This is an old post but I will reply to it because I wanted to let old "new grads" know that there is hope.
I graduated in Fall '09, got my license a month after graduation and then immediately (as in 3 days after I took the NCLEX) moved overseas due to husband's military orders. I did not realize how bad this situation was going to be for a new grad RN but what else can you do, right? I wasn't going to tell my husband I wanted to stay here in the states with the kids while he serves a 3 year overseas tour on his own. Anyway, as soon as we got settled there, I started volunteering at the only hospital (Naval) that served the military population in that continent. They don't hire new grads but what they told me was that some unit managers hire volunteers after they have spent a year volunteering at their units. Basically, they can count the hours spent as experience as well as the clinical period of nursing school. It sounded like a great deal so I went ahead and did it. After a year, the unit manager had to "transfer" to another duty station so the "deal" was forgotten. The new unit manager had a new way of managing her floor so basically all my efforts went down the drain. But because I had a great preceptor, I stuck with it because I was truly learning a lot from her. I didn't care anymore about the military hospital's constant changing policy of hiring new nurses. I was only there to keep my skills up and because the corpsmen and nurses that I worked with were supportive and great people.
A year and a half later, I was offered a position as a substitute nurse at the DOD (Dept of Defense) school on the base where we lived. It was per diem but I wasn't picky so I took it. The school nurse was ALWAYS there so I never had a chance to sub BUT I told her I was interested in volunteering anyway so I could at least learn something and so I did. Basically, the while time we were stationed on that island, I was a "Professional RN Volunteer". I did La Leche League, PTA, Red Cross, and any medical related volunteer activity available.
Fast forward two years later, we are now back in the states and I could not find a job. Surprise! I was an old new grad. I couldn't even think about where my batch mates are at in their career because it only made me depressed. The "curse of the military spouse" is the blank or job-hopping spots on her resume. Still, I kept up with my volunteer work - local military hospital, homeless clinic, visiting nurse association, and another clinic for the uninsured. I volunteered 16 hours or more per week combined for a year.
I still kept applying and I got better at making cover letters, researching companies, and tailoring my resume, etc. that I was able to secure an interview for a new grad position. I did not get the job but I was able to get the contact info of the nurse managers. Yes, I sent each of them a handwritten thank you note. Now, I don't know if this had anything to do with it BUT when I received the "rejection" letter from the HR recruiter, it was not the usual generic "we regret...blah..blah" but it was carefully and professionally tailored to me. It sounded really genuine and warm. In the end, there was also an invitation to apply for the next cohort. All in all, the letter gave me hope that despite the fact that I was not chosen at that round, I did not suck.
Fast forward this week - I got a job offer working part time for a family clinic. One provider, 1 RN, 4 hours, 5 patients = one on one care. The position required 2 years experience - I applied, interviewed, and got the job. The director was impressed by my resume and how the interview went that the HR recruiter later texted (yeah, texted) that they were going to "up the offer to $__". I was flabbergasted, I didn't expect it but there it was - I GOT A JOB.
True, it isn't hospital experience. It isn't full time. It will not be the same as a new grad internship position BUT it is a job (a paying) and it is a start. Now, I don't know what I will do if the new grad internship spot opens up again but I will cross the bridge when I get there. For now, I am thankful for the job.
Oh and for moms out there, I am a mom of 4: 17 y/o, 7 y/o, 5 y/o and 17 months. I homeschool my kids and thankfully, my supportive hubby works full time. I went to nursing school while I homeschooled and hubby was constantly deployed. That was harder than giving birth but it can be done.
Okay, this was a long one but here are the lessons I have learned:
1. You don't suck. If you survived nursing school, you can survive anything but if you don't get a job right away, take comfort in the fact that when God floods the world again, nurses will get a seat in Noah's ark.
2. Don't be lazy in tailoring your cover letter and resume to the company you are applying for. Lots of people mentioned this over and over again. Lazy doesn't get you anywhere so start Googling!
3. Send a thank you note even if the interviewer or recruiter/s treated you like crap or if they made you feel like you didn't want to work in their unit afterwards. It doesn't matter. Manners are important - ask your mother.
4. If you secure the interview, Google "Top 10 Hardest Interview Questions" or something like that and force yourself to answer each one of them. If you have to write down the answers, do it. Muscle memory, remember? Thinking you can "wing it" is lazy. Besides, **** always seems to hit the fan when you are nervous and then you don't remember anything when the interview commences. Write it down!
5. VOLUNTEER and do your best to keep your skills up when you can. Do not be idle. Network. Be nice to everyone you meet. Even minions will be able to help you one day. You already know this so I don't need to repeat it.
So there you go. That is my story. Thank you for listening, good luck and never lose hope.