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


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Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience.

I took my boards early so I had my lic 2.5 weeks before my classmates and before the other schools, that phased out a lot of that competition. Of course there were still new grads from previous semesters that hadn't found work or were working in non acute care units. Also the positions I applied for were open to experience or new grads.

So as soon as I got my lic I applied to everything, I got set up for 2 interviews (in a hospital) within a week of graduating and getting my lic. One was a contact I through a line out too who I knew wouldn't remember me but I saw an opportunity and took it. There was an open position on that floor. The other was the HR lady that puts apps through. She did a phone interview and we really hit it off. Well the other lady already had my file pulled and so she had "dibs" on me so to speak. She set up an in person interview and the HR lady told me if it didn't pan out for whatever reason, she would get me more interviews in the hospital.

After my phone interview I asked her if she had any advice for me, she said the biggest thing that shined through was my enthusiasm and passion and to just carry that over in my in person interviews. That I gave her chills by how enthusiastic I was. Also I knew the companies mission statement and found a way to pull that into my phone interview.

So when I had my in person interview with the first lady I tried to bring that. I also got interviewing tips and I dressed very professionally, (saw a person go in after me and they had on khakis and a button up shirt, was disheveled and had a large manila envelope for her papers) I was in a skirt suit, black boots, light make up, hair nicely done and had a slim black portfolio. I looked SHARP. First impressions are huge. No cleavage and skirts need to go to your knees. Also need a good firm handshake. You can read up on lots of good interviewing tips, the ones I got before hand were great and I hadn't ever thought about some of them.

There was another person in on the interview I wasn't expecting. I had a thank you card ready to mail as soon as I left for the one person. I got their cards and I mailed the other one as soon as I got home. I also mailed a thank you card to the HR lady that did my phone interview. She said she rarely ever gets thanks and she was tickled to be recognized as well. Makes no sense to me why someone wouldn't. She is the one that gets your resumes past the online application part and into the hands of the people that have the say in hiring you. Make a connection with the HR person and they will keep trying for you! She also was the one that called me to give me my job offer.

I got the first job I interviewed for. I interviewed and had a job offer before anyone in my class even took their boards. I think the biggest thing in my favor was taking those boards right away before everyone else. I had to drive 3.5 hrs to take them in a different state and I only had 1.5 days to prepare, but it was all worth it in the end.

Oh also, when the HR lady first called me for my phone interview she asked if there was any specific units or shifts I couldn't work. I told her I would work any position or shift, that as a new graduate I had no room to be picky. She commented how many new grads are picky and how it makes her put their apps in the dump pile. She said it spoke volumes that I would take anything as long as I was getting experience. So take what you can and after you have your experience you can afford to be more picky.


19 Posts

I applied at probably 100+ jobs in 2 weeks, via e-mail and walking in and handing in my resume. I would also ask to talk to the DON or the person doing hiring.

it took 6 weeks to get my job, I lived in AZ. After one interview at a SNF the DON told me good luck, that she had friends that had been nursing for years and couldn't get a job in this economy and she has a stack of resumes like a mountain, yada yada yada. Dont let it get you down. You WILL find a job, just got to keep at it and remember sometimes its a "waiting game"


365 Posts

Specializes in geriatrics, IV, Nurse management. Has 7 years experience.

I emailed every facility in my area with a resume for LTC/ Retirement/Med/Surg. If they were not hiring, I left an updated resume and took a business card to keep in touch. I've been in a full time nursing position for almost a year now, and I still keep in touch with those businesses.....just in case:).


121 Posts

Specializes in Neurology. Has 2 years experience.

I ended up being hired into an ICU at a teaching hospital where I live- I asked to shadow after my interview and hit it off with the nurses. I think being a good fit for the unit is a plus, so if you can shadow and be friendly while you are there that might help you get the job over others. I didn't even have nursing assistant experience, but I had great clinical experiences that I spoke about in the interview. Good luck.

Specializes in Urgent Care NP, Emergency Nursing, Camp Nursing. Has 12 years experience.

While I was in Nursing School, I spent a summer getting my EMT-B, and during the next summer of nursing school I worked as a Health Officer at a summer camp. For my internship/capstone/role transition clinical, I got a placement in an ED. After I graduated, I started applying online as soon as I had my ATT and a test date. I was the first in my class to sit the NCLEX-RN, and kept on sending out applications to every Emergency RN position in the city and near burbs that I could find. After I got my unofficial Pass result, I signed up for and took an ACLS class - and was called for an interview the day after I took the class. The interview was a couple weeks later (thanks to the Christmas holiday season), and within a week I was offered a position in the ED.


