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"Old New Grad" - Need Resume/Cover Letter Advice

Resume   (2,075 Views | 4 Replies)
by KBabiesRN KBabiesRN (New) New

KBabiesRN has <1 years experience .

925 Profile Views; 7 Posts

"Hello Fellow Nurses: I am an "old new grad" (May 2011) and I wanted to gather some further insight/advice with regards to my current situation: (please excuse the long post)

General Timeline of events:

  • June 2005 - Obtained my BS in Animal Science, with minor in Psychology
  • October 2006-March 2008: Worked as veterinary assistant
  • Aug 2008 - Dec 2009 : Took prerequisite courses needed to apply to nursing school
  • March 2009 - Sept 2009: Hospital volunteer on postpartum unit
  • June 2010 - Began accelerated BSN program
  • May 2011 - Earned my BSN degree
  • Sept 2011 - 1st attempt to pass NCLEX: unsuccessful
  • Sept 2012 - 2nd attempt to pass NCLEX: successful
  • Dec 2012 - got married
  • Jan 2013 - pregnant with 1st child
  • July 2013 - unexpected preterm delivery
  • July 2013 - current : stay at home mom to 3 amazing children

My passion for nursing began in 2008, when my grandmother became ill with various chronic ailments and needed daily assistance from family. My passion was further solidified in July 2013, when my son was born prematurely and spent almost 2 months in the NICU. Thankfully, he is now a healthy 5 year old boy without any complications. This experience guided my personal interests towards the areas L&D/NICU/Pediatrics.

I have been having difficulty trying to figure out how to write my cover letter and resume at this point with regards to what type of info I should include. I am now already 37 years old and unfortunately have zero nursing experience under my belt because I have been a full time stay at home mom to my 3 children (ages 1, 3, 5). Since I am an "old grad" with no experience, I need to figure out how to avoid having my application thrown into the "blackhole." In addition, my resume is not all that impressive. I do not have any recent work or volunteer experience either. I am currently in Northern CA, but am willing to relocate if necessary to jumpstart my career.

So, I wanted to ask for some insight/guidance from other fellow nurses:

  • What info should I include on my resume? (are my clinical rotations relevant anymore)?
  • What info could I include on my cover letter?
  • Should I apply to "new grad" programs at this point that I qualify for?
  • Should I try to volunteer somewhere? (Briefly looked into Rock Med & Rotacare)
  • Should I take a refresher course? (graduated May 2011)

I am trying to remain positive.

Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!"

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31 Posts; 889 Profile Views

Hello KBabiesRN,

I am in the same boat, however my situation is that I am 56 and have been a stay at home mom for the most part since the birth of my twins when I was 40! Unexpected to say the least and I had a 5 year old at the time as well. I did have a little Cna experience and brief volunteer at a local clinic but thats about it. I have 3 interviews next week and am getting nervous. I really need a job and I am wondering how I can stand out from the rest? I did put all my clinical rotations down but this experience was obtained within a 4 year time span. Good luck!

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KelRN215 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pedi.

1 Article; 7,344 Posts; 68,609 Profile Views

Most new grad postings I've seen specify that you must have graduated within the last 12 months to be eligible.

You may have to take a less desirable nursing position to start (think LTC or PDN) to gain experience. I also think a refresher course is necessary.

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113 Posts; 1,775 Profile Views

Hello there! I have attached an example for you: it's the cover letter template I used when entering the medical field as a CNA with no direct experience, but some "life experience". The bits in red were what I customized for each individual application. It's not a perfect cover letter, and looking back on it there are several thing's I'd fiddle with....but it does not have to be perfect: it just has to communicate enthusiasm and help tell your story.

First paragraph: Grab their attention. The last sentence is where you seek to make a connection with their values: maybe use a bit from their mission statement and connect it to yourself. For example, a NICU whose mission is to "support the optimal development of the infant" would be VERY relevant to your experiences, which which segues nicely into the next paragraph....

Second paragraph: Tell your story (briefly). Even a resume filled with accomplishments is lifeless and dull. This is your opportunity to explain your gaps in employment and focus on the positives of what you learned about yourself in the meantime. The first paragraph after your "timeline of events" is a great rough draft.

Third Paragraph: Hard focus on your strengths and why they should give you a chance.

It may very well be necessary to take some time getting certificates, taking a refresher course, doing volunteer work...doing anything you can to get some resume-padding material (and some pertinent experience) under your belt before you get an offer. But a good cover letter that explains your "OldNew grad" status (and communicates enthusiasm and commitment) will be essential either way.


Edited by Possum_RN

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40 Posts; 364 Profile Views

I would do PDN first for at least a year then try the hospital. I knew many new grads who do PDN first then they could finally secure a position in the hospital after one to two years. Good luck! 

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