Thank you everybody!
I made a post a few weeks ago regarding some tips that have helped me through my journey. Others added on to the post with their own experience/advice. Here is a link below:
Another important thing that I want to mention is that this job is on the West Coast - I am on the East Coast. I live outside a pretty big city that has a number of nursing schools. So, it is very hard to find a job. I decided to look into some states that seem to need nurses and chose the one that appealed to me most. I did shell out the money to get endorsed in said state because I thought that already being licensed in the state would be advantageous for me. I know that these licenses can be costly- so I would find a state that you are truly interested in relocating (if you want to look outside your own state.)
I don't have alot of money. But, I did have some saved from financial aid money, a scholarship, and from my p/t job. This will help me with the move. I am not married nor do I have children. So, I figured why not try something else? I know not everyone can leave their state due to money, family, or other commitments. But if you can do so, consider looking outside your comfort zone or proximity.
I graduated from my associates program in May 2012. I went immediately into an RN-to-BSN program from August 2012-May 2013. If you do not go back to school right away for the BSN (or if you already have the BSN), then I would probably recommend volunteering in a hospital/LTC while searching for a job. I would have done this- if I were not in the program and had more time. I worked really hard at the RN-to-BSN and received a scholarship for my efforts. So, try your best in your program. And by the way, the RN-to-BSN was much easier than the associates program. It was more about group projects and writing papers. Then again, I like writing. So, I guess this is just a matter of opinion!
While in my associates and then RN-to-BSN program, I worked part/time in a retail store. I have been here for about 5 years. It isn't the medical field, but I think a strong work history (even if p/t) and highlighting my great customer service skills was helpful.This is a good skill to have because hospitals are all about providing great customer service today!
As far as how I applied.....
I applied online on their hospital website. Trust me, I have filled out NUMEROUS applications online. So, keep doing it even if it becomes depressing and tiresome. I actually applied to this hospital a couple times before they called me back. Maybe it was right timing. Maybe I just applied to the right position. But, I finally got the call. The description did say "new graduates will be considered." It is for night shift 7p-7a - 36 hrs each week. I made my own resume - did not use any sort of service.
I had 3 interviews before being hired. The first one was conducted by HR, the second one by the CNO, and the third one was more about touring the hospital and discussion. The HR interview consisted pretty much of the standard interview questions. There were a couple "what would you do questions" but not anything specific to nursing skills. It was more about interacting with patients and other coworkers. The other two interviews were much more conversational and learning more about the facility/position. I made certain that I sent either thank you emails or letters to the interviewers. They will either give you their business card or, you can simply ask, "Do you have an email address I can contact you in case I think of any other questions?" Or, if you know their name, just send the letter to the hospital with ATTN: (Then interviewer's name.)
I hope I answered all of your questions. But, feel free to PM me if I missed something.