Tips for new grads from one who got a job

  1. 23
    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
    RN_Incredible, RN_Mo, Krytlebug, and 20 others like this.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Wow...this is very good advice! Thank you for your tips. I have a question where did you find such classes- wound care and IV inserts/draws,etc?? Hospitals? Private schools? I too am interested in ICU.
    Last edit by strawberryheartRN on Apr 3, '11
  5. 0
    @strawberryheart--

    I found them online. The particular company I went through was AANE Consultants (2 nurses who teach hands-on courses) at www.aaneconsultants.com

    Hope this helps!
  6. 0
    Thanks for the tips. I'm definitely having a hard time finding a position as a new grad.
  7. 0
    This post just helped me a lot - I was on the fence about taking a Phlebotomy class because I "might not need it", and the cost is $600 for a 1 semester course and 2 clinicals, but I think the approach to get every cert and class that could possibly help seems to be the right way to go. I'm only starting NS in Aug, but currently trying to get a tech job.
    Last edit by 2011NursingStudent on Apr 11, '11
  8. 2
    Quote from ICUSkeenRN
    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
    #1 is how I got my interview for the job I ended up being offered. I still had to apply online, but I'd already met my future manager and been able to hand them my resume in person. I wouldn't have gotten past HR if I didn't have them waiting for my application and telling HR to schedule me for an interview on their end.

    To add, for those who do stay local, keep in touch with your professors, ask them if they know of job openings or know people where you are applying. USE your network if you still have it! Also, volunteering is a great way to network (and show employers that you are someone who likes to keep busy) as well. American Red Cross has volunteer positions for nurses through their Disaster Health Service. Find your local chapter online for info on how to apply.
    turquoisefire and ICUSkeenRN like this.
  9. 0
    FINALLY! some good advice for new grads. i think that this post has really helped me to redirect my approach to getting hired. thanks sooo much!
  10. 0
    This needs to be a sticky!!!
  11. 0
    Yes, this is very interesting and informative.
    I am a new graduate, class of December 2010
    and am having difficulty landing a hospital job.
    I have applied everywhere, but with little luck.
  12. 0
    Thank you for this wonderful advice! This is awesome!!


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