This is just my personal opinion on what your plan of action needs to be in 10 steps:
1. Spend a few days and research hospital locations, their affiliation, reviews, and LEARN which organization pays the best, and treats their employees the best. Unless your planning on moving around the country, you want to aim your target at getting in with the best organization possible for a multitude of reasons even if that means 3 years down the road. It's possible they may not hire you, or take interest in the beginning, but at some point they will if your determined & focused.
2. Then apply to any open Med/Surgical positions WITHOUT Telemetry. These positions can be a bit crazy, but you learn a bit of everything, perfect to branch into a different position later. The cardiac portion of nursing can be very difficult, and this varies a lot based on the type of organization/hospital your working for. When your working with heart problems, a patient can deteriorate out of no where, and if you don't know what your looking for, or aren't confident in reading 12 leads etc, ACLS etc then your going to place yourself under a lot of pressure/stress. For example: A patient I had my last shift was positive Troponin I the minute the patient got to the floor. The ED nurse had consulted the Cardiologist and literally minutes after getting the patient into the room, the Cardiologist calls and the first thing he asks me on the phone is what Artery is affected. What this translates to: "Which artery is affected on the 12 lead the patient just had", in which I had already reviewed the 12 lead report prior to the patient's arrival and was able to tell him quickly. He then asked some basic questions followed with an order to prep the patient for the Cath lab. In this case the Cardiologist already knows this patient outside of the hospital, so he was only interested in specific information. However, when I was a new grad, this would of confused the hell out of me.
3. If you get an interview at a place that is less than the best, it's likely they have a lot of internal problems, so showing up and demonstrating leadership qualities, DOING THE RIGHT THING, taking care of business no matter what, and being responsible is what will look good. Turn over is generally a problem at these places, so if you can show from your work history your not a job hopper, point it out. The managers are generally nurses themselves, so they already know as a new grad you don't know practically anything about the job, which is why it's good to show them the framework to be a good nurse is there.
4. If you get the job, you should always get an "Orientation Period". It's really important to try make sure you get more than a month. If they say "Oh we're going to give you 3 shifts with a preceptor", you should speak up and ask for longer. Those who don't ask, don't get.
5. When you do the orientation part, use every opportunity to learn more about your position. Questions to ask: What types of patient problems are common here? Any surgical cases admitted on this floor? Where are the extensions to call other departments? Ask as many questions as you can, write them down. If the nurse is telling you: "We get a lot of patients with Cholecystitis or Pancreatitis...", then do the smart thing and learn the hell out of that at home.
6. Ensure you ask what the sick policy is, do they use a company e-mail, how is the schedule made?, can you make your own, is there a website to do your schedule? How much Paid Time Off do I accrue, is their weekend percentage bonus etc. Ask all these things, so you don't get random curve balls from the manager.
7. Learn what physician groups are present. Often times hospitals contract with a group of physicians (Internal Medicine) doctors. Try learn how this group works, how they round, how to contact them, and what expectations they have. For example does the Internal Medicine write orders for pain medication or does the surgeon? Every hospital has a system with physicians, try learn how the place your at functions with their physician pool, it often times won't be the same at a different hospital organization.
8. When you get established, have a routine etc, start learning the cardiac stuff, get your ACLS, and learn as much as you can about the heart, 12 leads, read forums, do whatever you can to enhance your knowledge. You want to bring this knowledge, with ACLS certification so you can move into a Telemetry unit or a Telemetry Observation unit (Which I work on).
9. When you have two years experience, start applying back to the place you wanted to work at, and try use any resource to get in with a job opening. Often times, if your persistent, you will get an opportunity. I was told that 15 people were interviewed for my position, and they gave me the position primarily because I had worked up to charge nurse quickly at my first position. Leadership, confidence, and knowledge at this point are things the manager wants to hear.
10. The final and absolute most important thing, KEEP LEARNING, use Youtube it's the best resource. The whole reason to get into a better hospital is not just for the increase in pay/benefits, but to be around hopefully more skilled co-workers. In my situation, my unit is an extension of the ED. I take on literally every last thing you can think of. Sepsis, Chest Pain, MI, Stroke, Trauma, Chole/Appy, Fracture, Arrhythmia, Kidney/GI problems, Psyche etc. We consult with every MD specialty, always getting calls from physicians or call them. There are so many situations patient's almost code or do code and I feel I could do the protocols in my sleep, it's instinctive. This is where you want to aim, because there after you can move to ICU or ED itself, and also stand a good chance of getting into specialty positions which compensate well.