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Get you applications in NOW! Apply early and often. Consider relocating if your area is saturated with new grad RNs.
Have your resume reviewed by Nurse Managers and your instructors.
Talk to RNs where you are in clinical.
Be honest with yourself as to how prepared you are. ER, ICU, Maternity are all great jobs that carry prestige ... just make sure you are ready.
I agree that you need to start applying as soon as you can. I started applying the January before I graduated, and I just started my first job a couple of weeks ago. It just takes a lot of patience and applying, reapplying and keeping your eye open for positions being posted.
The job I finally did get is in my home town in a smaller city/more rural area, not in the area I went to college or the larger Philadelphia metro area (which is where I really wanted to find something). I think that finding a job right now is going to require some compromising and flexibility on the geographic area as well as area of nursing specialty.
As far as what you can do right now, something I really wish I had done is get letters of recommendations from any clinical instructor that you can. I got one from my first med/surg instructor, but should have gotten more. Most new grad residency programs require at least two clinical references.
Also, try to "network" as much as you can while you're in clinical settings. Get the managers contact info on floors that you liked. If you're interested in a specialty area, see if you can arrange a shadowing day. It's easier to do when you're still in school. Use this time to get your foot in the door.
If you don't already, I would strongly suggest getting a job as an extern in a hospital. I learned so much from that, and I felt so much better prepared for clinicals, as well as knowing how the "real world" of a nursing floor works. Just knowing the routine, and everyone's roles in the hospital can really help.
Best of luck, and congratulations on being almost done!
Have you looked for externship programs?? Most of the hospitals in my area (oklahoma city) had something of this nature to help get new grads more prepared for their new role as RN by getting hands on experience. I externed at the place where I work now for about a year before I got my license. These types of programs usually guarantee a position for you as well so long as you fulfill all of their requirements. They can be hard to get ( I had some help getting mine from an inside source, so I just got lucky), so you may have to apply for several and hope for the best unless you have a high GPA and an impressive resume. Don't be pickey either about what unit you work on, because that can keep you from getting a job. You have to start somewhere to get your foot in the door, then you could probably transfer later on to something that is more of what you're looking for.
you should have already done this but ask your instructors for letters of recommendation! clinical and theory instructors to attach to application/resume packet. dont wait to the end, the may forget you from semesters ago or receive too many request at the end.
its common for those graduating in may to be applying/interviewing in at least januaray (even earlier) and those graduating in december to be appling/interviewing in at least august. so get on it.
first decide what you want to do in nursing. adults? peds? speciality? hospital? clinic? etc. then look into what is available to you. try to find a hospital/clinic/whichever with a program that has a new grad program or at least a good orientation program.
Any connections? Have you had a great clinical experience and can ask a nurse there about info? Have you been to a hospital that you want to learn more about? Most hospitals have orientations around nursing graduation times so look up some hospital sites for the info.
write or update your resume. put your seeking position, certificates, school experience, honors, volunteer experience, previous work experience, for references put people's names and your instructors names who had provided you letters and put letter/letters attached.