Dear Nurse Beth,
I am a new grad who graduated in August. I have passed the NCLEX-RN and have already received my state license. I thought that the hard part would be over. In an interview recently, I found it extremely difficult to talk about myself and my accomplishments/successes.
I am very proud of all the work that I've accomplished and have received positive feedback from instructors and coworkers (I was a student nursing assistant on an ICU). I grew up in a family/culture that does not talk about ourselves in such away, since it sounds like boasting/bragging. I was given the feedback that I appeared uncomfortable and did not do a great job with answering those questions. I did not get the position. What advice do you have that allows me to answer the question appropriately and authentically without sounding like I am boasting/bragging?
Congrats on graduating and passing your licensing exam!
Think of it this way- boasting and bragging are not the same as telling an employer your qualifications.
"I was the best in my class" is boasting.
"I received the Sarah Johnson Best Nursing Student Award" is telling the employer you were a top nursing student, in a factual, authentic manner.
It's highly important for you to appear confident. Nurse managers shy away from candidates who appear to be insecure. After interviewing an uncomfortable, insecure candidate on a panel interview, the interviewers will turn to each other, shake their heads and say "They'd never survive on my unit". What that means is nurses count on each member of the team to take initiative and advocate for their patients. In nursing interviews, it's extremely important to be seen as a good fit- and that includes being confident and assertive.
During an interview, make eye contact, sit with your back straight and shake hands. Project energy and positivity. You are judged in the first minute by how you present yourself.
You absolutely must practice your answers to interview questions. I wrote my book below for applicants just like yourself, who lack interviewing skills and need to learn how to stand out as a candidate. It includes how to successfully answer the top ten questions such as "What is your greatest weakness?" 'Tell us about yourself" and "Why should we hire you?"
The good news is that you can learn these skills. You succeeded in passing school, and worked as an assistant in ICU- you can do this, too.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!