5 Posts

I recently graduated dec. 2010 with an ADN. I actually had 2 job offers yesterday at a county hosp. and community hosp this was after four months of searching and 5 interviews. I can offer you some tips in a list with some of my personal exp. Keep in mind that i didnt read any of the other responses on this post just the subject.

1. Never lose motivation or hope this is the most important!- alot of my friends have given up or stopped actively looking after looking only for two months i believe they missed out. I continued to stay active on the job hunt every day. i had an int. the first week of my job hunt followed by 3 months of silence. Ive had 4 ints. from the may15 to June 14th

2. Everywhere you go is an oppurtunity for a job.- I tell almost everyone my situation that im a new grad looking for a job! do it. I was recently hospitalized last week and i took that as an opportunity for finding a job. One of the nurses that took care of me actually got me an interview with her manager at her other job, and i was interviewed and offered the job on the spot(yesterday)

3. Check everyday search RN New Grad! and place your zip code. actually found a new grad position that was up for only 3 days! Got an intial int. followed but not given a panel int.

4. Have a day and visit the hospital personally dress business casual Bring all your stuff with you resume, cover, awards, letters of recs(have them to who it may concern and just copy it)- My friend was offered a job this way she talked to the nurse recruiter and was scheduled an appt with a manager. This is after I called the same nurse recruiter told me to call back in a few months. SO basically its easier to say NO on the phone then in person.

5. Work on your common nursing interview questions!! google them! and record yourself til you feel comfortable. One of my clinical instructors told me to sell yourself and dont be afraid cause no one else will. Also I read this in another forum and i think it really helped me-- remember you are interviewing with someone that you are going to work with, so pretend you are talking to one of your nursing buddies, and not like you are being questioned by the police


37 Posts

Move!!!-that is my biggest and best suggestion. I moved from San Francisco to Idaho. Not my ideal spot at first but let me tell you I found an amazing job, in an amazing hospital, and I've never been happier. It was the best decision I ever made. Plus I can move back to San Fran anytime I want now. I just looked and UCSF has 5 openings in my specialty all of which I now qualify for since I went and got experience instead of sitting around and waiting in SF for a new grad job to open up, not that I want to move because I love where I work. Some people can't move-they have families and other difficult situations. But if you can move-when you have hospitals paying for your relocation and hiring lots of new grads in specialty areas no less-how can you not move? I don't understand the people that just refuse to leave the bay area. Good luck in SF...


29 Posts

I had to really really WORK and network to get hired!!

My brother-in-law is an RN at a MAGNET status hospital, I got recommendation letters sent out from the Director of Nursing there to other hospitals / Skilled nursing facilities that would hire an RN with only an Associates Degree. The MAGNET hospital said they would have hired me if I had my BSN (which I'm now working on!). And THEN I sent out mailed resumes, called them to make sure they got them, called them weekly to see if they were willing to let me come in and interview, etc. Then I actually WALKED into several of the places and got them to talk to me. Once I got them face-to-face and saw how hard I'd been working to get in there, they gave me an interview and HIRED me. I received 2 job offers and picked the one I really wanted out of the 2. So, it's a lot of work, but it can be done!

Good luck to all the new grads out there


Hit the pavement. With all the job applications online for hospitals, I think it's important to give yours a face. The day or two after you apply online, walk into HR and give them a HARDCOPY of your resume. And just tell them you applied the other day and wanted to follow it up. I did this and it worked. If you are able to get in touch with a Nurse Manager that's even better. Give them a hard copy of your resume too. Usually they are the one's interviewing you in the begining anyway, then HR has to actually offer you the job.

took me more than a year. I ended up relocating (after i found the job) to a rural middle of no where area.


20 Posts

Specializes in MHMR population.

Might I remind everyone to also send a follow up thank you letters for the interview rather it be through snail mail or email.. Also remember to bring your clinical references!!!

Another note.. I hate to say it but don't be so picky when it comes to shifts. Inside employees have first choice when it comes to new job openings and in all reality that is fair.


1,237 Posts

Specializes in acute care.

Apply, apply, apply. Even for positions that say exp preferred or required. My first job was advertised saying exp preferred, my second required years of exp I did not have.

Side note: the places the called me back, I NEVER followeed up with them. My resume spoke for itself, I guess. The places I DID follow up with after sending my resume, I got nowhere with. Their loss.