Getting first job, the resume...

  1. Okay guys, I am counting on you. I am preparing to get my stuff together to start applying for my first nursing job. I figured I would get the most help here as you guys have just been in your nursing jobs for a year! So, my situation is this.. I have been a stay at home mom for the last 7 years. I have not worked during school. I need help with what to put on my resume. Do you put all of the experiences that you obtained in clinical on there? I have done several things, but I would not say I am "experienced" in doing them. I graduate in May, but I keep hearing that I better get my stuff out now, due to me being interested in a specialty area. So, any hints, tips, would be appreciated. If any of you would mind me looking at yours, I would love that! Also, when I pick up my application, should I be in a suit? Do I leave my resume then, or only when I come back with the app? Help!
    ps. happy thanksgiving everyone!!
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    About Tiny1Nisolet

    Joined: Jul '05; Posts: 201; Likes: 10
    NICU staff BSN, RN
    Specialty: NICU


  3. by   MIA-RN1
    Hi! I saw no one has posted to you yet. I will share my expereince with you. I am graduating in May also but I secured my post-graduation job a few weeks ago.
    What I did was I called the nurse recruiter at the hospital I was interested in and asked her what opportunities they had available for graduate nurses. (I like to cut to the chase and find the person I need to speak with rather than drop off a resume with someone in HR) She suggested I email her my resume and made an appointment for me to come in. So I did. I had to come straight from work, so I was in my scrubs (no time whatsoever to change) I brought another hard copy of my resume and my references and she had me fill out an application in her office. Then she discussed what options they had and made an appointment for me to meet the following week with the NM of the floor I am interested in. (Maternity center--also like you I am interested in a specialty and not med-surg)
    For that meeting, I wore a skirt, blouse, and suit-jacket. I brought a copy of my transcript and gave it to the NM.
    Be prepared for hard questions. Nothing about my grades or anything. Mostly where do you see yourself in three years, and what makes you a team player and what will you bring to our floor etc. So I suggest looking at your reasons for why you want to be a nurse, and why you want your particular specialty, before you get there.
    She hired me on the spot for Post partum after helping me clarify which part of L&D I am more suited for. I'll cross-train later into IP.
    I have worked all along, so my resume had that. I also include all my volunteer work on my resume as well. Do you volunteer? Add it on. I include my participating in fund-raising events like walking for the Light The Night walk. If you have done something like that, add it. Anything that shows you are involved in something positive will help. You don't have to be an expert at anything that you did; showing that you did something is the important thing. Nurses are life-long learners, so by showing your interest in anything you will look good. Also, a frank and honest discussion with the person you are interviewing with explaining why you chose to stay home etc will go over really well. I had to be frank and honest when I explained my reasons for leaving another job with only a weeks notice but honesty pays off.
    I needed to get two faculty references too. the recruiter gave me a paper to have filled out by two faculty. One was filled out by my maternity clinical instructor and the other will be filled out by my instructor next semester. So you might want to call the instructor (s) that you would like to use for references and be sure that its okay with them.
    Probably the recruiter will be familiar with the colleges in your area and will probably have an idea of the program you are in, so you don't have to be really specific in your clinical stuff etc. I put on my resume something like "Nursing Student, MCC, currently attending third semester, intent to graduate May 2006" something to that effect.
    If you want to PM me I can share more.
  4. by   Daytonite
    your resume should pretty much reflect what is going to go onto a application for work (education, work experience, personal references) but will also contain your professional memberships and related volunteer work if you want to include that. for a first job, there isn't a lot to say, so don't try to get cute or put attention getting artwork on it. most employers of new grads understand that there won't be a lot on your resume. you can include old work experience you had, but you can literally start with a clean slate of work experience when you go for your first nursing job. your time in nursing school is looked at as being similar to being employed. during that time instructors were constantly assessing you, so it is important that at least one if not more of your references include nursing instructors. make sure you know and put down the address and contact phone numbers of all your references so the potential employer will be able to make contact with them easily. make sure you approach the instructors you want to use for references and that you have their permission to use them, as a courtesy to them. most instructors know, however, that they are going to be asked to provide references for their graduating students. they might even have some words of wisdom for you and may have some insider information about the local job market to pass on to you.

    i usually give my resume along with my application for employment, or sometimes i just have hand carried it in to my interview. it's a good idea to have a copy of your resume and your application on hand and review them before going in to your interview as you may be asked questions based on what you put on these documents. have a student copy of your transcript with you to show at the interview if you are asked about it. at some point in the process you may be outright asked if you have a resume for them, so have another one ready to hand to them at your interview just in case they misplaced the first one you gave them. about the only other information you will put on a resume that doesn't go on an application for employment would be membership in nursing organizations or community organizations and any volunteer work you did for hospitals or healthcare facilities prior or during nursing school. however, if you don't have that to put on a resume, don't sweat it. what your school instructors have to say about you and how you interview are going to be the two primary things that will get you hired.

    at an interview don't apologize for not having done many nursing procedures. you might want to make a list of everything you can remember that you have done in case you are asked for a sampling of just what you did do. don't feel bad if the list looks kind of sparse--that's normal. the nurse recruiters and hospitals all know this is a universal occurrence with nursing students. be friendly. be yourself. they will recognize a stiffness or phoniness on your part if you are trying to over-impress them. they are going to look more at your attitude, your honesty, willingness to get in a job and work at perfecting your practice, how you handle conflict, what your strong characteristics are that will help you with a job as a nurse and that old classic question of where you see yourself in five years. most recruiters have their own styles of trying to bring out your true personality. let me say a few words about honesty. don't feel that you have to confess errors or every wrong thing you might have done in nursing school. you want to accentuate positives. too much confession to mistakes makes you looks nuts. be prepared, however, to answer a question such as "have you ever made an error, and how did you handle it?" on the flip side, saying you never made a mistake implies you are perfect and that makes you look nuts also. just be judiciously honest.

    just dress nicely when you pick up your application. dress in a suit if you like when you go for your interview. just don't go in looking like you just finished your grocery shopping or your workout at the gym. be prepared to get a tour of the facility or a nursing unit when you go in for your interview. i would not recommend you apply on line unless that is what the hospitals require. when you take your application to the hospital also include a cover letter. in the cover letter you can start to detail what kind of a nursing unit you would like to work on, what kind of patients interest you, or whether you are not particularly decided yet. if you need any kind of special time off for an already planned vacation, wedding or special occasion bring this up at your interview and get it out on the table, but do it toward the end of the interview. once you are hired most places have some sort of rule where you can only start taking vacation time after 6 months, or whatever. by putting that stuff up front you will be assured of being able to follow through on plans you've already made. this is how you circumvent that little 6 month rule so you can complete pre-planned vacations.

    i used to work closely with a nurse recruiter and was part of a committee that oversaw the orientation program of new grads for a large intercity hospital. i've written a number of posts on this, particularly about the way our nurse recruiter went about finding the "real" story on a potential new grad from her nursing program. if you have any kind of bad karma with a particular instructor, don't use her for a reference. job searching time is when a particularly nasty instructor will get revenge for any trouble a student has caused them. i'm saying this, not to alarm you, but as a heads up to any others who are reading this thread looking for information just as you are about the process of getting your first job.

    good luck to you. i hope you get your dream job.
  5. by   Tiny1Nisolet
    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate your input. I am going to take some time to search some of your additional posts so I may glean additional useful tips.