Wondering why you can't get hired or promoted? Resume + Interview hints!

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by NRSKarenRN NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN (Guide)

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience.

I've been reviewing resumes for open positions in my department and can't believe the resumes I've received: misspelling, words crossed off, no cover letter, including personal information about family life.

How can I prepare myself for first nursing job interview?

Wondering why you can't get hired or promoted? Resume + Interview hints!

Look at your resume!!! Please don't send a resume if you have none of the job qualifications, unless your cover letter has explanation. eg. enrolled in education program etc.

I was taught in LPN and BSN program how to prepare a resume. Is this a lost art being skipped??

Also agree with our BB members that calling facility and finding out who is department manager, then forwarding your resume to them along with hr is great idea.

I work in smaller organization than hospital but has taken me over two months to get open positions advertised and three weeks to get resumes sent to me...those that sent to me directly have interview same week.

Resume Writing References

Resume Tips: Perfecting Nursing Resume, Cover Letter, Online Job Applications
Good Writing Skills Are Essential

Get the Job!

Getting Your Desired Position 101
One Strategy To Land a Nursing Job: The End Around
How To Get a Job As a New Grad Nurse
How I Got My Dream Job!
I got a job!!!! BOO-YOW!

3rd-Party Resume Tips & Cover Letters

Job Interview Questions

Questions Interviewer Shouldn't Ask

Questions during the job interview should be related to the job you are inquiring about. The following questions is illegal to ask during a job interview here in the U.S.:

  • Your personal life (married, divorced, children)
  • Pregnancy
  • Provision for child care
  • Religion
  • Club Memberships
  • Dependents
  • Ethnic background
  • Native Language
  • Physical Problems
  • Psychiatric Problems
  • Spouse's Employment
  • Credit Rating
  • Home Ownership

Questions You Should Ask (From Hospital Soup)

Quote
  • How long is the orientation phase and what can I expect?
  • If for any reason it seems that orientation is just not going well for me what will happen and who should I talk to about it?
  • Will I work with one preceptor throughout or will I have several different preceptors?
  • Who will be precepting me? Can you tell me something about them? Will I always have the same preceptor or will there be more than one?
  • What kind of professional advancement is available to nurses here?
  • What are some of the attributes of working for your hospital?
  • If I were to get a job offer from another hospital, why would I want to work for this one?
  • What is the criterion you will use to select the person you are looking for?
  • What kind of support can I expect from the nursing educators and preceptors?
  • What unique challenges has this unit faced over the last year? (i.e. successes, failures, etc.)
  • How much independence do nurses have in being creative problem-solvers?

Resigning From A Position

Check your facilities policy and procedures--most require that you give notice equal to amount of vacation provided, often 2-3 weeks; long term employed RNs can be 4-5 weeks.

Managers often need 1-3 months notice to be eligible for rehire --don't burn your bridges.

Resign from a healthcare job the right way

Books

Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job: The ultimate guide to landing your first nursing job...and your nexT!

How to Become a Nurse: The Exact Roadmap That Will Lead You to a Fulfilling Career in Nursing! (Registered Nurse RN, Licensed Practical Nurse LPN, ... CNA, Job Hunting, Career Guide

How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions

Cover Letters: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful Cover Letter (employers, targeting, creating, questions, resume, job hired, dead, winning, application, interview, career)

Patient and Nursing advocate offering advice and support to Allnurses nursing community.

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187 Comment(s)

VickyRN, MSN, DNP, RN

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience. 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Thanks, Karen! Excellent resources!

We have one faculty member (not a part of our nursing school, but a part of our community college faculty) whose specialty is writing resumes and cover letters, and any other qualifications that students need on interviews to get the job! She even has a nice little notebook she has prepared that goes over all aspects of job hunting (how to dress, what questions to anticipate on an interview, etc.). The mission statement for our community college is - equipping local residents (who are unemployed or underemployed) with marketable job skills so they can go to work!

Jolie

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 36 years experience. 6,375 Posts

Karen,

Could you make a "sticky" of your resume and cover letter sources? Thanks!

Great post! Thank you Karen.

I also had resume writing in LPN (14 years ago) and BSN school. In fact, it was a required assignment to hand in a completed one, just last semester in my 'professional leadership in nursing' class.

Good advice about finding out who the manager is and forwarding the resume directly to them.

