Dear Nurse Beth,
My name is B and I was let go from my job in October. I have been a nurse for 11 years now in that same system. Previous work has been in IMCU 8 years, ICU 1 year, and PACU 2 years. I have been applying to jobs in the same area. I like working where the patients are monitored. I am bilingual in Spanish and am available to work ASAP. I have put in applications and resumes. I have only gotten one letter of regret. When I called to talk to HR about a house management position, I was told that in needed managerial experience for that. My question is that in all my previous jobs I have known someone that has worked in the department. What can I do to speed up the process? It has been 4 weeks since I have sent resumes for specific jobs. Any advice would be much appreciated. I am starting to feel worthless and anxious.
Dear Feeling Anxious,
I'm sorry to hear you were let go from your job.
You have a really solid work history and you are very marketable. If your resume is not landing you interviews, make sure it is pristine. That means free from errors, easy readability (white space, bullet points), targeted to the employer, succinct (1-2 pages).
Italicized text is from the Resume Chapter of my book (below):
Avoid dense blocks of text, long paragraphs, confusing hierarchy, multiple fonts, and run-on sentences. Use plenty of white space, brief paragraphs and bullets to help the reader see and process key chunks of information. Use a 10-12 point font, and a .8 margin. Use a sans-serif font throughout such as Arial.
When using bullets, keep the points short and use sentence fragments, not full sentences. Use bullets consistently throughout your resume. Bullets provide structure and give importance to material of equal weight in all sections.
- Strive to be succinct
- Words should WOW
- Lead with strong action verbs
Edit your resume for clichés and fluffery such as "thinks outside the box" "team-player", "results-oriented". Everyone is a results-oriented, team-player who "thinks outside the box" and has "excellent communication skills". If you are just like everyone else, you have not set yourself apart.
Use action verbs such as "resolved", "reduced", "directed", "handled", "managed", "organized".
Use superlatives such as "only", "highest", "top", "first", "best".
Write your resume from the employer's point of view- highlight your Spanish speaking skills, include your excellent attendance (if true), include any extra training such as AIDET (communication skills).
Don't take it personally that you were turned down for a supervisor role- they were looking for experience. You have been job seeking for one month, which is not long when you consider that hospitals are slow moving, complex organizations.
Follow up when you don't hear back and consider some bolder moves. Bolder moves carry risk but also pay off.
Cold call the nurse manager. Stop by on a Monday or Friday (fewer meetings) with a copy of your resume. Take this up a level by including a card with your picture on it (for recall). Politely ask if you could drop off your resume for future consideration. If she is receptive, chat for a few minutes but do not overstay.
Activate your network and let everyone know you are looking for a job. Leads often come from insiders. Ask for introductions and referrals.
With your background and a well-honed resume, it's likely that your next problem will be which offer to choose from.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!