New grad struggling to land first job

  1. Hey there, yet another new grad with no job post. Graduated in August, passed boards in September. Started applying for new grad hospital jobs back in May, slowed down during my preceptorship in June, started back up in July. I'd really like to work on a cardiac unit but I'm applying to pretty much any new grad position that isn't OB or psych at this point.

    I've had positive feedback on my resume and cover letter from the handful of people I've shared it with. Only had one interview so far and while it wasn't bad it could have gone better, I'm more prepared for next time now. Problem is I'm not even getting past the HR recruiters for the hiring managers on the units see my resume. I'm not big on networking so until recently I hadn't really reached out to the few people I know to ask them to try and put in a good word for me. So far that has gone no where either.

    Plan at the moment is to continue to apply to all the new grad postings at the 4 hospitals that are a reasonable distance from me and probably put in an application to another hospital that's a bit further out of my preferred range that has a new grad residency program. It's not what I want but I've also been looking at non-hospital options and those not requiring 1+ years of experience are very slim. Most that mention new grads are also part time and therefore no benefits and I'd really like some health insurance if I'm working so that's another compromise.

    I am planning to sign up to volunteer at the hospital right near my house where I really want to work. Will give me something to do other than mope at home about having no job yet, chance to possibly interact and get my name and interest out there on some units, and something else to put on my resume.

    Home health is also an option but I'm conflicted about it. My community health instructor runs a home health business and had expressed a willingness to hire me back in July. Not really want I want to do, don't think it's the best learning environment for a new nurse either. I did work home health as part of my community health clinical hours so I have a feel for it. It really does require a good foundation to be good at it which I'm aware I lack as a new grad.

    Moving is is not an option for me. I own a home with my brother, we've put a lot of money into improvements on the house, and neither of us is looking to sell and move.

    Any advise? Anyone have luck with volunteering at a hospital getting a foot in the door? Frustration is just hitting a bit harder these last few weeks as classmates with job offers already have been starting their jobs and I'm still struggling to get an interview.
  2. Visit Quota profile page

    About Quota, BSN, RN

    Joined: Feb '16; Posts: 253; Likes: 230

    41 Comments

  3. by   klone
    My only advice, you have already said is not an option. Good luck.
  4. by   City-Girl
    While you're not considering moving, have you thought about how far you would be willing to commute. I am not sure what part of the country you live in, but sometimes stretching your commute a little may open more opportunities. You may also want to consider taking the community health position as it will at least get you some experience as an RN and you won't be a new grad anymore and this may open more future opportunities for you. Good luck!
  5. by   cleback
    Well, I'd still apply to part time jobs. If you're unwilling or unable to move, you can be without both income or benefits or only without benefits until a full time opportunity presents itself.
  6. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    I graduated during the recession and back then it wasn't uncommon for it to take ~6 mos after licensing to land a job as a new grad. You've only been a RN for like six weeks so I wouldn't start panicking yet.

    I picked up a pediatric private duty job as a new grad which I ended up working for about five months while still applying to hospital positions. PDN isn't really where a new grad should be but I was aware of my limitations which helped. Eventually I lucked into a position on a burn unit that was hoping to expand its pediatric population -- I was able to play up my peds experience to help me get that job.

    Trying to juggle what you're willing to compromise with in a job versus the need to work to pay your bills is pretty common. I do think that applying for jobs with an active license will weigh more heavily in your favor now.
  7. by   Quota
    Quote from City-Girl
    While you're not considering moving, have you thought about how far you would be willing to commute. I am not sure what part of the country you live in, but sometimes stretching your commute a little may open more opportunities. You may also want to consider taking the community health position as it will at least get you some experience as an RN and you won't be a new grad anymore and this may open more future opportunities for you. Good luck!
    I'm in a busy metro area and traffic is a huge factor. The commute is hugely different based on day shifts vs. night shifts so that's a big factor but one I don't have a lot of control over either with a lot of positions. It may be a 30 minute commute for a day shift but getting in for night shift I'd be in the middle rush hour traffic which could be 1-1.5 hour commute time. Worse part being I would have to plan when I leave around that days traffic and hope no accidents happen after I leave making me late. I live less than three miles from the hospital I really want to work at but I've been applying to three others that are all in about a 30-45 minute radius, possibly more for night shifts. The further out hospital is probably a 40 minute commute at the best of times, I'd assume it'd average about an hour I haven't actually made the drive out there yet.

    Sadly part of the reason for my career change to nursing was to avoid the horrible commuting I was already doing with my old job, 1.25-2 hour round trip was my normal daily commute. So it's not completely out of the question and I'm probably going to apply this week but long commute plus 12 hour shifts is a bit rough. If that's what I can get I'll do it but would absolutely be looking to jump ship back to a closer hospital as soon as I could.
  8. by   Quota
    Quote from cleback
    Well, I'd still apply to part time jobs. If you're unwilling or unable to move, you can be without both income or benefits or only without benefits until a full time opportunity presents itself.

    Yeah I'm pretty close to applying to the rehab/LTC position that said new grads welcome even though it says part time. The part time thing sucks but out of my current options it does sound like the best place for experience and getting into a hospital position. Money is going to be a concern in the next month or two so I need to do something in the near future.
  9. by   Quota
    Quote from dirtyhippiegirl
    I graduated during the recession and back then it wasn't uncommon for it to take ~6 mos after licensing to land a job as a new grad. You've only been a RN for like six weeks so I wouldn't start panicking yet.