And it never hurts to send a thank you note after the interview. :)

Antikigirl

Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience. 2,595 Posts

Yes! The thank you letter seems to be a dying art as well, but my bosses admitted to me that it was the cover letter, resume, additional contact list (separate), letters of recomendation, and thank you letter that got me the job! I was worried that I was sending in TOO much info, but no I was sending in a very good reflection of myself!

I bring that thank you card with me to my interviews, make sure I get the names correctly, and put it in the mailbox on my way home from the interview! Nothing fancy...I just got those nice white with gold letter thank you cards from an Office supply store. They are simple and classy! I always bring up one thing positive said to remind them it was a positive interview (or at least leave with that note :) ).

Thanks Karen-

I had a class on resume writing and interviews in college also. However, it always helps to brush up. I'm interviewing for two positions this week. I appreciate the interview tips & links. I haven't interviewed in a few years, so this post is very timely! :)

Jami RN

Jami RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac, Step-Down, Psych, Recruiting. Has 13 years experience. 94 Posts

As a hospital nurse recruiter, I couldn't agree with you more, Karen! I would also add:

Follow all of the instructions and fill out your application completely. If a company instructs you to fill out an electronic application, please do so -- many hospitals have moved to a paperless hiring system. If you insist on filling out a paper application, you will be seriously disadvantaged.

Do not let the first questions you ask be: "How much is your sign on, relocation, hourly wage, differentials, etc." The nursing shortage is not as severe in some parts of the country as others. If money is the only reason you are considering a position, some hospitals won't want you. Hiring and retaining the right employees is becoming more important than just hiring as many nurses as possible. The same goes for a generally entitled attitude -- you will make yourself look bad if you make multiple demands early in the hiring process. Save these questions for after you have interviewed or at least until you've been offered an interview.

Be polite to everyone that you come into contact with. I've tossed applications because the applicant was rude to our HR receptionist!

Do not show up to talk to a recruiter or for your interview in sweats, jeans, halter tops, with dirty hair, with 4 kids in tow, accompanied by your mom and boyfriend, etc.

You would think all of these things would be common sense -- but they're not! I see them all every day. Many nurses have developed a very entitled, rude, and demanding attitude because of the nursing shortage. I never cease to be amazed at the way some people go about their Job Search!

llg

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

As someone who has read a lot lot of resumes, applications, etc. and done lots of interviews ... I wholeheartedly agree with the previous posts in this thread. In fact, as coordinator of a nursing student extern program, I have decided to emphasize job hunting, career planning, and employee skills in our extern classes as opposed to offering a lot of physiology and nursing care classes. The applicants who "do it right" really stand out from those who don't know how to make a positive impression on a potential employer.

Here is another tip for resumes:

Do NOT pad your resume or try to make school experiences look like employee experiences. I've seen a lot of that -- and it makes a very bad impression. It makes me think the applicant is sneaky, someone I can't completely trust. No one wants to hire a person they can't trust.

llg

Quickbeam

Quickbeam, BSN, RN

Specializes in Government. 1,011 Posts

WORD to all those looking for professional resumes. I did hire/fire as an RN case management supervisor for years and the resumes I'd get, Oy! Juvenile fonts, duckies, pictures of their kids and kittens....that stuff has no place on a professional resume. Save it for the Christmas letter. Really.

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,957 Posts

This is a great thread, thanks. I did receive training on resume and cover-letter writing in my ADN program, thankfully. It was covered in the last weeks of our final semester. A plus for me was, being in the military, I did get the practice for writing resumes, as we had to often submit our own awards packages. And letter-writing was a huge part of my responsibilities in the Air Force, as well. I got really good at it!

But I think ALL nursing programs need to address this very important issue, not just here and there. I thank you for posting this thread-----we all, myself included----could stand to learn a few tricks and brush up our skills. Very informative.

And I do agree, a sticky would be a good idea, here or in the nursing career threads!

llg

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

SmilingBluEyes said:
This is a great thread, thanks. I did receive training on resume and cover-letter writing in my ADN program, thankfully. It was covered in the last weeks of our final semester. !

I find it significant that most schools that include any of this content do so in the final weeks of the final semester. By then, it is too late for most people. Most students already have their jobs lined up by then.

Not that the problem is exclusive to new grads. I think it is even worse among experienced nurses, many of whom think they don't have to try anymore because they have experience. The thread could just as easily be titled, "Ever wonder why you can't get that promotion?"

llg