How did you land your first RN job?

  1. 0
    So.....how did you land your first RN job? Apparently what I'm doing isn't working. I live in the Austin, TX area and I graduated in December. The market in this area is flooded, and there are hundreds of applicants for every internship that is offered.

    I applied to several internships in my area.....and nothing! I did get one interview, but wasn't chosen. So, I need some tips.

    What are the nurse managers looking for? What should I not include in my resume? What has worked for you? How long did it take you to get your first RN job? Anything......
  2. 16 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I got my first job on a Friday, the same day I took my last nursing school exam, and started orientation on Monday.

    Fortunately the area I graduated in had a need for RNs at the time. Me and three of my classmates all hired into the same unit - the same reason I took the job actually - because I figured at least I'd know somebody. I had several other job offers, had been interviewing at different places throughout the week, and interviewed on several different units in the same hospital on that same day.

    Nurse managers right now are being hamstrung by budget cuts. It costs a lot to hire and orient a new RN and the majority of hospitals are experiencing the "we need help but cant hire anybody" phenomenon. I know for a fact my hospital won't hire new RNs pre-licensure because there were too many that they were training as GNs and they were jumping ship within the first year. I'd probably really stress what a great investment they'd be making in you establishing your career there - nurse managers at a lot of hospitals have staff retention in their performance evaluations. You might also be wise to invest in one of those "how to answer interview questions" books and read it carefully. They'll ask certain questions, give you a score based on your answer, and then compare your numbers to other people they've interviewed as part of the selection process. Customer service behaviors are HUGE right now because medicaid is reimbursing based on patient satisfaction scores.

    I'd probably start thinking outside the box too if I were in your shoes. You may need to open your mind to other clinical settings or target other job markets if you are able to relocate.
  4. 2
    I worked at the hospital as a tech in nursing school and got hired as an RN before I graduated. I think this is a common scenario.

    Some general tips/advice that I got from an ex manager friend of mine when I was looking for a new job and had my resume reviewed by him...

    Become a member of a professional nursing organization
    Get ACLS certification
    Include your clinical preceptorship/practicum on resume with the number of hours
    If you have a BSN, include it after your name at the top of the resume ex Your Name, BSN, RN

    Other general resume tips...

    Include your nursing clinical rotations on the resume with a description of skills learned

    Since you don't have previous RN experience, you don't want a bare bones resume, but you don't want it too be too wordy - it can be longer than one page, but should not be longer than two

    Don't need to include references on resume. Many hospitals have a place to put reference contact information on the application

    Include any healthcare related volunteer experience

    Include any service oriented/job related job experience, but only recent experience for example - experience as a camp counselor if you want to work pediatrics.

    Of course include any healthcare experience at all
    KelRN215 and pseudo_name like this.
  5. 0
    Relocate. Seriously, that area is inundated as it is.
  6. 1
    I just want to add that when I graduated many years ago every hospital in town invited our class to breakfasts, brunches, and lunches. And begged us to work there.
    Nola009 likes this.
  7. 0
    Hmm, just out of curiosity do you have an ADN? A couple of my former classmates got jobs there. When I did get my Texas license and was receiving calls for openings, but I ended up taking a position in my state. I have been encouraged to keep my TX license active though which I am. Nonetheless, you should start looking outside your area to improve your chances.
  8. 0
    It actually took me over a year after passing NCLEX to get a job. To be fair, I was in school full time for my BSN too, but it was frustrating being a new nurse and not working.
    Make connections. Make people remember you.
    If you get an interview, even if you don't get the job, make them remember, do something that makes you stand out.
    I interviewed at a hospital in September and didn't get the position, but in December, out of the blue, she called be because she remembered me and called me in for an interview for a residency program.

    The nurse managers who hired me were not looking for cookie cutter answers. They were looking for individuals who showed that they genuinely cared about people. I got asked "where do you see yourself in five years?", and I literally had no clue. I have no five year plan. I answered with "in five years, I want to be working, and caring for people (this is where I kissed the hospital's butt), because I've learned that life will inevitably not turn out the way you plan, and as long as I can wake up every day and do something great, I will be happy."
    I have one story about connecting with this one patient from school that saves my butt in interviews. If you're asked a question about a situation and how you would handle it, it is always better to answer "when this happened to me, I handled it this way", instead of "well, I would probably..."

    For the interview, did you send a follow-up thank you letter? Sometimes even something as little as that will make a manager remember you.
  9. 0
    Relocation if you can't wait any longer and have money. Otherwise keep applying in TX and you will eventually get a job.
  10. 1
    Well as luck would have it, I finally got a job this past Thursday. I just kept bothering every recruiter out there and every nurse manager that would give me the time of day and the position just sort of fell in my lap. It really feels like a great fit too.

    As for as the relocation goes.....I wish that were an option at times, but not with 3 kids and a husband with a good job here.

    I do have my BSN, and this area is totally flooded right now. In my opinion, not a great place to be if you are a new grad. The hospital that I got the job at said they had over 1500 applicants for about 80 GN positions. I'm blessed and thrilled to have one of those positions.

    Now....I just have to pass my NCLEX on Tuesday. Eek!
    rubato likes this.
  11. 0
    However, it seems as though the areas just outside of Austin (100 miles or so) do have quite a few job postings.
    Last edit by DL2013 on Jan 19 : Reason: mistake


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