New grad nurses- what did you do to get hired?

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ToughingItOut

120 Posts

Specializes in NICU. Has 5 years experience.

I'm also originally from the Houston area, and graduated during the Ike aftermath and MD Anderson hiring freeze (lol, even LESS jobs)! I ended up moving out of state for my dream job. I was looking forward to moving in the next few years anyway as I never really liked Houston, so moving for me was a great option. However, I realize that many people don't have the luxary of just picking up and moving wherever strikes their fancy, and, moreover, getting a job anywhere as a new grad these days is HARD.

I also went to some great nursing fairs I found advertised in the paper - most hospitals weren't hiring new grads...but some were! As others have suggested, I would definitely apply to the units where you did your clinicals and try to get your preceptors to put in a good word. If you haven't already, pump any nurses you even casually know for info - desperate times call for desperate measures! :coollook:

And remember, not all nurses start off in or even work in large hospitals. It is true that that's where you can gain a lot of "hospital experience" rather quickly, but those big hospitals will always be there and probably more willing to take a chance on a nurse with a little prior experience if you're still interested in a few years. I even considered applying at a wound care center where they were willing to train a couple new grads (for a few years committment) which I still think would have been awesome! Good luck!! :redpinkhe

Bobbkat

476 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

I applied and applied and applied, and called HR and tried every angle I could think of, getting nowhere. Then I contacted every person I knew working in a hospital back home (I had to relocate to a state after school, so I had no experience with the hospitals here) and asked them over and over again whether they knew ANYONE who had any contacts in a hospital in my new state.

A nurse I knew was working with a new attending that had just come from a hospital in my area. The doctor agreed to call the nurse manager on the unit I was interested in and put in a good word for me. Next thing I knew, my application went through HR, I was offered and interview, and then offered a position.

Long story short, networking was key for me. There is no shame in using whatever contacts you can for an edge. I had great GPA, great references, all that, but it was getting me no where since every one I was competing with also seemed to have great grades and references.

Specializes in LTC. Has 6 years experience.

What I did was simple, the three P's.

1. Prayed

2.Persevered

3. Proved to the hiring manager that I can do the job and do it well.

I got a job exactly two weeks after taking my NCLEX exam.

PeachPie

515 Posts

Specializes in EC, IMU, LTAC.
Peachpie, could you give me an idea of what suburb you moved to? I'm in Houston too and having no luck with finding a job

I went to the Shenandoah/Spring/Woodlands/Conroe area. There was only one nursing school in the area, which meant better chances.

Has 8 years experience.

I agree with Bobbkat. You must network. Think of anyone you can who might be able to help you, and contact them. If you really can't think of any contact (professor, preceptor, friend, classmate, coworker, church member, etc.) who has an "in" somewhere, then you need to make contacts by volunteering, joining a professional organization, attending conferences, etc.

You need someone to be the little bird in the hiring manager's ear saying: "Hire bornthisway!"

Other than that critically important step, you need lots of persistence and patience. Don't give up hope. It's frustrating, but you can do it. Eventually, it will happen for you. Really!

Shannalynn

4 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, LTC, Occ Health. Has 6 years experience.

Networking did the trick for me.

Make a good impression on someone in HR.

I was having trouble... Hearing "we need someone with more experience" etc. I happened to meet the human resources director of one of the biggest health systems in Alabama while volunteering at a first aid clinic for storm victims. (I was doing anything I could to fatten up my resume).

By the end of the week I was interviewed and offered a job. I felt like I got to skip a lot of the job applicant process just because of meeting her.

sbostonRN

517 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Rehab.

I knew from previous graduates and from my area contacts, that my best bet was LTC or SNF. So I focused on those. I google searched in my area and went to any webpage that popped up. I applied for those that had employment postings. I got a few callbacks and an interview out of that method.

I found my future employer by searching the Medicare CMS survey site. It is sort of like JCAHO, and you can go on their website and do a "nursing home compare" in your state. Search for the best nursing homes in your area, and go to their websites. One of the best nursing homes in my area did not have an employment section on their webpage, but they did list the email of the director of nursing. I sent her my cover letter and resume emphasizing my availability for any shift and on any unit. I got a call for an interview a week later, and got hired on the spot. I start next week assuming I pass NCLEX tomorrow :)

Good luck and remember to try some non-traditional methods...call HR, stop by and visit if you live close by, use your contacts, and have a well-written resume and cover letter ready at all times.

DedHedRN

344 Posts

Specializes in Medical Surgical. Has 6 years experience.

I graduated last December, got licensed this Feb., got a job offer this week.

I handed my application or resume into the person in charge of doing the hiring in PERSON! I never let them take it and leave it for them to read later. Even if it meant I had to return to the place several times. I also a 30 second spiel to say about why I wanted to work there that showed my enthusiasm and personality.

Yup.... that's how I did it. I filled out almost 100 online applications, not one interview. About half the places I walked into in person gave me interviews and after a few weeks I had a job offer.

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

It's hard because new grads lack experience and there are a ton of Nursing Jobs out there, but they all want experienced nurses.

It is more expensive to train new grads than it is to train an experienced nurse...and the other problem is that larger cities (like SF) probably have a lot of nursing programs in the area...so every May/December you have a large amount of new grads all competing for jobs. The supply of new grads is much greater than the demand for them. Internships become extremely competitive and they can only take a certain number of applicants each time. It sucks :(

But rest assured, do not give up! And even if a position says "1-2+ years of experience preferred" don't let that discourage you. I actually applied for a position that asked for 2 years of experience and that very same day the nurse manager called me to set up an interview.

Also, apply apply APPLY! Call HR, stop by the hospital and see if you can get a tour or to talk to someone or set up a shadowing experience. Sometimes just by SHOWING that you're interested makes a huge difference than those who just submit an application and then be done with it.

Specializes in Critical Care (ICU/CVICU).

I live in the Houston area as well (not that it matters at all, but there are WAY more than 6 nursing schools....and I just heard that they are opening up yet ANOTHER BSN program!!! Ugh.) Anyway...I networked, posted my resume on Monster. *this actually got me my job* I didn't even know about the hospital and they called me wanting to interview me. Graduated on a Saturday, interviewed the following Wednesday and got hired for a GN ICU position! My advice is to really sell yourself, call everybody, and expect tons of rejections! I got about 60.... and only got ONE interview.

Has 1 years experience.

Going into a facility and applying in person! I have gotten responses from 90% of the places I have gone into. Dress up look professional, put effort into your resume, put your resume on actual resume paper, address you cover letter to a specific person if possible, send a thank you card if you get a interview. Research the facility you are applying to. Have questions for the interviewer as well. Rehearse potential interview questions beforehand. emphasize the work experience you have had. Good luck

DedHedRN

344 Posts

Specializes in Medical Surgical. Has 6 years experience.

I wasn't picky and I handed my applications and resumes into the hiring manager in person. I would not leave them with ANYONE, even if I had to come back to a place ten times to give it to them in person. Got a few interviews from that, and a job offer after six weeks of this approach.

Turning stuff in online didn't work for me at all. I did over 50 applications online and no response at all. About 50% of the places I went into in person would at least give me a interview.