Searching for a job in LTC; best strategy?? Advice please!

Specialties Geriatric


I'm a newly licensed RN and am shifting my job search from hospital positions to long term care, since I have been unsuccessful in finding a hospital job. I'm wondering if you could give me your opinions about the best way to apply for these.

Since most SNFs don't have a website with job postings, how should I approach the search:

1) Call ahead and ask to talk to the DON or whoever could give me info about hiring

2) Just walk in (ready to interview just in case) and ask to fill out an application (so that they would have it on file regardless of whether they are currently hiring). At this point, I would also leave my resume with the application.

What about following up? Should I call after a few days to ask about the status if I wasn't able to get that information directly while I was there? What do you think is the most effective strategy?

I'm thinking of having a professional-looking folder with me when I go into these facilities so I can leave it there with my application. What should I include in it besides my resume? I'm thinking a cover letter, copy of my RN license...what about references, copies of certifications...? Or should I keep it more basic and bring some of those things only if I'm interviewing?

Thank you all!!!

All sounds good. But don't think that jobs are just gonna be easier to find in LTC/SNF... most are filled by me. In my area many have now begun with the 1 yr. minimum deal too. Some want 2!!! and that to be acute care previous experience prior to going LTC. So. I say, bring everything you can imagine to bring. You can pull it out if requested, or if you begin to think it will help. Better than not having something they might request from you.

Advice: Set a limit on how long you are going to slog it. IF you don't have results by that day, try home health/hospice.

This is in no way saying these two are last resort!!!

I was hell bent on beginning as everyone had advised in an acute care environment first, then move to a specialty. That, is not happening. So, as others have done, I have to go for it. Who knows, maybe the economy will change at some point in a few years. Maybe I will do really well and feel confident enough to certify after a while. Meanwhile I have to pay the bills.

The best of luck to you!!

Buy fax machine, if you don't have one. Put resume on one page. Brief cover letter.

Print list of LTC providers, these are online, determine which are 15 minutes from home, then 30 minutes from home, then 45 minutes from home and an hour from home.

Use Google to figure out how many miles each place is from home.

Call each facility and ask for the name of the Don and thier fax number.

Week one do the closest, weeek two, the next closest, and so on.

This is a way to carefully cover all options.

LTC facilities respond really well to faxes.

Address each cover letter directly to each DON, most won't read through a two page resume.

How do I know this?

Jan 2010 became licensed as LPN.

Was working by March, 5 weeks later loking for work again, in May started my current job.

I'm in west Tn, accepted a job 45 minutes away in the next state.

This worked for me in my situation, as I am new to nursing and it's rough to get in the door with no experience.

Wishing you good success.

Specializes in Professional Development Specialist.

I did the second option as a new grad this last january. It didn't result in a job right away but it did work. I put on my best suit and stopped by to every nursing home within driving distance. The DON's kept my resume on file and when they were ready to hire they called the resumes they had on hand before placing an ad. We hired another nurse recently who had done the same thing. In my case the facility wasn't hiring (although when I asked they all said they were.) A few months later their census was up and they were hiring.

I went to the yellow pages of the phone book and tore out the pages that listed LTC facilities. I got all my employment paperwork together, then one by one, visited each one to fill out an application. I went dressed ready to interview. In most cases, I was interviewed on the spot and hired, or was given an appointment to come back for an interview. I didn't have to look very far until I got a job offer.

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health.

I'm the DNS of a SNF and I make the final decision on hiring any nurse. Here's how the latest people got hired:

1. Came to the facility to fill out an application, ready to interview with resumes and licenses in hand.

2. Called and asked if we were hiring and then--see #1.

Honestly, I usually don't have time to drop everything and interview someone on the spot, but you should at least be prepared in case you're asked to stay and interview.

I've hired new grads and experienced nurses to fill my last 3 positions. Why did one have an edge over another? They were professional in appearance and demeanor....didn't say 'like' 85 times in one paragraph (okay so it's a pet peeve of mine), had a wonderful looking resume...short on experience, but absolutely NO typos or grammatical errors, and they didn't ask for the sun and the stars and say they'd could 'only work days and no weekends' (yes, really, I've heard this more than once).

Thank you notes after an interview are a nice touch, but I usually go on my instincts. I've been doing this longer than many of my nurses have been alive so I know what to look for.

Don't make a pest of yourself, but don't give up, either.

Good luck.

I got my last jb by calling and asking the receptionist if they were hiring. She asked me what I was looking for and I answered, "I need a job." She chuckled and the DNS asked me to come in for an interview. Nights. It fot my foot in the door and a days/manager spot came open soon after.

If it helps, I wore a skirt, twin set, hose and pumps. Small earrings. Brought a resume. Listened more than I talked. When she said, "What I have open is nights" I answered, "That's fine."

I dressed up (ready to interview) and arrived in person to fill out an application. The ADON interviewed me and hired me on the spot.

I carried a professional looking folder which had resume's, my license, my certifications, and blank paper for notes.

Specializes in Home Care.

When you do interview stress that you can be counted on to show up for your shift. That's if of course you can be counted on to be there.

My DON finally hired a new nurse for a vacant weekend spot, the new nurse called off both Sat and Sun on her THIRD weekend.

Thank you all for your helpful suggestions and advice! It's reassuring to know I'm on the right track.

A couple of other questions:

1) If I'm leaving a folder with my resume, cover letter, etc. at a facility when I fill out the application, should I include a photocopy of my license? Some have said it's risky these days because of identity fraud.

---What about putting my license number on my resume? Unnecessary? Bad idea?

2) Someone mentioned addressing the cover letter to the DON. Even if I'm planning to just walk into a facility without calling first to see if they are hiring, I guess I will NEED to call first just to find out the name of the DON....right?? :p


Your license number can be looked up by name. It's a matter of public record.

UHS-Pruitt is one company that DOES post positions on its web does Ethica Care and Cypress. You can also reach sites like, and

Good luck

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