fresh ideas for jobless new grads

  1. 15
    So I've been reading a lot of posts from new grads who can't get a job, and I must admit....I'm bummed out for them. So I thought I would try to come up with some ideas for anyone who is needing to beef up their resume! Lemme know what you think....

    • become certified in ACLS
    • have your resume looked at by a graphic designer or artsy person. I did this and it looks awesome! I had someone review it to make sure the wording was good and then I handed it off to a friend who works in graphic design and he tweeked it and made it visually appealing. Don't make it too crazy, but just something to make it stand out in a stack of resumes.
    • if you belong to a church, maybe you could do Parish nursing while you search for a job. Churches usually have an elderly group (our are called the Golden Gems) and you could probably do blood pressures or presentations on osteoporosis, diabetes etc.
    • I know there are some community colleges that offer critical care courses or peri-Op courses for RN's. They usually have 2 semester components The first semester is lecture and the second is clinicals. The ones around me are certified with the local hospitals, meaning they use the same curriculum that the hospital puts their nurses through and are 1 night a week, so you can still get a job if you want! A major benefit is that you can get your foot into a hospital with the clinicals and probably wont have to sign as long of a contract because you paid for the education yourself.
    • Join an organization!!!! If you are interested in the NICU then join the NANN, critical care ACCN, peri-Op AORN, hospice HPNA, etc. Most of these have local chapters and you can attend the meetings and network. Nursing is all about who you know, and joining an organization puts you in a room with a bunch of managers/educators/nurses from your area hospitals who work in the specialty you want. If you become involved someone will take notice and you already know them!
    • Universities will let you audit some classes, so why not audit a pharm or physiology class? If I were a manager looking to hire someone and you said that you are taking a masters level physiology class to broaden your nursing knowledge...well, that would impress me. You could also bank those credits and use them for a masters program later on.
    • Become a BLS instructor
    • Maybe tutoring some nursing students? Or volunteering to help out at the skills lab? That would look nice on a resume.

    I dunno. Any other experienced nurses have other suggestions? My heart goes out to all the new grads who can't find work.

    :redpinkhe Jess
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  4. 12 Comments so far...

  5. 4
    Those are some good ideas. The only one I disagree with is the resume thing. Most places take resumes electronically now and they specifically say do not do any fancy fonts, etc., because it just screws up the format when it comes through. Plus, most of the time it just gets turned into typefont on the receiving end anyway. A better tip would be to scour it for keywords that recruiters look for, and make sure your spelling, grammar, and punctuation is pristine.
    Not_A_Hat_Person, lindarn, DogWmn, and 1 other like this.
  6. 1
    That is a good idea about the keywords. I was thinking that if you drop off your resume somewhere to have it look original. But I see your point with most hospitals wanting the electronic format.
    Siddhartha likes this.
  7. 8
    Those are some great ideas, PureLifeRN. I have just one minor issue to nitpick, though. I don't think you can audit classes and then use the credits for a degree, but I agree that taking them would be worthwhile.

    I agree with taking ACLS regardless of what setting you want to work in. It's not that hard of a class, but I think it greatly contributes to ability to recognize and respond to several emergencies that everyone will likely encounter at one point or another in life, especially working as a nurse. Sure, you might not have all of the drugs and the defib handy, but the knowledge won't hurt you at all. I really enjoyed studying for and then taking that class, and I did end up finally getting a job that it applies to. Of course I'm a dork, but whatever. The only downside (other than the cost, anyway) is that after taking ACLS you'll want to throw stuff at your TV whenever one of those hospital or EMS shows is on.

    If you do take ACLS, however, don't list it on you resume when applying for jobs for which it's not at all applicable. I think a lot of the folks in settings where it's not at all applicable (e.g. LTC, but I never applied there, so I can't be positive) see it and go "oh, he doesn't really want to be here."

    If you graduated with an ADN look into starting work toward a BSN, esp. part time online through a respectable school. Don't sign up for too many hours or it'll make it impossible to start a FT job, though. I think this, combined with my previous experience as an LPN (and RN for the last 6 months, but not in a specialty that I wanted to remain in for long), put me on the radar of managers. It will keep your knowledge current, teach you more, and prepare you for eventual advancement. It also shows that you're interested in the career long term.

    I think the number one most important thing that you can do is be your best at all times. Be gracious, kind, and confident but humble. Make a good impression on people, without acting phony. I ultimately got my new job because I interviewed with one manager and she recommended me to another at a sister hospital. Yes, the job I ended up getting was one that I hadn't even applied for (and I applied for a LOT of positions) and it's in one of my dream settings.

    As far as classes at community colleges go, I don't know of any critical care or periop orientations offered around here. I do know, however, that many of the colleges have independent study type classes where you meet with an instructor (ideally one with good contacts that practices in the setting you want to enter) and design a course of study. It might be possible to arrange your own orientation, consisting perhaps of a didactic component (maybe ECCO if your interest is critical care, or the ENA online orientation if your interest is emergency nursing) followed by a clinical rotation in one of the hospitals the college has an arrangement with for clinicals. I can't be certain, but I'd wager that if you could get a hospital to agree to precept you after doing your own study program to prepare for that unit that you might make yourself a great opening for showing that you know your stuff and would be a good addition. Sure, it'd be expensive (the ENA course is $599 alone, for example), but I think it might be worth it to those of you who really, really want a job in a certain setting.

    You might also look into volunteering with a fire department, esp. if you can get them to pay for EMT training if you commit to serving for a while. While it's not the same as working as a nurse you'll gain valuable skills and knowledge while serving your community. Plus it looks a lot better on the resume than "Sat around x1 yr watching reruns and infomercials, drinking beer, and crying because I couldn't find a job."

    All joking aside, I wish all of the nurses who worked hard to get through school the best in finding jobs that they love.
    Last edit by Perpetual Student on Jan 25, '10 : Reason: Not enough Pepsi yet.
  8. 0
    Do you think it's a good idea for a new graduate nurse to work at a private surgical center which is relatively small??
  9. 0
    thank you for the advice and may God bless you for your generosity
  10. 1
    Quote from lilbugger
    do you think it's a good idea for a new graduate nurse to work at a private surgical center which is relatively small??
    anything that does keeps you from having time lapses with nothing going on in your resume is a plus (especially since it is in the same field). on top of that you will learn very valuable skills there that will give you an edge over another candidate for an or position somewhere else. imho, every job just builds up on what we already have and ends up being relevant in bits and pieces at a future position.
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
  11. 0
    These are very good tips!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!
  12. 0
    I've been a Paramedic for 20 years and graduated a ADN program last May. I was holding out for critical care (ED, ICU) I finally had an interview this past December for an ED and a PICU. Both looked at and favored my current background in EMS. So I would agree on ACLC, PALS, PEPP, BTLS, PHTLS,etc. Any of these classes cannot hurt and most are held on week ends.

    EMT training will take upwards of a year for most programs, so thats something to keep in mind.
  13. 0
    Quote from ppfd
    I've been a Paramedic for 20 years and graduated a ADN program last May. I was holding out for critical care (ED, ICU) I finally had an interview this past December for an ED and a PICU. Both looked at and favored my current background in EMS. So I would agree on ACLC, PALS, PEPP, BTLS, PHTLS,etc. Any of these classes cannot hurt and most are held on week ends.

    EMT training will take upwards of a year for most programs, so thats something to keep in mind.

    Huh. All of the EMT-B programs here are just one quarter (so about 3 months) long. I guess there must be some regional variation.


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