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RN with no work experience

Nurses   (545 Views 4 Comments)
by NJSassyCat NJSassyCat (Member)

NJSassyCat works as a pre nursing student.

2 Likes; 1,596 Visitors; 25 Posts

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Hi everyone! 

I just graduated last June from nursing school and passed by NCLEX in September and after some time off due to family emergencies, I am finally applying to some jobs in NJ. My problem is that I have no work experience and I'm a bit scared to start applying to some jobs and then get rejected. It seems all employers are looking for job experience. I did ask two of my clinical instructors to write me a letter of recommendation. Should I send it along with my resume and will these letters help? 

Thank you everyone. 

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Damion Jenkins is a MSN, RN and works as a Nurse Education Consultant, Tutor and Writer.

52 Likes; 5 Followers; 15 Articles; 4,458 Visitors; 66 Posts

Good evening NJSassyCat - and CONGRATULATIONS! We are so very happy to have you! 

Firstly, don't be scared. We all need to gain real-world experience once we graduate and pass the NCLEX. Although previous work experience is a plus for any employer, many nurse graduates (especially from BSN programs) do not have any work experience either. 

Letters of recommendation from your professors and instructors are a HUGE help for your situation. A prospective employer will want to get a good understanding of your strengths, skill set, and personality traits. They are looking for key terms such as: 

  • Compassionate
  • Safe and Effective Patient Care
  • Teamwork 
  • Takes initiative
  • Seeks Clarification when warranted
  • Perfect Attendance
  • Always Prepared to Complete Assignments
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Goes above and beyond daily duties
  • Critical Thinker
  • Innovative Projects/Awards
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Good GPA
  • Volunteer Service
  • Professional Nursing Memberships

Having your letters of recommendation and resume cross reference many of the above listed terms would help for your application to get noticed among the hundreds of others. 

Remember that you must tailor your resume and cover letter to make it past the automatic screening bots that search for key terms such as the ones listed above. If you could have your letters of reference reflect your cover letter and resume, your chances for having a real human review your application will be increased greatly.

So don't be scared. I recommend sending your application, cover letter and resume to EVERY SINGLE FACILITY in the area in which you want to work. Nursing Homes, Hospitals, etc. I started in a LTC facility and learned A LOT! Once I got to an acute care hospital three years later, I was running circles around those other nurses! Although I had food and hospitality experience prior to becoming a nurse (which actually helps a great deal), I've worked with plenty AMAZING nurses who started their careers much like you - straight out of school with little to no work history. 

You can do it! Good luck, and welcome to nursing!

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NJSassyCat works as a pre nursing student.

2 Likes; 1,596 Visitors; 25 Posts

On 1/28/2019 at 7:32 PM, Damion Jenkins said:

Good evening NJSassyCat - and CONGRATULATIONS! We are so very happy to have you! 

Firstly, don't be scared. We all need to gain real-world experience once we graduate and pass the NCLEX. Although previous work experience is a plus for any employer, many nurse graduates (especially from BSN programs) do not have any work experience either. 

Letters of recommendation from your professors and instructors are a HUGE help for your situation. A prospective employer will want to get a good understanding of your strengths, skill set, and personality traits. They are looking for key terms such as: 

  • Compassionate
  • Safe and Effective Patient Care
  • Teamwork 
  • Takes initiative
  • Seeks Clarification when warranted
  • Perfect Attendance
  • Always Prepared to Complete Assignments
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Goes above and beyond daily duties
  • Critical Thinker
  • Innovative Projects/Awards
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Good GPA
  • Volunteer Service
  • Professional Nursing Memberships

Having your letters of recommendation and resume cross reference many of the above listed terms would help for your application to get noticed among the hundreds of others. 

Remember that you must tailor your resume and cover letter to make it past the automatic screening bots that search for key terms such as the ones listed above. If you could have your letters of reference reflect your cover letter and resume, your chances for having a real human review your application will be increased greatly.

So don't be scared. I recommend sending your application, cover letter and resume to EVERY SINGLE FACILITY in the area in which you want to work. Nursing Homes, Hospitals, etc. I started in a LTC facility and learned A LOT! Once I got to an acute care hospital three years later, I was running circles around those other nurses! Although I had food and hospitality experience prior to becoming a nurse (which actually helps a great deal), I've worked with plenty AMAZING nurses who started their careers much like you - straight out of school with little to no work history. 

You can do it! Good luck, and welcome to nursing!

Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂 This honestly helped me so much! 

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77 Likes; 9,194 Visitors; 1,371 Posts

NJSassyCat - you received good advice above. I'd also recommend applying specifically to nurse residency programs for new grads. Because these jobs are targeting new grads they are more likely to be a little open to less/no work experience than some other positions and may weight clinical experience and instructor recommendations more highly.  If you have relevant volunteer or life experience don't be afraid to sell that as well if it shows your fit for the position.

Also reach out to those you know and let them know you are looking for work  - use your network of instructors, classmates, friends, etc - networking helps land connections, interviews, and jobs - even for those with experience.

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