New Grad NP - How I Got Multiple Job Offers
Please note: I am not writing this to brag, but to help other new NP grads and job seekers. If I can do it, you can, too.
About me: middle-aged, no RN experience, prior career unrelated to healthcare. I joke that I'm "female, fat, and over forty." My only real "plus" is that I went to a prestigious school.
Job Search Results
Since commencing a serious job search at the beginning of November, I've received multiple job offers in the $110K to $120K per year range, in areas with a very reasonable cost of living, where you can rent a nice 1 BR apartment for $800 per month and buy a nice home for $200K to $300K. The only exceptions to this are Hawaii, which can be expensive, depending on the island, and Alaska.
Now, I have SEVEN job offers and my headache is deciding which one to choose, as they are all good. I have a few more interviews in the next two weeks and may receive a couple more offers.
Where I looked for work: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Montana, Hawaii, and Alaska.
How you, too, can get multiple good offers:
1. Invest in your resume. If you are sending in applications and not even getting a phone interview, then it is likely your resume needs work. Be willing to put in a lot of time or invest in a professional resume service. You can't write a good resume in a couple of hours. If your school offers a career service, see if you can get a resume review and help to improve your resume.
For those of you who say, "I can't afford a resume writer," I say "How long can you afford to be unemployed?"
2. Be flexible and open-minded on location. I can't say this strongly enough. There are thousands of NP jobs out there going begging! But they are not in NYC, San Francisco, or Los Angeles! Areas that have a hard time attracting providers are much more willing to hire and train new grads and they will pay you more than the big cities. More about this below. Once you get a couple years of experience, then you can easily get a job in one of those cities, if that is what you want.
3. Do not rule out a location if you have an opportunity to interview there. Go and see for yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised. I had the opportunity to interview for 2 jobs in Fresno, California. All my friends laughed and sneered at the thought of living in Fresno. All I could find online were negative comments about Fresno. Well, to my surprise, Fresno is a very nice city, with a metro area population of 1 million people! There is plenty of beautiful, affordable housing and lots of MD, NP, and PA jobs going begging. I received excellent job offers from both interviews in Fresno and one MD said he would match any other offer I received!
Some locations may be within easy access of the more desirable cities. For example, Fresno is a 2-hour drive from San Francisco, 3 hours from Los Angeles, and 1.5 hours from Yosemite. Sacramento is only a one hour drive from San Francisco. In Hawaii, it is cheap and easy to take a short flight to another island for the weekend.
4. Make yourself visible to recruiters. Have a good LinkedIn profile. If you look for jobs on sites like Indeed, many listings are from recruiters and ask you to send in resume and maybe fill out an online form. Make sure to do this so recruiters can easily find you. About half my interviews came through recruiters.
5. Don't take job descriptions too literally. Most say experience required or desired. However, I applied to these anyway and got a lot of responses from the less desirable areas.
6. Be willing to consider unpopular specialties. I happen to like pain management and got a lot of job interviews in this field. In addition, when interviewing at a beautiful primary care clinic, when I said I liked pain management and psych (just want is done in primary care), the Medical Director was thrilled because she could not find a provider who wanted work with those patients. I also had good interviews in sleep medicine, neurology, and cardiology.
7. You may have to make some sacrifices. In my previous career, most jobs were in a handful of very expensive cities. It was common for people to couch surf or rent a cheap room for the work week and then go home on weekends. I did this – a 450-mile commute each way every week for several months. Short-term pain for long-term gain.
How to find NP shortage areas and job listings
allnurses doesn't like links in posts, so here are reports and websites you can find via Google:
State-Level Projections of Supply and Demand for Primary Care Practitioners – report by HHS
HPSA Look Up – Use this to get a list of facilities in medically underserved areas by state and county so you can apply directly
Search on "nurse practitioner shortage areas in [name of state]" to get state-level resources
R Net – site for recruiting rural practitioners
Health Workforce Connector – job search site run by NHSC. You can put up your profile and search for clinics in different locations and then apply directly. You can also sign up to be notified of virtual job fairs – I got 70% call backs from applying to employers at these job fairs.
Indeed, Zip Recruiter, and other job boards
Professional association job boards – excellent resource. Look for your state NP association job board and NP specialty association job boards.
