Don't dispair! I moved out from Northern California in January and passed my boards in March. I applied to nearly every hospital, nursing home, clinic, and blood bank that I came across. I have been the sulking, depressed, resume-sending new grad RN, working retail for eight months. What I have come to believe is that it's all about timing and following up. Everyone kept telling me, "It will happen" because they obviously haven't studied therapeutic communication. But things actually did get better for me. I am starting at a Manhattan hospital in two weeks. Here's what I did to stand out from the sea of new graduate nurses in this city.
1. Get certifications. (ACLS, PALS) most new grads don't have them and it means one less thing that the hospital has to pay for. It shows that you are serious and proactive.
2. Use the Resume trifecta (Email, Fax, Snail Mail) Make sure that there is a hard copy floating around that HR office because it is so easy for an emailed resume to be deleted or lost in the thousands that are received. Also, send your resume as a PDF whenever possible because there are so many compatibility errors between word processing programs. What may look perfect on your computer looks full of mistakes or simply can't be opened on another.
3. If you make connections don't lose them! If you speak to a nurse recruiter or nurse manager send thank you notes to let them know that you appreciate their time. By the time they receive your thank you note they have already started to forget you. Most recruiters I have spoken with have thank you notes that people have sent them posted on their walls. I assume that those people were hired. Also, if you have an interview and you don't get the job, send periodic emails (no more than monthly) expressing your continued interest in current or future positions (cover letter and resume attached as a PDF). Keep your info and interest in front of them. Try not to be annoying or seem desperate. This is how I got offered a position. I interviewed in early May and have kept my stuff in front of the hiring nurse manager. I got offered the same position (only better now) two weeks ago. Don't give up!
4. It's Flu Season! It has been hinted to me through HR encounters that things are going to get worse with hospital hirings "unless we get hit hard by the flu this year." So applying for positions that are in the flu arena might be promising.
If I think of anything else I will surely let you know. All I can say is take care of yourself and keep trying. I am hoping that things get better out there.