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New Grad- job two days after NCLEX!

Job Hunt   (2,199 Views | 4 Replies)
by RyanBrinkman RyanBrinkman (New) New

398 Profile Views; 1 Post

The whole applying, interviewing, and getting a job is honestly a song and dance that just have to know how to do well. I got my dream job immediately because I learned how to play the game that managers expect you to know how to do when you apply and interview.

**** If you don't want to read my unique personal experience, I'll list all my advice at the end****

So I wanted to write an article on here to offer encouragement because after hearing other people's stories I became really depressed. I was reading stories about people applying to 30-70 jobs and not ever hearing back after 6 months of continuously applying. I graduated at the end of September with my ADN, and scheduled to take my NCLEX as soon as possible- November 4th. I only had 13 days to study and managed to pass in 75 questions. I don't believe in paying hundreds of dollars for materials. I just used Saunders (purple edition) and Exam Cram (which I got a free trial online and used). I wasn't the best at studying, but I thought it was easier than the HESI we took in school.

Anyways I moved up my NCLEX test day to November 3rd, because I managed to get an interview on November 6 and I really wanted to get my results in time. I managed to get my license and walk into the interview confident with my license. How did I manage to get an interview so fast? I networked. I just asked people if they knew anyone. Unfortunately my friends didn't know any RNs, just maintenance, transport, lab, etc. I lucked out though. My mom used to be a STNA/CNA about 20 years ago (I'm 26) and happened to be facebook friends with her old coworker. They barely kept in contact, but just occasionally sent each a message if they saw another former coworker/friend of theirs. Well luckily this friend of my moms is now a Nurse Manager on a Med Surg unit at my dream hospital.

I didn't want to hold my breath because they haven't seen each other in person for at least 15 years. But my mom contacted her, and just asked how she was, and nonchalantly mentioned I was a new grad. She encouraged my mom to send my resume. I'm not saying everyone should do this, my mom and I visited the unit and brought donuts for the nurses (as well as a copy of my resume). I don't recommend bribery with baked goods, but since my mom was also saying hi to an old coworker, it wasn't exactly from me. I dressed very nice, and I spent days researching perfecting my resume. I was a B/C student, I wasn't the valedictorian, and I had been a server at the Cheesecake Factory for over 5 years with no medical experience. I knew my strengths were superior customer service and surprisingly that put me above a lot of applicants. Two days later I got a call from a Nurse Recruiter because my mom's friend was nice enough to send an email asking to not throw my application out. lol

Got the interview and I researched for days perfecting my answers. I used to be terrible. I didn't have any questions prepared to ask the interviewer after my interview, I was bad with eye contact, and honestly wasn't aware that I was answering all the questions incorrectly. I finally felt confident and decided to get a new outfit for my interview. I probably went a little overboard, but I spent $250 at express trying to get the right look. (this included, shoes, belts, tie, pants, shirt, etc.) But it really paid off. I could tell I had to interviewer impressed from the moment she saw me, and I felt confident too. I was able to answer my questions without stumbling, and I actually found something that we had in common. I was looking into an RN to MSN program (I have a bachelors already in psych), and ironically my interviewer was enrolled in a program. The interview basically stopped and we spent 10 minutes just talking about her program and connecting. I realize this is getting a little long so I'm going to try to sum it up. I managed to get my dream job almost immediately after school and start training in less than a month because I did very unique things in my story.

1. Prepare yourself. Whether it's the NCLEX, job interview, or even job hunting.

-I didn't realize that some hospitals required a BSN only to even apply. Also don't apply without your license number. I made the stupid mistake of applying to my clinical site with only my test date listed on my resume and found out later from an instructor that the toss out anyone with a number. I hear a lot of people saying apply when you start your last quarter... trust me don't. Who are they going to call... a licensed RN or a nursing student with three months until graduation with no idea of when they might take their NCLEX. Also practice interview questions and have a professional look at your resume. I've seen a lot of terrible basic resume's out there, because it's not really something many people are taught. Ton of online resources, examples, advice, and formats. Also know how to interview. There is practice questions and answers everywhere online, just look for it.