Advantages of working in underserved areas:
1. People there really need you and you will be performing an important public service
2. Chance to make good money and pay off your student loans quickly
3. You may be eligible for loan repayment at the state and/or federal level
4. May count towards loan forgiveness
5. Ability to save money and buy a nice affordable home
6. This type of experience looks great on your resume
7. You may find a beautiful place you didn't' know about!
Hope this helps other new grad NPs. Please share any other job search tips you have!Last edit by Joe V on Jan 2, '18
Dec 30, '17Congrats! most people i know that have struggled to find positions weren't willing to re-locate, It's great you are so flexible! Good luck on your new adventure.Dec 30, '17These are great advice for new grad who are searching. Many new grads always complain about how they can't get jobs and that there are no job opportunities. There are plenty of jobs out there. Its just all they want is to stay in the city and a major metropolitan area. What they fail to see is that clinics and employers have to pick the right candidate and it takes time and it is not a RN job where you can just get up and leave. These employers have their time invested in you and taking the time to train you so they of course want to make sure you don't just leave right away (not saying that all employers take the time to train you but there are bad employers out there as well) and waste money and the time to invest in your orientation/training since there are overhead costs that they have to spend on you like your DEA,, salary...etc. They are actually not making any money off of you when you first start but are hoping once you get acclimated with your job you will be able to make up for the overhead costs and overtime make revenue for them.
Don't just let employers interview you. YOU NEED TO INTERVIEW THEM AS WELL! Don't just nod at everything they say. Come prepared. ask about the patient population, how many patients you'll be seeing, how much will they be paying extra if you did any procedures, work environment, benefits... etc. You need to also make sure that they are the right fit for you and you need to get a feel for the people that you are going to be working with because if you already don't feel at ease during the interview its most likely that you will not be at ease with them working permanently. Last thing you want is that you accepted an offer for a really high salary and you are miserable within 3 months... so miserable that you want to quit but you have a 1 year contract so you have to stay and everyday you come to work until your 1 year is up you are dreading getting up from bed.
Rural areas and underserved areas are really under rated. I have never worked as a NP in a metropolitan area it was always rural and underserved. I have learned so much from my patients and build so much trust. I have found that if you build good rapport with your patients, they are more likely to take in your suggestions and be more compliant with their disease management. One thing about rural area patients though is that they get attach to you once you become their regular provider which can be very hard when you decide to leave. Serving rural areas is the most rewarding and fulfilling job so far that I have ever had.
Working in rural areas, sometimes you have the liberty to do a lot more in your clinical practice. For example, I work primary care Internal Medicine everyday but I am also scheduled in school based Teen Clinic anywhere from 2-4 times a month (that's not over time by the way. Instead of scheduling me in Internal Medicine they will schedule me in Teen Clinic which is something I want).
On top of that, my MD supervisors have encouraged every MD/NP/PA that if they have a passion for a certain type of specialty or they have a project that we want to do to help improve patient care (this is not mandatory, its optional) they will support us and will provide guidance for this and will give us time within our 40 hour week schedule to do this. I find that this is the best set up for me as I can do primary care and also hold a specialty clinic once to twice a month.
I am so blessed to have found this rural area that I am at. I think it is one of the most beautiful areas in the US to live in. I live in the 4 corners area and i am surrounded by 7-8 national parks/monuments within a 20 min to 5 hour drive. NM,CO, UT are only 1.5 to 3 hour drive. It qualifies for loan repayment (although I never had any loans because I worked and went to NP school at the same time & paid for it but my NP school tuition cost was only about $28,000 at a public state university)
As far as curriculum vitae/resume goes, you don't have to spend money to have someone do them for you. You can do it yourself. You can just ask your preceptors or your NP instructors if they can provide you a sample of their CV/resume and try to tailor the format to theirs and how you apply it to your professional experience (whether in healthcare field or not) and your education. Once you've done that, just ask one of your professors to review it for you and give you feedback. None of my NP preceptors and professors were opposed to this. In fact, they gave me suggestions and feedback on how to do my CV/Resume properly. If you don't feel comfortable with any of your instructors/professors/preceptors you can always contact your local NP group and see if someone is willing to take a look at it.
