One Strategy To Land a Nursing Job: The End Around

  1. 31

    If you're looking for a nursing job the competition is fierce, especially for new grads with no experience and a shallow employment history. You say you've filled out application after application and have gotten no results. Simply filling out an application and leaving it at that, is akin to standing on a river bank throwing a stone into the water. Like the rock, your application most likely will sink to the bottom never to be seen again.

    One Strategy To Land a Nursing Job: The End Around

    In order to get a leg up on the competition you need to employ strategies that will help your application float to the top rather than sink to the bottom. The goal is to get your application to the desk of a nurse recruiter and ultimately a nurse manager who is doing some actual hiring.

    How do you get your application into the hands of someone who can make a difference? If you are looking for a strategy to get this done, then you have come to the right place.

    How To Land a Nursing Job

    If you are a new grad, getting that interview with the nurse recruiter is especially challenging. Hospitals receive hundreds of applications from new grads each year so your application may not be seen by a human for weeks if not months. That is why I have a method for dealing with this that I call, "The End Around"

    The traditional sequence of procuring employment as a nurse goes like this:
    • Submit application and wait
    • Wait some more
    • Interview with HR/nurse recruiter
    • Interview with nurse manager
    • If all goes well nurse manager offers you the job


    The End Around

    Inside secret:
    There is a little known fact that in many hospitals in this country a nurse manager can contact HR and have a specific application pulled. For you the job hunter, this is good news because it provides a way to get your application on the desk top of someone who can help you out. What you need is a way to get face time with the nurse manager. When that door opens you need to be prepared, act swiftly, act confidently, and act with purpose.

    Preparation is key:

    1. The first step in the process is doing your homework. Things you need to have prepared in advance are:

    2. An abbreviated resume. Keep it to one page or less. If you are a new grad, accentuate attributes that would make you a good fit, but again keep it brief.

    3. Do your homework on the hospital and unit you are targeting. Know what types of patients they service.
    • What is the unit's mission statement?
    • What type of committees do they have?
    • What awards has the unit received?

    4. Learn something about the nurse manager.
    • What awards has the manager received?
    • What projects is the manager involved in?
    • How long has the manager been with the organization?

    5. Take what you learned about the unit and the unit's manager and craft a brief cover letter highlighting attributes you have and how you would be a good fit. Again, be brief. Keep it to a page or less.

    6. Get some business cards. Nothing fancy, all that is needed is your name, phone number, and email address. Options range from buying business card stock for your home printer, to ordering a box from Vistaprint for as little as $6 for 25 cards.

    The reason to include a business card is that there is a possibility your card could sit on the managers desktop for quite some time. A business card sitting on the desktop is like a billboard advertising your name. For this reason to not staple your business card to the resume.

    7. Get some decent clothes together. You don't need a business suit yet, but business casual is a must for when the plan is put into motion.

    8. The next step is to actually try to arrange for face time with the nurse manager. This is where the unit's secretary comes in handy.

    The direct strategy:

    The direct strategy is to simply show up at the unit you are targeting armed with your resume, cover letter, and business card. The unit's secretary is usually your first point of contact. The secretary is your best resource to find out the location of the manager's office.

    If the secretary is especially friendly, it may be to your advantage to disclose exactly what your mission is. People naturally want to help, and if not too busy the secretary may blaze a path for you to the mangers door.

    If the secretary is not helpful, be resourceful and strike up a conversation with a friendly looking nurse if there is one around. If this is not working then simply do what you have to do and find the manger's office and knock on the door. The goal here is to get your resume, letter, and business card into the hands of the nurse manager.

    The pitch:

    The manager is not expecting you and may not have much time. Be ready to make your pitch in one minute or less. If it is good you may get more time, but you need to stick your foot in the door when it is cracked open. Tell the manager why you are there and how much you want to work on the unit.

    Butter up the nurse manager:

    Complement the manager on something you learned while doing your homework. Mention that you have an application in HR and that you would like to leave your resume, letter, and business card. Once you have handed the manger your docs, mission accomplished. Be sure to thank the manger for taking the time to talk to you. State your name one more time and say you hope to speak to the manager again sometime in the near future.

    Mission accomplished:

    If the manager is actively hiring for the unit, you are already ahead of 90% of the competition because your docs are on the mangers desk.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 8, '15
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    shaman7, cnursetobe, dorkypanda, and 28 others like this.
  2. Visit  KeepItRealRN profile page

    About KeepItRealRN

    Random stuff from a Murse with a lot on his mind My website: http://KeepitRealRN.com

    KeepItRealRN has '28' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'CVICU'. From 'Minnesota'; Joined Apr '11; Posts: 345; Likes: 1,117.

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    37 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  kasia122 profile page
    12
    In theory this is a great plan. In reality, I've done this several times already, and most managers are annoyed and tell me to apply through HR. However, I do live in the rather unfriendly northeastern region of th US.
    tkelly1990, friggasdistaff, RNbubu, and 9 others like this.
  4. Visit  CatHair profile page
    2
    If you are applying at a hospital for a specific unit, find SOME WAY to include a mention or reference of that unit in your resume or cover letter. You can include a short cover letter with your resume as long as it is a single document.
    That mention of the unit makes your coverletter/resume *pop* for the Nurse Recruiter (some HR computers pre-pull likely candidates in advance).

    You have to do this for every single application.