    I picked up a pediatric private duty job as a new grad which I ended up working for about five months while still applying to hospital positions. PDN isn't really where a new grad should be but I was aware of my limitations which helped. Eventually I lucked into a position on a burn unit that was hoping to expand its pediatric population -- I was able to play up my peds experience to help me get that job.

    Trying to juggle what you're willing to compromise with in a job versus the need to work to pay your bills is pretty common. I do think that applying for jobs with an active license will weigh more heavily in your favor now.
    I was hoping things would get easier with my license but it feels like my applications are going to "no longer under consideration" even faster recently. It's discouraging but I've gotta just keep trying. I've seen a few private duty home care positions listed but they are all requesting 1+ years experience so I don't think I'd have much luck as a new grad. Mostly I need something productive to do right now beyond train my current foster dog to be a good girl and watch Netflix all day. So I'll definitely sign up to volunteer at the hospital near my house and fingers crossed it's helpful in the job search too. Either way it should help me feel a bit better I hope.
  10. by   Meriwhen
    Volunteering can't hurt. It makes you known to them, does give you a chance to network, and gives you something to put on the resume that looks a lot better than "foster dog trainer." But remember that when you're volunteering, you're there to cheerfully help however you can. If you spend all of your time trying to schmooze a job instead of doing your volunteer duties, they will see through you and fast.

    I volunteered as a new grad...not where I ended up getting hired, but at a community clinic. It definitely made a favorable impression on interviewers.

    As far as job hunting...well, you've said that moving is not an option. Fair enough, but that means you'll likely have to compromise in other ways, as in what you will do for this first job. You may have to suck up a commute that is longer than you like, or work hours you're not wild about, or even work a speciality or a setting that you don't care for. But keep in mind that this is your first job, not your forever job. The goal of your first job is to gain that magic year (or two) of experience so you can move on to something more to your liking. Think of it as paying your dues.

    You don't want to be too picky about your first job...because wait too long, and you become an old new grad. And old new grads have even worse job prospects than new grads. For one, they've aged themselves out of a lot of new graduate residencies or new grad positions that require you to have graduated within the last 6-12 months.

    Best of luck.

    .
  11. by   Quota
    Quote from Meriwhen
    Volunteering can't hurt. It makes you known to them, does give you a chance to network, and gives you something to put on the resume that looks a lot better than "foster dog trainer." But remember that when you're volunteering, you're there to cheerfully help however you can. If you spend all of your time trying to schmooze a job instead of doing your volunteer duties, they will see through you and fast.

    I volunteered as a new grad...not where I ended up getting hired, but at a community clinic. It definitely made a favorable impression on interviewers.

    As far as job hunting...well, you've said that moving is not an option. Fair enough, but that means you'll likely have to compromise in other ways, as in what you will do for this first job. You may have to suck up a commute that is longer than you like, or work hours you're not wild about, or even work a speciality or a setting that you don't care for. But keep in mind that this is your first job, not your forever job. The goal of your first job is to gain that magic year (or two) of experience so you can move on to something more to your liking. Think of it as paying your dues.

    You don't want to be too picky about your first job...because wait too long, and you become an old new grad. And old new grads have even worse job prospects than new grads. For one, they've aged themselves out of a lot of new graduate residencies or new grad positions that require you to have graduated within the last 6-12 months.

    Best of luck.

    .
    Oh I absolutely know I'm there to volunteer and fill that duty first, it's only a good impression to potential employers if I'm doing a good job at the task I'm there for. I could also do some volunteering with a local clinic I also did clinical hours with for community health I guess. I'm sure they'd be happy to have me. Thanks for the feedback.
  12. by   Jedrnurse
    But, but...people still post articles here about a nursing shortage!! (Sorry, wanted to make a point, not make you feel worse about your predicament.)

    Only advice I have is:

    1. keep up with an active search and resist the temptation of giving up
    2. consider relocating
    3. do NOT accept a home health job as your first position (you need some serious experience to deal with the scenarios that come up with home health)

    Best of luck...
  13. by   Quota
    Quote from Jedrnurse
    But, but...people still post articles here about a nursing shortage!! (Sorry, wanted to make a point, not make you feel worse about your predicament.)

    Only advice I have is:

    1. keep up with an active search and resist the temptation of giving up
    2. consider relocating
    3. do NOT accept a home health job as your first position (you need some serious experience to deal with the scenarios that come up with home health)

    Best of luck...
    That's my feeling about home health as well. I did home health as part of my community health rotation so I know it's not a good place to build the needed new nurse skills. Doesn't mean they won't hire me but it doesn't feel safe.
  14. by   SqrB3ar
    Seems you're still pretty fresh if you've been licensed last month. Extend your search, don't limit yourself to 4 hospitals.

    Check out smaller community or critical access hospitals in the area. If you're unwilling to relocate, think about commuting. I commute nearly 2 hours one way just to go to school and people complain about 15-30min drive. Don't just apply to new grad residency programs unless their postings absolutely state new grads can ONLY apply to those. I'm not big on OB either, but I do know psych needs nurses - several new grads get their experience there and end up leaving 6mo to a year or more. Take up two part-time, per-diem if possible, anything really. Take your resume and personally meet up with the managers of the unit you've been applying to. Call HR for status, ask your classmates if they can help, if you need the money and some experience while you're actively applying to hospitals, check out SNF since some facilities actually have great skills opportunities and you can delegate/gain leadership skills there as well.

    Again, you're still fresh from graduating so you have time. No stress, just be creative, persistent and don't give up. Keep us posted!

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