Dear Nurse Beth,
Currently, I'm in Austin, TX. We are planning to move to Raleigh, NC when I can get a job. NC is a compact state (making it much easier). We have a place to live and my family lives in Raleigh, so we are very excited to be moving.
I have my BSN & 6+ years experience in a level 3 NICU, I would really like to try something new and not necessarily on night shift. I would like very much to try to OR and have applied for New to OR nurse positions that accepts experienced nurses and new nurse grads. Although, I feel as if 6+ years in a NICU has left me in a corner that I'm unable to get out of. I'm very willing to fly up to Raleigh for a face to face interview too. What can I do to make myself stand out long distance?
Dear How Can I Stand Out,
What an exciting move
To make yourself stand out, use keywords from the job description to get past the ATS (application tracking software). Research the facility and customize your resume and cover letter to each facility. For example, if the organization is faith-based, do your values align with theirs? If the pt population is Hispanic, do you speak conversational Spanish?
Use examples instead of overused words/ terms such as "team player". Examples are memorable and help you to stand out. An example might be saying were voted Employee of the Month, which has a stronger impact than saying "team player" or "works well with others". Another example could be 'has perfect attendance" rather than saying "reliable". Examples paint a picture and help you to stand out from countless others in the reader's mind.
Riskier but effective strategies include cold calling the hiring manager and dropping off your resume in person. There's a right way to do this, and a wrong way. I know because this happened to me all the time.
In my book (below) I go over every strategy you can think of to help you stand out in a competitive market and include sample cover letters and resumes. The purpose of your application is to land an interview, and the purpose of an interview is to land a job. Over half of the book is dedicated to interviewing, and how to ace any interview.
Interviews are extremely important and you must prepare for interview questions such as "What is your greatest weakness?" and "Tell us about a time you had a conflict at work". There are answers that should not be given, such as "I'm a perfectionist". Saying "I'm a perfectionist" tells the interviewer that you did not purposefully prepare for your interview.
The key is to give an answer that is meaningful and segue quickly to the positive as in "Delegating is an opportunity for improvement for me. I have been purposeful lately about delegating even when I feel uncomfortable about it, and my comfort level is increasing. I'm starting to see how patients benefit when we all work together as a team"
Notice the word "weakness" was not used. This is just one of many insider tips I love to share from my background as a hiring manager. If only applicants knew what I know from the other side of the table
Best of luck to you
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!