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2 year hunt for first nursing job, sucessful.

by Jessica14Lynne Jessica14Lynne (New) New

Let me start this thread by acknowledging how very close I was to giving up on nursing and going massively in debt to major in something else- due to the horrible time I had job hunting from when I graduated, passed NCLEX and received my license- to my first job offer.

Due to NJ's stellar speed at processing paperwork- I graduated with my ADN in May 2012, took NCLEX in late July 2012, and received my nursing license in mid October 2012. I got immediate rejection e-mails until I had a license number, so while I did apply between May-October it got me absolutely nowhere. Thinking this was my only barrier, I was naively hopeful.

From October 2012 to October 2013 I had been contacted by only 4 of the many positions (applied for about 3 a week) for which I applied. I interviewed for all four of these positions (two home care, one inpatient hospice, one med-surg) and by the end of the interview every time I was told that with no experience outside of school i was too risky to hire.

During this time I tweaked and rewrote my resume and cover letter, I paid out of pocket for an ACLS class to pad my resume and I networked through the college I was attending for my BSN for any leads on jobs that would hire me as a new graduate in Southern New Jersey.

So armed with my ACLS, the prospect of a BSN in that coming May, and determination I continued applying from October 2013-February 2014.

My first job offer came when a relative of mine mentioned a staffing agency always being short on nurses to ride on school buses with the special needs children in my county. I was put into contact with the manager on a Monday, got a call back Tuesday, oriented Wednesday, trained Thursday, and worked by myself on Friday.

It happened so fast I could barely believe it. I was officially employed as an RN. 20 hours a week, crappy pay, and not much more to the job than watching for seizures and hooking up feeding pumps. But I had landed my first job. And I was beyond proud. I had graduated my program 21 months prior, been licensed for 16 months.

It wasn't my dream job, far from it. But I knew that crossing that first hurdle of finding employment was a huge step. Since then I have graduated with my BSN. Having my BSN, some work experience, and ACLS has definitely "put me in a different pile" job-wise and I have landed 8 interviews in just the last 4 weeks. I recently accepted a hospital position on a stroke unit, for a significant pay increase and more hours- and much closer to what I want to be doing in nursing.

My reason for sharing is to offer encouragement. It took me so long to break through and get hired as a new grad, that I almost gave up many times. I worked for ages as a server with a nursing license and saved money to spend on making myself more desirable. Ultimately it came down to connections and luck that got me my first job. If you are meant to be a nurse, or feel a calling to this field do not give up. It will happen when its meant to.

Thank you for posting this. I hold out hope that it will not take me 2 years, but I am fully prepared to be patient (or try to be) if it does.

Congrats on your new job!


Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 45 years experience.

Success stories like yours lift all our spirits and the "how I did it" tips will be helpful, too. Thank you and congratulations!


Specializes in None yet..

Congratulations! So much to admire about you: You are persistent; you learn from your experience and look for ways to improve (old friend EBP?); you are realistic ("cross that first hurdle"); you are grateful.

Doing the happy dance that people like you are out there in the world!


HappyWife77, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology RN-BC and FNP MSN student. Has 21 years experience.

Thanks for sharing and congratulations!! :D


Specializes in Home Health, Palliative Care.

Conrgats! I really appreciate your tenacity & work ethic. We need more RNs (& people in general) like you! Welcome to the wonderful world of nursing.

This is my 19th years as an RN and honestly I enjoy it more and more. There have been many days I have gone home with aching feet, a few days I have gone home in tears (some happy, more sad!)and many many days I have gone home thinking I did my best and really made a difference in the lives of my patients and their families, but all in all I am so grateful to be an RN!

Edited by Britnursecalibound