I'm a new grad from NJ and just wanted to let you know what I've been dealing with. First i should mention that i graduated in december but my school was very slow with getting out my ATT and what not so i didn't take my NCLEX until feb 15th.. exactly a month ago yesterday... which is about when most of the people in my class took it.
So far i've had no job offers but 2 interviews, one of which is tomorrow. It has definitely been HARD, but NJ is so over-populated with people in general nevermind nurses that it was to be expected. I have been looking out of state as well and that's actually where my interview is tomorrow. What i can say from personal experience is the standards have changed even since this past May... hospitals who used to hire new grads with no experience, certifications, etc. now will still hire new grads but want you to have the certifications (PALS, ACLS, NRP...) that pertain to the position, which most new grads don't have yet. My advice is in between finishing your program and taking the NCLEX take some time to get some of these certifications b/c from what i've been seeing it WILL help you. I was actually told by one hospital they wouldn't interview me for a peds job, even though they are hiring new grads for it, because i didn't have pediatric advanced life support. Wouldn't even interview!! Needless to say i spent the money to take the course hoping after i take it they will interview me.
Check the websites daily if not every other day! It seems like positions are always being added. And call/e-mail to follow up on your application! The nurses i talk to where i work tell me it was sooo easy for them to get jobs when they graduated (as early as 3 years ago) but the times have definitely changed. We need to work for the job and show how badly we want and deserve it!
On a positive note 2 of my friends have already gotten jobs so I'm hopeful something will come along :)