Getting your first nursing job is tough because there are so many new grads out there and more graduating every day. Forget everything you have read about a nursing shortage. Even if there is one, it doesn't mean they will hire you just because you passed the NCLEX. BUT getting your first job in any field has not changed in decades. Yes, you have to have the education that is appropriate for that job. For nurses, you need to pass the NCLEX. If the hospitals you want to work at only hire BSNs, then you need a BSN. If there are hospitals in your area that hire ADNs and you are in an ADN program - then target those hospitals for the suggestions you are about to read.
You need to start building a resume right now while you are in nursing school. What will make your resume stand out is the hospital related experience you have on it. You do not need to work full time or even part time while in school. But you do need to work in a hospital at least on a PRN or volunteer basis. There are many CNA, BO and volunteer jobs that only require 3-8 hours a week. BEFORE you say to yourself that you don't have time to do that and go to school, just add up all the time you spend on facebook and texting each week. You do have the time.
Next, while you are at the hospital, bust your butt helping patients and nurses to get yourself noticed. Make sure that everyone knows you are in nursing school. DO NOT sit around texting or gossiping with the staff. If you worked your butt off, the nurses will notice and offer to give you references when you graduate.
Before starting nursing school, I set up an informational interview with a nursing recruiter at the hospital I wanted to work at. Besides reviewing my resume, she gave me this advice:
1) Get on payroll - even if its a PRN job as a BO.
2) Volunteer 3 hours a week - if you work your butt off for free, the nurse manager knows you will work your butt off when you get paid.
3) Every minute you are at the hospital is an opportunity to prove what your work ethic is - don't waste a single minute gossiping with the employees or texting. If you show that you want to take care of patients, nurses will be knocking on my door when you graduate telling me that I have to hire you.
The nursing recruiter was right. I did all three of the above, passed the NCLEX on a Tuesday and was hired one week later. My hospital is only hiring BSNs and I graduated with an ADN. But they made an exception because so many nurses and managers gave me references.
Your ability to get a job when you graduate is in your hands. But you have to start now while you are in school. I live in a city that is overloaded with nursing schools. Every student I graduated with, who worked during school, was hired within a few weeks of passing the NCLEX.