    Not a guarantee but does not usually hurt unless you are lying. Don't lie. It got me an interview with a Nurse Recruiter at a hospital I where I had been applying for every single position with no result. The Nurse Recruiter mentioned my comment about the unit during the pre-interview. That comment was why my info was singled out. Got an interview with both Nurse Recruiter and Nurse Manager but the job went to someone with more experience.
    KatL.RN and KeepItRealRN like this.
  5. Visit  KeepItRealRN profile page
    4
    Quote from kasia122
    In theory this is a great plan. In reality, I've done this several times already, and most managers are annoyed and tell me to apply through HR. However, I do live in the rather unfriendly northeastern region of the US.
    The plan assumes that you have already submitted an application. Sorry for the reaction you have gotten. It certainly depends on the institution and the region. I remember trying this as a new grad once and through the grapevine I was told a manager I used this technique on said, "If I was able to hire new grads I would have given him an interview".

    The goal of this strategy is not to get an interview, but to get your documents into the hands of a manager. I've talked with my former managers who were hiring and a few expressed frustration with HR in their slowness getting a flow of qualified applicants.

    It is very apparent that putting an application in HR and simply waiting for the call isn't working for a large number of nurses.
    Last edit by KeepItRealRN on Jun 4, '14
    tkelly1990, Erindel RN, KatL.RN, and 1 other like this.
  6. Visit  KeepItRealRN profile page
    0
    Quote from YourBuddy
    That comment was why my info was singled out. Got an interview with both Nurse Recruiter and Nurse Manager but the job went to someone with more experience.
    Awesome! But that letter got your foot in the door and two steps closer to that job than a lot of other folks. And yes, a letter specific to the unit is HUGE!! Especially if it contains specifics about the unit and why you want to work there. Shows you did your homework.
  7. Visit  libran1984 profile page
    6
    That's actually what I did! I emailed the manager on at least 4 different occasions, and on the fourth time I forwarded my resume and had a job landed after multiple interviews even before graduation!
    redhead89, NeoNatMom, liebling5, and 3 others like this.
  8. Visit  KeepItRealRN profile page
    0
    Quote from libran1984
    That's actually what I did! I emailed the manager on at least 4 different occasions, and on the fourth time I forwarded my resume and had a job landed after multiple interviews even before graduation!
    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Visit  CABG patch kid profile page
    6
    Not a new grad here but this strategy helped me land a job at my current place of employment in a department with low turnover. The director said she was done scheduling interviews when my resume and cover letter landed on her desk (hand delivered by me to her secretary). I just found out yesterday I got the job!!
    Erindel RN, redhead89, NeoNatMom, and 3 others like this.
  10. Visit  KeepItRealRN profile page
    2
    Quote from CABG patch kid
    Not a new grad here but this strategy helped me land a job at my current place of employment in a department with low turnover. The director said she was done scheduling interviews when my resume and cover letter landed on her desk (hand delivered by me to her secretary). I just found out yesterday I got the job!!
    I'm glad to read that it worked for you. Congrats.
    NeoNatMom and CABG patch kid like this.
  11. Visit  KatieMI profile page
    6
    In the place I began, such behavior was considered a pinnacle of non-professionality for those already employed there, and for "external applicants" any appearance in person in the unit or even in HR besides being scheduled for interview automatically put the applicant in "never" list.

    BTW, where exactly are those unit secretaries who "naturally want to help"? Probably they work in the same unit where NM would not be irritated beyond imagination by swarming new grads, each of them delivering pretty much the same 1-min. sales pitch about care and dedication and in the same hospital where anyone dressed business casual can enter every unit and hang around there for a while waiting for the NM.

    Seriously, IMH(umble)O the tactic can be recommended only if 1) there is reliable information from internal sources that such appearance will be tolerated; 2) applicant is interested in the particular unit (won't work for 20+ applications put in the same hospital); 3) there is reliable information that the position of interest is suitable for a new grad (NMs can have very specific requirements for candidates, and HR may or may not know about them); and 4) applicant has amazing level of self-confidence and the particular type of charismatic personality with the gift to momentarily turn every heart toward him/her.
    friggasdistaff, RNbubu, cpassion, and 3 others like this.
  12. Visit  mommycruz3 profile page
    1
    Great tips! Hopefully some of my nurse family/friends can also put in a good word for me!
    KeepItRealRN likes this.
  13. Visit  GM2RN profile page
    2
    I don't understand some of the negativity toward the OP's information. It's a GOOD strategy. No one said it is guaranteed to work 100% of the time, and yes, you might irritate some NMs. But no one has a crystal ball that can predict exactly what will work and if you aren't getting any response from the hospital anyway, it certainly isn't going to hurt!
    mamagui and KeepItRealRN like this.
  14. Visit  JustBeachyNurse profile page
    6
    The problem in my area is all entering the facility ( especially children's hospitals) must state their reason for entering, show valid ID and be issued a visitors pass. This is for inpatient, outpatient, vendors, students & staff. Patients are issued armbands. Anyone in an unauthorized area will be escorted off property. Going unannounced to visit a unit is not permitted. HR is off site and only online applications are accepted. If caught without a pass in a patient care area (inpatient or outpatient) you are escorted off property.

    Now getting noticed during a clinical rotation or preceptorship can fast track your application with a NM.

    Having a clinical instructor who knows the NM hand over your resume with a recommendation has met with success.

    Getting a good reputation as an employee and thereby getting access to a NM for transfer like a poster above.

    Showing up unannounced in facilities as a new grad or non-employee in my area is a way to get marked as "do not hire". But unauthorized visitors have tried to abduct children as a noncustodial parent. Unauthorized visitors have assaulted patients and staff, even shot patients so higher security is a necessary evil. Some areas even have armed guards and metal detectors at the facility entrances. (Clues that cold calling on a nurse manager might not be a good idea. )

    If you live in an area where you can follow the OP's suggestions them by all means do so for a coveted position. It just might give you an edge. But I think even the author realizes that this won't work for everyone or every facility.

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