6. 0
    Thanks for the insight and advice. Did you do any of the certifications online? I just may have to seriously look at enhancing my resume like you did through certifications along with relocating (easier said than done as it would mean having to keep 2 places...) as I'm not getting any bites at all.
  7. 0
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I think it would be great if you could post a variation of your success story in the graduate nurse section.

    I'm sure all the CA nurses were delighted and enchanted by your delightful southern accents ( oh and your mad skills too )
  8. 0
    One more question, how did you start the conversation when you called the unit managers?
  9. 0
    thanks for sharing
  10. 0
    Quote from ocmama
    One more question, how did you start the conversation when you called the unit managers?
    I would like to know how you started the conversation too, i did call a manager at the hospital were i did my preceptorship, i introduced myself, told her i had my preceptorship on that floor, told her how i learned and enjoyed working with the nurses...teamwork,professionalism.....she finally said go online and see if we have any positions open and apply........i said ok, thanks....btw i already applied to about 9 positions, went to HR in person, followed up with several call with not even 1 response
  11. 0
    Quote from noski
    I would like to know how you started the conversation too, i did call a manager at the hospital were i did my preceptorship, i introduced myself, told her i had my preceptorship on that floor, told her how i learned and enjoyed working with the nurses...teamwork,professionalism.....she finally said go online and see if we have any positions open and apply........i said ok, thanks....btw i already applied to about 9 positions, went to HR in person, followed up with several call with not even 1 response
    I would say that this is an example of why we need to be cautious in interpreting job success stories. It's wonderful and I'm very happy for whoever found a job, but the techniques that worked for one person won't necessarily work for someone else. Every successful job seeker has their own story and their own path for how they found their first job. What will work is unique to that job market and that hospital, and your background and skills being a match for whatever they're looking for. Sometimes it comes down to timing. If you miss the window when a hospital is hiring, you won't get in no matter how you go about it until the window opens again.

    I would say to draw whatever ideas you can from successful job seekers (call nurse managers? Okay, tip taken, I'll try that) but not expect that if you just follow her recipe to a T you'll have the same outcome. Collect ideas, try them out, see what works, if this doesn't work try something else. Of course you don't want to be one of the outliers who has a long, hard and sad road but if that turns out to be you, do your best to accept it graciously and never give up.
  12. 1
    I would like to know where to take all those classes in southern California, Orange County to be exact without being a employee of some hospital.

    Never mind, I'm having a brain fart, I just realized that I was looking at a list of those classes today... I just don't have the 800+ dollars I need to take them all, because I happen to be underemployed.
    bluemartian likes this.


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