I'm a longtime lurker but I finally decided to take the plunge; mostly because I am fed up (like most new grads). I'll be honest, sometimes when I'm feeling frustrated with the job scarcity situation, I search this forum and read other people's similar struggles--it helps me realize that I am not the only one.
I won't bore you with a diatribe of cathartic crying, as much as I really want to. Here are the meat and potatoes.
I have been applying seemingly non-stop for over a year (I got started even before I graduated). I have sent hundreds of applications, just like everyone else. I have tried calling DONS and HR at different institutions in order to put a face [voice] to my name when applying. I will admit that my #1 strategy has been to work with the numbers. I figured I would just bank my odds on the statistical chance that someone will look at my resume and call me on the chances of me flooding the market with my resume. I set myself a "Daily 3 Limit" where I would apply to ATLEAST 3 jobs every day, with some weekends off (I think this is reasonable). Indeed, SimplyHired, Monster, Craigslist, etc. I limited my search to my state only (CA) for the first 8 months, but I have expanded my search nationwide in recent months. I try to find leads any way I can, and even if they are cold leads--I follow through. I was working at Home Depot part time, but I quit in March in order to dedicate more time to the job search (I know, risky move).
My only luck thus far has been a residency program that my school sponsored. I was placed into a hospital and worked for 3 months under an RN. Even though I was well liked and achieved good marks, the hospital is currently undergoing financial revamp, census is low, nurses are being laid off, etc--they were not able to accommodate me with a spot. I continue to follow up with them regardless. I was lucky to have such an opportunity. I am even luckier that I will be placed again for another 3 months, at another institution, because of my nursing school's determination to place us. I will start that again next week.
I hope I havn't lost my readers at this point, because this is the part where I ask for help.
Besides these residencies that were afforded to me by the nursing school I went to, out of the hundreds applications I have sent. I have no received one phone call. Here are my stats.
-BSN (GPA 3.60)
-Zero previous hospital-related experience, but I have 10 years retail experience (customer service)
-Volunteer (VA, Red Cross, Research Project)
-Preceptorship in ICU
-Residency in ICU
-Certs: PHN/BLS/ACLS/PALS/TNCC/ENPC/NRP/Basic EKG/12LeadEKG
I sit for my CEN in August. I know what some of you are thinking--"certs are worthless without experience." I really don't care. If I am able to take courses, expand my knowledge base, meet people, and build my resume while doing it, I'm going to. I am located in the Bay Area, CA--which is probably the worst place to be for someone like me. I'm finding it difficult for my application to be taken seriously when applying to other states because I am only licensed in California. Reciprocity or endorsement for license transfer is 200-300 dollars per state. I don't have that kind of coin.
Any advice for me? I'd be willing to send people my resume to take a look. I take criticism very well.
Apr 23, '12
From reading on AN I can see California is a very tough state.
I have a few questions. You worked in the ICU for three months.. Just getting your feet wet. You do know exactly what I am thinking. I understand trying to make yourself more marketable but I would have stopped at ACLS, PALS, and the EKG course. There is a such thing as overdoing it. Managers have many applications to look at and they need a clear picture of candidates and that is why the resume and cover letter is so important. You having all these certifications leads to them making assumptions like that you have a problem with focusing, will get bored easily, wasteful, impulsive, and believe in quantity and not quality of care. Every thing I just said could be absolutely FALSE but I hope you see what I mean I don't take it personally at all. All this stuff you have taken costs money. The MOST important thing you will need to do ( that you say you cannot afford at the moment) is transfer your license should you be offered employment. Why are you sitting for the CEN? Do you want to be an ER nurse? What if you get hired on a different type of unit? You said you are getting back into a residency program. Will this be in the ER? Think about this for a second. Even if you pass this test... You'd just be passing the test. Certification=competency. Everything you are certified in you should be able to perform or interpret independently. It's a patient safety thing, and I believe risks can be spotted in a resume.
You asked for advice and I will give it honestly. No more certifications and definitely cancel the CEN one if they will refund you. If ER nurse is your goal the courses related to trauma might not actually be a bad thing. Personalize your resume for every unit you apply to from now on. Leave NRP off if you are applying to the OR for example. Paint a CLEAR picture of who you are. Less is more.
I wish you the best.