2. Stay Positive. I had moments of doubt whether it was studying, or when I felt like I read more negative stories than positive. The NCLEX is doable if you know what you're doing. Practice SATA questions. There is like 500 SATA questions on the Saunder's evolve companion. Know your drug suffixes! And realize that hospitals are willing to hire new grads if you prove yourself to be worthy of their time and money

3. Sell your strong points. I felt like I had nothing to put on my resume. I was able to put that I was on the dean's list. Granted it was my first quarter taking A&P I, but I didn't say it was every quarter. I'm not stretching the truth or lying, but this allowed my to not post my GPA which was 2.87 (not proud trust me). During my interviews, I used some examples from clinical, but if I felt my serving job was a better example than I used it. Servers in high volume restaurants have prioritization, multitasking, and customer skills. My manager was very impressed when I said my biggest strength is not afraid to ask questions. Yes I'm a new grad, their biggest fear is your inexperience, and if you reassure them that you won't guess at making an unsure decision

4. NETWORK!!! If you can get a job as a CNA/STNA do it! I made the mistake of not getting my foot in the door. Ask around. I wasn't all that surprised when I started training that everyone in my orientation had someone refer them. I'm not talking about putting their name on your application when it says who referred you (that honestly does nothing to help). My manager even told me she can get up to 500 applicants a week, but she'll only forward or look at any that someone refers to her. After getting hired, I said hey is it cool if a friend emails your her resume. My manager forwarded it to another manager that she knew was hiring on the same floor (different unit). My friend got a call within two days.

***what's worse is my friend was a receptionist at another hospital for 5 years and that hospital wouldn't let her apply as an RN until she got an acceptance letter for an RN to BSN program***

^^^If you're a new nurse, help out your friends. I didn't help out every single classmate that hit me up. (if I didn't like you, sorry not helping) I was the first and only one to get a job, and half my class still hasn't taken their NCLEX yet, but I know how lucky I was. If you have the fortune to get your foot in the door help someone else out. You'd be surprised how they might be able to return the favor next time you're job hunting, and who wouldn't enjoy working at the same facility as a friend.

5. Don't give up. If you're not getting a job, don't lose hope. Think what am I doing wrong. Am I applying for positions I'm not qualified for? Is my school's accreditation accepted by this hospital? Do I need more education? Is my resume bad? If it's not polished, if your dates aren't lined up perfectly, if there is misspelling, and if you're listing your skills in bullet points like- hard worker, task driven, successfully insert IVs, etc. You're resume is going to be tossed aside. Am I dressed well. They always say dress a hire level than what you're applying for. Going to apply for an RN, dress like a manager, pressed black pants, shoes ties, etc. Suits are always a good choice, but I opted out, but would definitely wear it if I was applying for a management position. Are you answering your interview questions correctly. Are you not getting a call back because they don't know who you are. I don't have to nerve to walk into a unit and just introduce myself to a complete stranger and be like "hey I just wanted to give you my resume." I've heard of people being successful, but how are you going to get them to even consider you if you're just 1 or hundreds with just as much if not way more experience than you. My best advice is introduce yourself while in a clinical setting. Ask for a card. Sending a nice cover letter and resume to a manager will do wonders if you met them before and they can remember you. Last random example. I had a coworker at my restaurant luckily serve a group of nurses and their managers at my restaurant. The manager was paying and randomly asked her, tell me a little bit about yourself. She mentioned she was in nursing school. She must have impressed him as a server, but he gave her his card and said shoot me an email after you graduate. She instantly got a job in the ICU, which is super rare for a new grade, but it's all about who you meet.

After some investigation with management and human resources I can tell you what they are looking for. I New Grad who is wanting to learn, isn't afraid to ask questions, is competent, licensed, and is willing to put the extra touch in their patient care. I was told repeatedly that patient satisfaction scores is now effecting how hospitals are paid, and if you're not willing to take the time to talk to your patients, establish that report, explain what you're going to do, and basically treat them how you'd want to be treated if you were a patient, they aren't going to want you. They ask the annoying questions on an interview to see more of how you can answer the question with an example, sell yourself through your responses, and realize your strengths and weaknesses and how to continually improve.

I have tons of advice on any topic, and I can help with specific questions. Sorry for making this so long. Shoot me an email if you need any help with anything. Pay It Forward!!! ryanbrinkman88@gmail.com

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RunBabyRN has 2 years experience and specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

3,677 Posts; 27,103 Profile Views

Welcome to AN! Congrats on your new job!

Some friendly advice- remove your e-mail address and change your screen name to something other than your real name. It's important to protect yourself, especially on a very public forum, where your information is out there for anyone and everyone.

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15 Posts; 487 Profile Views

Congrats on your new position ! I start my last semester January 19th. I'm nervous and excited .

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1 Article; 1,161 Posts; 22,180 Profile Views

This is great advice! I agree that you need to add some anonymity though to protect yourself.

I took cookies on my interview, but I interviewed on the floor where I knew some of the nurses. If you have connections, baked goods is not a terrible idea. I wouldn't do it if I were interviewing with complete strangers though. I actually took cookies on my last day of clinicals all through school. I wanted the nurses to remember me so I could use them as connections later and it worked for me!

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