I think that I must have gotten at least 25 rejection e-mails, honestly I lost count, I started getting at least 1 a day.... & 8 of them were within 1 minute from Loma Linda (whoever made up that system is a mean person!)
1. Apply for jobs - even if they say minimum 1 year experience required. (I learned that this is a way for some departments to not get 1,000 new grad apps.)
2. Find out who the nurse manager is on the unit you want to work and e-mail them your resume & cover letter directly. (ask a friend who works there, google nurse managers at whatever hospital you want to work at...) I scored an interview this way. I didn't even apply online, because they didn't have anything posted online.
3. *ALWAYS* follow up with a thank you card, preferably via mail. But, at the very least send an e-mail.
4. Follow up on the resumes/applications you've submitted. Don't be a stalker, but you set yourself apart if you call or e-mail, letting them know you're still interested.
5. Make your personality shine! Even if it's not your #1 choice to work there, make whoever is interviewing you think that it is! A little chitchat & a smile goes a long way.
6. Don't bottleneck yourself into one geographic area. I have no intention of moving & have signed myself up for a killer commute, but it's for a great hospital & I'm willing to sacrifice what I have to. I applied everywhere from Mission Hospital to USC to Loma Linda.
7. Make sure your resume & cover letter sets you apart from the 1,000 other people who applied for the same job. I had 4 people critique my resume before e-mailing it out. I used some of their suggestions, but not all.
8. A little humor & confidence can go a long way, during an interview, "Why should we hire you over the hundreds of others who applied?" Not a joke, I replied, "because I'm awesome!" (and then followed up with I'm a team player, I'm organized, I'm adaptable to crazy situations, etc...)