I am a recent ADN graduate, already passed NClex, and recently renewed my CPR. I've been searching for a job for months now, but haven't been able to so much as get a call back, let alone an interview.
My grades were merely average (for nursing) since I was struggling with a lot of stuff outside of school at the time. I don't have much work experience and I haven't worked in 8 years. My last job was a kitchen worker at a pizza place that is now out of business and I was laid off from my prn job as a clerical assistant before that, and my supervisor no longer works there. I've been in and out of school and raising a family since then. I'm also currently 6 months pregnant, though I haven't had to defend my belly yet since I haven't had any interviews. I don't have a lot for my resume. On my most recent version, I ended up filling the empty space with the types of clinical experience and training that I've had. I have done volunteer work, which was listed on my first version, but has since been removed. I did lead a clinical project in which I helped patients and students in a psych unit create paintings for the unit. (They only had plain gray walls that were in need of repairs before that.) I do have some awesome references, but they are all clinical instructors.
My family is planning to move, so I've applied at every facility I can think of within a 2 hour drive of the area where we will be moving. I check often for new openings. I've redone my cover letter and resume many times, customizing them to the facility and position I'm applying for. I've tried calling to follow up on applications. (Some facilities let me, but most say to check online and leave them alone.) I either get a "thanks, but no thanks" type of e-mail or no response at all.
I've considered paying out of pocket for an ACLS course and to join a nursing organization. Would these things help? I plan to get my bachelor's, but I want some experience first. I always felt that I was at a disadvantage in school before because I didn't have any. Ideally, I'd like to work in some sort of critical care, but for now I'm looking for any RN job. I've heard that working in a nursing home is a career killer. Is this true? Isn't it better to have some sort of experience of the wrong sort rather than none at all while I look for a job?
I haven't had any luck with what I've been doing, so I wonder what I'm doing wrong. I know I'm not the strongest candidate with my background. What can I do to get my foot in the door? How can I get their attention? Any advice?