Quote from Ashley_SF
I agree with the above post. I wish I had been more prepared after graduating and passing NCLEX. It's a stressful time and the more prepared you are, the better off you'll be. Like others have posted it also depends on your area. I graduated in San Francisco and job hunting was brutal.
Or like me, trying desperately to fill out applications and write my cover letters at the last minute in January while simultaneously studying for my nursing exams and attending clinicals. I wish I'd gotten a head start way earlier than I did, and I definitely encourage current nursing students to learn from my mistakes.
Quote from LibraSunCNM
If you're graduating in May, it's too early to apply for jobs now, for sure. I also had a May graduation and around February or March of that year, I started calling around to the nurse recruitment departments of all of the hospitals I was interested in, and asked when they thought I should apply as a new grad planning on taking boards sometime in June. Most were very willing to help and most told me to apply right after graduation but not before. Only one hospital told me to wait until after taking and passing the NCLEX. This may vary depending on your area, but start reaching out a few months before graduation and you should be fine.
I politely disagree; I actually missed out on applying to a couple of major hospitals that I was very interested in because I didn't realize that their application cycles for May graduates had closed in mid-January, and I was going to have to wait for the next application/graduation cycle to be considered (so with a May graduation I wouldn't be able to start until February with the December graduates). The timelines can vary quite widely by region; it doesn't hurt to start looking into the timelines for your local hospitals now so that you can make an informed decision.
Also, many hospitals will have a specific timeframe for when their new grad applications are open. Unlike experienced RN jobs, which are often filled on a rolling basis, usually the new grad applications are only open for a specific period of time. Therefore, even if you tried to apply right now you'd probably find that the applications are closed (except to nurses who have already graduated, or are graduating in December).