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Great News! I Finally Got a Job in Med-Surg/Tele!

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by mnf4ever mnf4ever (Member)

2,669 Profile Views; 47 Posts

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I'm a new grad RN, BSN; was jobless after 3-months of depressing job-hunting. After applying to countless hospitals, SNF's, LTAC facilities, and behavioral health facilities, I finally landed my first nursing job at a small hospital less than 10 miles away from my home! I will be starting out on night shifts on the Med-Surg/Tele unit!!!!!! I can't wait to start!!! :yeah:

Anyway, I know that there are other new grads out there who are still struggling to find a job, and TRUST me, I know how depressing and discouraging it feels. I felt like I had some kind of disease as every single place rejected me as soon as they had learned I was a new grad. I felt inadequate as I learned that all of my other classmates were getting jobs one by one, even my other friends who had ADN's managed to score some jobs. I was beginning to have low self-esteem and question what I was doing wrong. I just kept at it, and replaced each feeling of rejection with persistence. All I can say is keep your head up, stay positive as much as you can, and NEVER give up no matter how much you want to.

Here are the things I did that lead to me finally getting a job:

1. Revamped my resume (printed on nice resume paper). Make sure there are absolutely NO mistakes. Since I had a job in retail, I put things on there that translate very well into nursing such as: delegated to 5-6 employees, computer data entry, learned how to successfully diffuse disgruntled customers, communicated to management substandard service, etc. For my resume, I used the format on this website (Sample Resume 1):

http://www.nursing.umich.edu/studentresources/resumes/index.html

2. Created a CV (curriculum vitae) that breaks down all the things you learned or procedures you've done in nursing school and how many hours you contributed to that clinical. My CV looked similar to my resume and I will describe it from top to bottom. At the top it has my name, RN, BSN, PHN. Then, I included my education section, followed by my Student Clinical Experience, volunteer activities, and then Honors and Awards. I didn't use a template (I just formatted the page to 0.5 margins, and kept changing fonts and font size as needed). Here is an example I found on google (keep scrolling down once you get there to see the CV): http://www.jobaspirations.com/Samples/Nursing/StudentNurse.html

Of course, I made mine look nicer. I formatted an image of a stethoscope and heart to appear before my name and printed my name out in blue so I stood out more. Make sure to also put this on nice resume paper.

3. Create a portfolio to present at the beginning of your interview. Here's a tip, after you shake hands with your interviewer(s), just politely let them know, "I've prepared a portfolio that contains my resume, certifications, mission statement, etc. Feel free to browse through it and base any of your interview questions on it." I just bought a nice black 3 ring binder with the clear cover to put a cover page. My cover page has my name and title in all caps, centered in the middle of the page and then I included a nice little image of medical caduceus RN. You can get creative and pick your own little symbol whether it's a heart, stethoscope, or what have you. Get sheet protectors to put each piece of paper in. I made a table of contents page as well as dividers to separate each section. My sections included:

  • Mission Statement (one short paragraph on why I wanted to become a nurse)
  • Cover Letter (make sure you address it SPECIFICALLY to the name of whoever is interviewing you, as well as tailor whatever you said in your cover letter to match what that hospital is looking for)
  • Resume and CV
  • References (have at least 3. I picked my nurse preceptor and previous nurse clinical instructors) Here is an example: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/637/01/
  • Letters of Recommendation (I included 4)
  • Certificates/Honors (here I included copies of my diploma, ACLS/BLS, awards I've gotten over the years, certificates, etc.)
  • Volunteer work/Leadership (here I included my volunteer hours and broke down when and where I did them, I also included extracurricular things I did during nursing school)
  • Evidence-Based Essays/Papers (remember all those essays we had to write in nursing school? well I put my favorite ones and made sure they were ones that got me an A. 2 of them were more scientific-based and the last one was based on my nursing philosophy (i.e. why did I pick nursing essay). I believe this gave me an edge because when I showed this to the Director who hired me, he was very impressed. Not only by my essays, but also because he said no one else prepared a portfolio for him to look at.

