Calling Unit Managers Directly--good idea or not?

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    Is it a good idea for job-seeking nurses to call unit managers directly to ask for a job? Or show up on the unit they want to work at, resume in hand? I guess you have nothing to lose -- the worst they can tell you is "no, we're not interested." And some nurses have reported getting jobs that way. Or maybe they will put you on the "do not hire" list for being a pain in the ###.

    What do you say? Any nurse managers want to weigh in -- would you welcome such a call (or visit)?
  2. 8 Comments so far...

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    I'm trying to figure out how to share my experience without using any details that would be too identifying and am coming up short, lol. Basically, direct contact with nurse managers hasn't panned out for me yet, but that doesn't mean it won't. I'd love to hear what nurse managers have to say about it though. I don't think I'm alienating anyone, but maybe they're too polite to tell me I'm being obnoxious!
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    I got a job as a new grad in ICU because I called the unit director. I also interviewed for an ER job because I called the unit director (chose ICU job instead). The ER unit director showed me a 3 ring binder full of applications and told me the only ones who get in for interviews are people who call or email her.

    As a new grad, you must be open to doing whatever it takes to get a job, unless you don't really want one. Is it uncomfortable calling directors? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! I went to countless career fairs and wasted my time applying online. Don't waste your time and spin your wheels. You have nothing to lose.
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    Quote from ICUSkeenRN

    As a new grad, you must be open to doing whatever it takes to get a job, unless you don't really want one. Is it uncomfortable calling directors? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! I went to countless career fairs and wasted my time applying online. Don't waste your time and spin your wheels. You have nothing to lose.
    You are making the assumption that what worked for you will work for everyone, and anyone who doesn't try the one thing that worked for you is "wasting their time" and "doesn't really want a job." That is one of the more irritating comments that new grads have to put up with. Then again, maybe someone else got their job through attending a career fair or filling out an online application. Anyone who does otherwise is "wasting their time."

    Maybe in some locations or hospitals nurse managers are more open to unsolicited calls from job seekers. In my experience they are not open and will direct you right back to human resources. But if it worked for you, wonderful.
    RNDreamer and opossum like this.
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    I had posted this question in the nurse manager forum, basically asking them what they look for in a new grad. Only one nurse mgr responded and here is what she said:

    So, I'll bite. First of all, I feel your pain. When I graduated, there was a glut of nurses and to get in a hospital you had to "do time" in a nursing home. Which is why I joined the Navy, which I totally recommend. They only take BSN's and you'll get some great training and experience. Now I know not everyone is "cut out" for the military so I'll answer your questions as if you have ruled out the military, VA hospitals, etc.


    What do you look for in a new nurse - namely, what sorts of traits really stick out as impressive to you? Well, a willingness to learn is important, but I usually know right away if it's someone that will work for us. That's not very scientific but I know our staff and our unit and go by instinct on interview. I chose nurses with BSN's here lately because we are a magnet facility and that is one of our goals. If they weren't BSN's, I think I still would have hired them because "we clicked." I know that's not scientific but it works for me.
    Will you appreciate my moxie for walking unannounced into the unit and showing you my portfolio? NO! I have too much stuff going on! Go the traditional route. I wouldn't waste time blanketing every hospital with your resume. Look for job postings on the hospital website or newspaper or monster. Apply for a specific position. If I don't have an opening, showing up on the unit won't create room in the budget for you, you know what I mean? I like that you're thinking "outside the box" and are creative though
    Do you like unorthodox, creative-without-being-gimmicky cover letters? No, I look at the overall resume and experience. If they have no nursing experience, if they have experience working with kids, even volunteering, I will give them a second glance. But I am a child psych UM so if you don't like kids, you shouldn't work here. Not sure where an acute care NM would think. Do you have hospital volunteer experience? If not, highlight what jobs you have had that are "people-oriented."
    Any advice for new RN graduates in this economy? Keep your chin up. Be willing to look out of state (which you are), consider the military, VA, peace corps, etc. If you're an RN and you can't find a job anywhere in the US, consider taking an LPN role in a nursing home to "get some experience." It might spice up your resume having some sort of nursing experience. I know that is extreme but unless you have a lot of time, you need to start making some $. Read the military forum here on allnurses and pick their brain..The economy will get better, the retirees will go back to retiring and we'll be needy again.
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    ...Sooooo.....it's obvious we're getting all kinds of advice thrown at us from different angles, solicited and otherwise. I'm at the point where I remain open to any and all suggestions, but I'm pretty sure that what it comes down to (when landing a job as a new grad) is being in the right place, at the right time, with the right person. I have applied to 100+ jobs since May 2010, and have had 3 interviews (2 of which were for the same position) and I can say with certainty that 98% of it is "meshing well" with the interviewer(s). I also have some life experience to back that up

    Don't let anyone tell you "if you really wanted a job, you would [insert here what worked for them]..." It's hard because I am constantly second-guessing myself and wondering if I'm too weak, stupid, lazy, or incompetent to be a nurse. Comments like that tend to reinforce my insecurities but I found that it helps to take a deep breath, be genuinely happy for that person and simply add it to your bag of tricks to use while applying for jobs. And hey - if those folks are so proactive and awesome, maybe they can get us a job on their unit too!
    SLM3, JeanettePNP, and hiddencatRN like this.
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    I got my job from the floor I externed on during school. I also got another offer from the floor I did my leadership clinical on during my last semester. So I was really fortunate because I never had to fill out one application for an RN position. Now I did work my tail off to get that extern position..You could contact your school and see if they can help you network. Gotta remember, they contact the clinical directors, managers, etc. so they can get permission to even have students on the floor. So if they(the dean, faculty, clinical instructors) email out your resume to the hospitals where your school has clinical, and act as a really good reference...can't hurt? Clinical instructors are really good resources because they often know people on the floor where they teach.

    It's not that anyone is too weak or not a good enough candidate, but hospitals are having to really cut back. They have laid off countless managers, clinical directors, floor nurses, etc around the city. They've even laid off the house supervisor at one hospital. Other nurses are losing their bonus pays and having some of their pay packages cut.
    opossum and JeanettePNP like this.
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    Quote from kgh31386
    You could contact your school and see if they can help you network. Gotta remember, they contact the clinical directors, managers, etc. so they can get permission to even have students on the floor. So if they(the dean, faculty, clinical instructors) email out your resume to the hospitals where your school has clinical, and act as a really good reference...can't hurt? Clinical instructors are really good resources because they often know people on the floor where they teach.
    That's a good point - asking the instructors and those who actually make those hospital contacts would definitely be helpful. I'm not sure that would work in my situation at my school (which is a teaching hospital) for reasons too long and boring to get into here, but it's good to network in those avenues. Our entire Leadership class revolved around making professional contacts...unfortunately the economy and local saturation of new grads has been working against us.
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    It would also be better to "run into" a manager at a professional event than to interrupt his/her busy day and be an inconvenience. You can network through a professional organization ... or when volunteering at the hospital of your choice. But such "accidental contact" opens the door for a conversation that can help you. Whereas interupting someone who is the middle of trying to work is rarely appreciated.
    JeanettePNP likes this.


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