Last edit by NP Sam on Apr 23, '12
: Reason: iphone messed up
Apr 23, '12
I honestly appreciate your response and can agree with everything you have said. I can see how an employer might interpret my various certification efforts as "flighty," but I feel most employers [being aware of how volatile the economic climate is] would appreciate, rather than disdain, these efforts as reflecting my "passion for learning." It is true, I have a passion for learning. No, I don't do 12 lead EKGs in the ICU; nor do I see trauma patients first hand--they usually come to the ICU after being stabilized. I honestly feel, however, that the TNCC and ENPC courses helped me understand what goes on across the hall (ED), plus it has provided me with invaluable assessment knowledge.
I would like to make it clear that my certifications reflect my need to keep my mind fresh and continue learning rather than an effort to decorate my resume.
As for making my resume focused; I have tried to cater my resume to reflect my passion for critical care without completely restricting me to it, if you know what I mean.
There is a fine line between putting all your eggs in one basket and being wishy-washy, that's always been my thought throughout this all. Thank you RN Sam for your input, I'll remember to keep that perspective in mind if I ever have an interview and they ask me to elaborate on my certifications.
Apr 23, '12
Are you willing to move to a different state for a year or two? El Paso, TX is hiring like crazy and the fact that you speak Spanish is a huge plus.
Apr 23, '12
Yes, I have been applying all over the US. I have applied in Texas many times. I recall applying to El Paso once or twice. Do you have any concrete leads--hospital names?
Hithere, Thank you for your contribution!
Last edit by 240zRN on Apr 23, '12
: Reason: typo
Apr 23, '12
Woah, with all that qualifications and 3 months residency in ICU and you can not get an interview is unbelievable. I suggest you to get someone to look at your resume and personal statement at first step. Honestly, you are more qualified than me.
Anyway, I am from Arizona. The situation in AZ is as worse as CA for new grads, but I applied for all over the countries. I got at least 8 interviews from TX, VA, Iowa, MO, and KY. I definitely suggest you to apply to those states especially VA and TX.
Apr 24, '12
you have reasons. Anyway there is no truth or absolute, so if you are confident about what you do or doing, ok, that's the truth of you.
Others just suggestions, they are all conclude from their experience.
Apr 24, '12
Wheeling Hospital in WV opened up a new building and has a lot of jobs up. I am not nearly as qualified as you but was asked to come for an interview in ED. I ended up passing because there didn't seem to be adequate child care for my kid but it might be worth a try for you!
Apr 25, '12
240zRN, it sounds like you're a highly qualified new graduate and I'm sorry that it's been so difficult. I'm sure you've done it a million times, but write a brand new version of your cover letter and resume (a succinct, focused, and honest one) and apply to the SFGH Critical Care Training Program if you haven't already. And continue to seek out leads and build your network with your new residency. Forget your #1 strategy if it hasn't worked so far, it will just drain you out. You have so many strengths that are somehow being overlooked.
Apr 25, '12
I'm sorry you're having such a tough time! I'm confused though...do you want ICU? Your certifications show that you are interested in ER. I would apply to as many residency programs as you can find (and that are still open). Where I am, that's the only way they hire new grads.
Apr 25, '12
Hi! My heart goes out to you! I am a December 2011 grad, and have been quite lucky in my job opportunities. I am now on my second RN job, with no previous health care experience. The first was in a LTC short term rehab and now in a Cardiac Progressive Care Unit (much more my cup of tea!) I do reside in Wisconsin, which seems to have a more friendly job climate. Even Mayo here is hiring new grads! I agree that you should take a good look at your resume and cover letter. If you would like to PM it to me, I would be willing to take a look for you. When I applied to jobs, I took a lot of time to customize each aspect of the resume/cover letter to the organization I applied to.
Do you have any letters of recommendation? If not, I would seek out letters of recommendation from your residency preceptors. I think that these types of letters really help "seal the deal" with potential employers, especially since you have no medical field employment experience. Many jobs have places that you attach these "supporting documents". If there is not a spot to attach, you should be able to scan them, and include in your cover letter/resume document.
Do you know someone you could stay with in a Nursing Compact State? If you reside in a nursing compact state, you will have a multi-state license that is good in 24 states. This could help improve your job search. Just a few ideas! Best of luck to you!
Last edit by Nurse Kyles on Apr 25, '12
: Reason: add info
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