Also, if you don't have an interview yet, create a mini-portfolio to drop off in-person after you've applied online. I went to hospitals in person to drop this off directly at Director's offices. It was a nice, laminated folder (they are approx. 10 for $10 at Staples, Office Max, etc.) that contained my business card, resume, cover letter addressed appropriately, CV, copies of my license, certifications, application for employment (if they still had paper application), and mission statement. I just went to HR and nicely asked if it was okay to drop off my portfolio to the Director since I have already applied online and wanted to show that I am still interested. I was never denied and was always welcomed. They probably sneered behind my back, but who cares? I was dedicated. The Director to where I was finally hired said he was very impressed by my attention to detail and how professional my portfolio looked!

4. Don't get discouraged--at least not for long. Whenever I was rejected, I allowed myself about 1 day to complain, cry, feel sorry for myself, then I dusted myself off and tried again. I've heard that the average job search can last anywhere between three and 10 months (maybe even longer in this economy) for new grads -- and that means a lot of rejection. Keep at it: Your dream job is out there. I even meditated to this (it's based on the law of attraction, which I heard about from a nurse on here. There's a book and movie out called "The Secret," which I never heard of until allnurses.com led me to it :nurse:):

5. Always be prepared. If you have an interview, browse the website and get to know EVERYTHING about the mission statement and values, leadership and WHY it's such a great place to work for. This will prepare you for when they ask: "why do you want to work for us?"

6. Dress and act the part. I went out and bought a nice suit (Burlington Coat Factory has great deals if you are near one). I've been to interviews where other candidates weren't even dressed nicely and that doesn't give a good impression.

7. Be loud, be proud. I let everybody and their mama's know that I was desperately looking for an RN job. Finally, I got help from a classmate who already had a job. She was in the process of interviewing for another hospital and turned them down since she was already hired elsewhere. Knowing that I was still in need of a job, she then asked if she could recommend a classmate who was still searching for a job (that was me) and I was able to drop off one of my mini-portfolios with the Director. I followed up a week later, and he set me up with an interview the next week. I was beyond stoked!!! At the beginning of the interview, I shook his hand, asked him how he was blah, blah, blah, and quickly presented him with my portfolio and he was impressed right off the bat. He said he initially had a list of questions he wanted to ask me (I even saw his clipboard with a list of questions on it), but since I threw him off w/my portfolio, he wanted to take some time to go through it and read it (took him about 15 minutes). He finally read my nursing philosophy essay, and said he was very impressed. He said to be honest, he has been interviewing for years, and he always hires someone based on 2 factors: 1. whether or not he can sense if that person is a good, genuine person and 2. if that person has something none of his other applicants had (in my case he said it was my portfolios, attention to detail, and my personality/genuineness). Although I prepared for all the basic nursing interview questions including the nursing scenario ones, the only questions he asked me was:

  • "What makes a good nurse?"
  • "Describe a time when you went through feeling discouraged. How did you overcome it?"
  • "How would you respond to a nurse that is yelling at you in front of everyone? How about a CNA?"
  • "Why would it be appropriate to put your coworkers before your patients?"

Just remember to be yourself. He told me that he was tired of interviewing people who seemed fake or just trying to say the "right things." We then ventured off into a conversation on how I survived nursing school while having a family and a job, to how he and his wife moved from another state. It became less of an interview and more of a conversation. I tried to be very candid and honest in all my answers and be as genuine as I could. I also asked him questions about turnover rates, nurse/patient ratios, what his leadership style was, what changes he wanted to implement and how I could help, and also asked for a quick tour of the unit. When the interview was coming to an end, I left 4 letters of recommendation. Then, I sent a thank you card the day after my interview. Two days later, I get a phone call and I find out I was the person he chose for the med-surg/Tele position!!! He is setting me up with a preceptor and I start next month!!! :yeah:

So for all of you new grads who think you don't have what it takes, think again. Yes, it's imperative to know your labs, and what you need to do in certain situations. Yes, you must prepare for every possible interview question, even the scenario-based ones. But don't forget, sometimes your personality and your TRUE reason for wanting to be a nurse is all it takes to get your future employer's attention and finally convincing them to give you a chance.

And to allnurses.com, I thank everyone who helped and encouraged me along the way when I was down in the dumps. I want to pass on my good luck and good karma to those who are still searching. I hope I have provided some help and encouragement. I pray for you and send good vibes to you. Please hold on, and keep trying. Then post your story of how you got your first job on here and pass the luck to others by sharing how you landed your first job!! God bless and take care! :redbeathe:heartbeat:redbeathe:heartbeat

P.S. Shout outs to Indigo Summer!! Your thread especially helped me during my interview!! Thanks!!! :D

"Every day is a new day full of potential. Good things are going to happen; the world is going to change in beautiful ways…"

 

 

Edited by mnf4ever

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Lovelymo79 has 4 years experience and specializes in CTICU/CVICU.