Also, please don't put your hourly salary or your salary on your CV/Resume, I have seen this before. I'm sure everyone has a different way of doing references but I never did put my references on my CV/Resume. I figured if they were truly interested after the initial interview they would call me back and request for them and most of the employers who were interested did that. If they weren't interested they never asked for it and I never heard from them again.
What I will tell you to invest your money on is once you have accepted a job offer (and again, this is optional but this I think is worth your investment), is for a lawyer to take a look at your contract before you sign it. One thing to be familiar with is a noncompete clause (I won't explain it here because I think its worth your time to do the research and googling it up yourself). If there is something you do not understand in your contract or some type of fancy jargon that you do not understand or may have different interpretations.... its worth getting a lawyer to take a look at it so you don't allow yourself to get jipped by mindlessly signing a contract.Dec 31, '17Just beware, I had a friend chase different jobs around for years, ie "might qualify for loan repayment" and none of them ever actually did.Dec 31, '17Quote from OldmahubbardA site can only be eligible for loan repayment. The provider must apply for the program, so there is no guarantee one will get it. However, working at an eligible site is the first step.Just beware, I had a friend chase different jobs around for years, ie "might qualify for loan repayment" and none of them ever actually did.Dec 31, '17She could never get a straight answer on whether the sites were eligible. Perhaps eligibility comes and goesJan 1Quote from OldmahubbardNHSC makes a list of approved sites publicly available. Yes, eligibility can change over time. Here is the website to find eligible sites. Basically, the site must have a HPSA score of 17 or higher, currently.She could never get a straight answer on whether the sites were eligible. Perhaps eligibility comes and goes
HRSA Data Warehouse - Report Tool - One Click Report Filter SelectionFeb 11Thank you for sharing your experience. I plan to reference back to your post once I am done with NP school.Feb 12Sounds like you are doing well. Just want to add my standard disclaimer about the Central Valley. Do not move there without reading up on the air quality. My first NP job was in that area (great pay, got loan repayment), I left about 1.5 years after my son was born because he was horribly sick all the time. If you (or any family members who would move with you) have any issues with allergies, asthma, sinus problems please think twice. Having a baby so sick for the first year of his life was seriously awful. And when I told my medical director why I was leaving he was very sympathetic as told me that I am one of many providers who just could not stay in the area because they or their family members were so sick all of the time. Also, you may want to read up on Valley Fever (I also had no idea about that before I moved there). In short, between the air pollution, valley fever, and suffocating summer heat, I almost never wanted to go outside .Feb 12Quote from yogagalMILLIONS of people live in the Central Valley. While it is not a good choice for those sensitive to air quality, most of the population does not fall into this category.Sounds like you are doing well. Just want to add my standard disclaimer about the Central Valley. Do not move there without reading up on the air quality. My first NP job was in that area (great pay, got loan repayment), I left about 1.5 years after my son was born because he was horribly sick all the time. If you (or any family members who would move with you) have any issues with allergies, asthma, sinus problems please think twice. Having a baby so sick for the first year of his life was seriously awful. And when I told my medical director why I was leaving he was very sympathetic as told me that I am one of many providers who just could not stay in the area because they or their family members were so sick all of the time. Also, you may want to read up on Valley Fever (I also had no idea about that before I moved there). In short, between the air pollution, valley fever, and suffocating summer heat, I almost never wanted to go outside .Feb 13Quote from FullGlassYou're right millions do live there, and respiratory illnesses are a big problem (I saw it first hand in clinic the 3 years that I worked there). More power to you if you are able to tolerate it though, you will be living large with a fat salary, fantastic job security, and really nice big cheap house compared to any where else in CA.MILLIONS of people live in the Central Valley. While it is not a good choice for those sensitive to air quality, most of the population does not fall into this category.
I will say that I really enjoyed my patients and coworkers there. The patients at the FQHC were the nicest people. A lot of farm workers, hard working people that were very appreciative of the care we provided. And even though like you said SF is only a couple of hours away, you will find that most patients cannot travel that far to see specialist and in that regard primary care in the Central Valley is very much rural medicine, you HAVE to do it all as much as possible as access to many specialists is limited either by geography, poverty, immigration/insurance status or all three. This makes it challenging, but honestly it was probably the best learning experience I could have had as a new NP!
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