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Graduating soon - Need tips for job search

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

My name is Anupama Rao. I am a senior nursing student, graduating this December. I would like to know some tips to start looking for jobs. Please advise.

Thank you.

Dear Graduating Soon,

Congratulations on graduating soon!

Many employers, especially those with some form of Residency Program,

start interviewing 2-4 months ahead of time.

For example, if their next cohort starts in February, they may interview in November. For many employers, you do not have to have your RN license to apply. As a matter of fact, waiting until you have your license in hand to apply may mean waiting an additional six months to get accepted into a cohort.

Here are some tips:

  • Prepare your portfolio: Resume, Cover Letter, Letters of Reference (get 2 from Clinical Faculty on letterhead)
  • Practice for your interviews
  • Sign up for job alerts via job boards
  • Check out the Job Board here on site
  • Read How to Land a Job”
  • Join a Facebook group of new grads in your area to share information
  • Apply, apply, apply
  • Network, network, network- contact previous instructors, do you know any hospital employees? Ask for a reference
  • Let everyone know you are looking for a job

Again, congrats and best wishes,

Nurse Beth


turnforthenurse, MSN, NP

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

Employers typically get your resume from your online application but it never hurts to bring an extra copy or two for your interview along with your cover letter and list of references. And make sure it's printed on some nice resume paper instead of just regular computer paper.

For your interview, dress to impress! I personally like to go for a suit because I think they look sharp and show that you're serious. Make sure to get the pants hemmed to the correct length along with the sleeves of the jacket. Wear comfortable shoes. I personally hate heels so I opt for flats. The manager/director will typically give you a tour of the unit so you want to be comfortable while walking....but if you're comfortable in heels then go for it! No fake nails, no perfume, and if you wear makeup keep it natural. Make sure your handshake is firm! Make contact and of course, smile!

Good luck! You might want to look into new grad residencies/internships if they are available in your area. If some positions ask for a year or two of experience, apply anyway. The worst thing that can happen is that they won't contact you. It doesn't hurt to try. I remember when I applied for my first job, the job description said 1+ years of nursing experience but I still got hired after making it clear to them that I was a new grad nurse.