908 Posts; 14,623 Profile Views

CONGRATS!!! I definitely will be coming back to your thread when it's time for me to interview...which will be in the very near future since I graduate in June!! Congrats again and best of luck to you in your new position!!!!

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140 Posts; 3,822 Profile Views

Aww, I loved your post! Congrats to you!

To add to the portfolio idea, I was thinking of sketching out my career vision board either by hand, with graphics editing software or with Powerpoint, to show potential employers where I'd like to be (ideally) in the next 5-10 years: ER, Cardiac Cath, ICU, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Research Nurse.....and the steps I'm taking to get there, of course.

Would love to hear more suggestions!!!

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Florence NightinFAIL has 2 years experience and specializes in Medical - Surgical.

254 Posts; 11,479 Profile Views

This is awesome! I just saw it now, I didn't even though this section of allnurses existed. I wish your thread would be put in the General Nursing section so more people can see it.

Thanks for the tips! And good luck :)

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30 Posts; 1,540 Profile Views

Was your resume more than 1 page???? I do think the CV is a good idea, because highlighting clinical experiences do make you stand out.

Did you have RN, BSN Personal Business Cards Printed out? I'm gonna go do that right now!

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47 Posts; 2,669 Profile Views

@ fireline: My resume was 2 pages long and my CV was also 2 pages long.

I also made business cards and got them for free at vistaprint.com. All you need to pay for is shipping, which was under $5 if I remember correctly. Good luck!!

@ herowneulogy: thats sounds like a good idea! Anything that can make you stand out in a good way is sometimes the very thing that will give you the edge and show how passionate you are. Good luck to you!!

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46 Posts; 2,299 Profile Views

this is so helpful! i've started doing what you've mentioned. i feel positive on this! goodluck to you!

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14 Posts; 1,896 Profile Views

That was absolutley awesome!!! Thank You very much for your enthusiasm and hope. I am also a new grad looking for work, and your post truly was uplifting...good luck in your new career I am positive you will be wonderful ;)

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160 Posts; 5,505 Profile Views

Awesome post! This inspired me to create my own portfolio over the weekend! I have one interview with a Med/Surg floor Monday, and a follow up peer interview with another hospital. I am bringing a portfolio to both! I might leave one for the hiring manager too who already interviewed me :-> Love this!!:yeah:

All the best, KaLyn RN :nurse:

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jelly221,RN has 3 years experience and specializes in Neurosciences, cardiac, critical care.

306 Posts; 9,415 Profile Views

ummm, best idea ever. I'll definitely be doing that. Never would've thought to include a sample essay from school... brilliant!

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160 Posts; 5,505 Profile Views

Well I got a JOB offer this week!! I interviewed Monday, and they offered me the job on Wednesday! :rckn: Med/Surg Tele.

Over the weekend, I did what I said, and made my own RN portfolio. Thanks mnf4ever for the links and all the details of yours.

I created a CV.....wow, makes so much more sense than my resume. Mine had a section on Clinical Rotations, and I listed skills attained/utilized in and patient teaching focus for each. (I love pt education so this was fun to go through all my care plans and my school work to dig up the topics.) A section for my summer Internship. A section on Nursing education which included my degree, awards, GPA. Next was my License and Certification and I included my state license, BLS, expiration dates for each. And a section on my Undergraduate education and one for Volunteerism.

Anyway, I loved the RN-CV because it was all things nursing, and flowed really well. One of the nurses in my peer interview did flip through my portfolio--which had similar sections as the OP, and I think it helped to have one. I can't say what the nurses took away from the portfolio, but for me, I felt SO ORGANIZED on arriving to the interview, and I had something to reference during the interview too (IE when they asked me about "group activities I had been involved in" I referred them to the powerpoint project in my portfolio, which was a leadership project for one of my classes.

:yeah: Kuddos to the OP mnf4ever for bringing this up, and detailing hers. Putting one together really helped me pull together my thoughts on all my accomplishments and helped increase my confidence in getting the job I deserved!

Wishing you all the best! KaLyn RN :nurse:

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47 Posts; 2,669 Profile Views

Congrats KaLynRN! I am very happy for you and glad it worked out for you :))

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