You know...I think people just don't get it. Here in Maine, it's a tough nurse job market. Most people looked at me like I had an extra large skin tag on the end me my eye lid - and they just realized that I tied it off with dental floss to stop the circulation and kill the skin tag. Only problem is that now the skin tag is the size of a grape and dark purple. Anyways - I digress. I don't really have one of those on my eye lid, but I did have one in another area of my body...and I did try that technique. I speak from experience...just get it cut off.
So they look at me funny when I tell them, "I'm having a hard time finding a nursing job." They say things like, "I thought there was a nursing shortage," and "maybe you should try finding a job as a computer person (previous occupation) until you find a job in nursing." Which, to the latter statement I promptly puke and then stick my finger in my throat to finish anything that I might have missed just the minute before! WHAT? NO I'M NOT GOING TO GET A JOB AS A COMPUTER PERSON AFTER SPENDING THE LAST FEW YEARS IN NURSING SCHOOL HELL! ARE YOU CRAZY? I WORKED MY TAIL OFF FOR THIS
?? NO. NO I WON'T DO IT! SORRY.
When I graduated in May and soon found myself in your shoes I became very discouraged. I was hired and started work at the end of June in an Emergency Room. I was shocked! Everyone tells me that you need to start in Med/Surg first. No specialty will hire a new grad right cold. That mentality is both wrong AND wrong. Did you want a specialty eventually? If yes, try looking at that specialty. Apply EVERYWHERE. Apply for ALL NURSING JOBS and go to as many interviews as will take you. Apply for the jobs that say 1 or more years of experience needed. APPLY FOR THEM ALL. I take that back...it's a waste of your time to try and apply for temporary nursing jobs. Do that after a year's experience.
I applied for a job at a hospital in Maine. That afternoon I got a call from another hospital clear across the state...and I didn't even apply there. What I found was that many hospitals are affiliated with another and share applicant information.
Some electronic applications ask you up front how many years experience you have. Zero isn't an option, yet the hiring managers who I talked with before I applied there all told me to just put in the minimum number of years on the application just to make the application accept you and get your application seen by the hiring manager. Do what it takes to push your application or resume on through to the hiring manager. They get it. They see that you just graduated. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE THE HIRING MANAGER WANT TO INVITE YOU FOR AN INTERVIEW.
The job of a resume and application is to get you an interview. The job of the interview is to get you hired. The top third of your resume should say what you REALLY want the hiring manager to know about you...they generally only skim the first third of the resume.
Streamline your application. Only you will know what I mean by that...look at your application to anywhere and ask yourself, "what does streamline mean and how can I streamline my application?"
I REALLY DO UNDERSTAND YOUR PROBLEM! SERIOUSLY! Maine hospitals generally have a poor new grad program because there are so many new grads and so few hospitals here. The problem for us is that it's such a big commitment for them to hire new grads. New grads aren't really up and running right out of nursing school. We so don't know anything. They have to invest a lot of time and money just to get us to take our own patients. If they hire a lot of new grads, the skill mix goes down and the patient ultimately suffers. Miles Hospital told me that they received 80 applications for one new grad position. Nursing shortage? What nursing shortage?
Across the country, there is no consistency just how to call new grad positions. Some new grad positions are called nurse interns, while others are just an RN position waiting for any warm body. Franklin Memorial hires new grads and trains them in more than one department and guarantees them a position after the period of orientation - which lasts about 6 months to a year. They just don't guarantee what position they'll give ya. Some hospitals only hire new grads in certain times of the year. Maine Medical Center does that, but sometimes that hire at other times in the year too. MMC also considers new grads for "Nurse I" positions.
I think it's a confusing sea of misinformation as a new grad. They tell us that we'll always have a job, but what they don't tell you is that you need to REALLY bust your tail looking for that first one. Sure, some people had jobs lined up...but a lot of people in my class had problems just like you and me.
GENERALLY, here are some tips...
1) Use the Maine Hospital Association website to locate all hospitals in the state of Maine. Go here... www.themha.org
2) Apply to all nursing jobs that aren't temporary and aren't listed seemingly anywhere
3) Remember specialty
4) The more applications and resumes you send, the more chance you have
5) Year requirements sometimes don't matter as much as we all think they do
6) resume and application purpose = get interview
7) interview purpose = get job
8) ADVANCED interview skill to hone so that you get a job offer the same day...don't let them ask you all the questions. don't wait until they offer for you to ask questions. think ahead of what kinds of questions you want to ask. ask things about the hospital, how things get done in the department. show a genuine interest. look for things in their answers that prompt you to make statements about your experience and how you can meet their need or help with this or that challenge or mission statement. In other words, don't let them lead the interview - you lead the interview. Let them know you mean business. Don't push them. Show them that your interest, sincerity and why you're the right member of the team - part of the right chemistry of a winning team.
9) read the mission statement or vision statement of the organization you are applying to. quote it or address it every step of the way. use it in your cover letter, thank you notes, interviews, etc.
10) hand deliver a thank you note immediately after interviews. use it as another opportunity to tell them how you would make a difference in their organization. maybe you noticed something they said after you asked a question like, "How are conflicts resolved in your department?" Tell them how you used to resolve conflicts as part of your daily job at Funtown's security crime scene investigation swat team.
The successful person is one who does what others are unwilling to do.
Go get 'em partner!
[sorry for the lengthy reply - i hope i didn't gross you out about the grape sized skin tag removal]