4 Tips for Landing Your First Family Nurse Practitioner Job
Congratulations! You’ve submitted your final assignment in your Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program and are studying for finals. Graduation is in sight, and so are your hopes for landing your first new grad nurse practitioner (NP) job.
The path to finding a nursing job after graduation is easier when you’re prepared. And when you feel properly prepared for interview questions, you can then let your personality shine.
“One of the biggest factors is personality,” said Chamberlain graduate Tim Skalitzy, who recently landed a position as a cardiac FNP. “What I mean by that is, are you someone they want to work with? Do they think you will be a good fit in the team? Do you seem like someone they can teach?”
Below, find advice to help polish your resume and get you ready for your interviews.
Tips for Finding a Job as a New Nurse Practitioner Grad
Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression when you’re looking for new grad NP jobs. So how do you present yourself as the best candidate every step of the way?
1. Get Your Resume in Order
Your resume is often the first touch you will have with a potential employer as you work to find a nursing job after graduation. The Career Services team at Chamberlain recently shared some guiding principles for FNP resumes:
- Use keywords
Read the job description carefully. You’ll notice that it lists specific skills. Make sure to use those keywords in your resume and interview.
- Include a skills list
Perhaps you’re adept at the using video conferencing systems or have taken a course in effective communication - if you have a skill relevant to the position, make sure to list it.
- Use action words
If you want to get a job as a new nurse, you don’t want to just list your duties at a previous job. Tell the reader what you did (or do).
- Include a good amount of white space
Make sure your resume doesn’t include too much information – especially information that is not relevant to the position.
Get someone else to proofread your resume. You need a new set of eyes to make sure you’ve expressed yourself well – and dotted your i’s.
- Save to Word
Submit your resume as a Word document, instead of a PDF. Some applicant tracking systems have more trouble reading a PDF than a Word doc.
- Use the same resume
Tailor each resume to the job description for all new grad NP jobs, and keep each version of your resume in a different folder in your computer.
- Use a casual or fun email address
You may like the email address that uses your two dogs and their birthdates, but don’t use if for professional purposes. Create a new one for professional purposes.
- List just your job duties
As mentioned above, don’t just list what you did in your previous job - focus on what you accomplished there.
- List every job you ever had
If it’s not relevant, don’t list it.
- Include hobbies
Yes, your hobbies can tell us a little about you, but save that for the interview.
- Use a font that is below 10pts or above 12pts
2. Do your homework.
Once you’ve identified a new grad NPnp job position and secured an interview, remember that first impressions are key. It doesn’t take long for a hiring manager to make a decision. Around half of employers (51%) know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position, according to a nationwide survey conducted for CareerBuilder.
“The best solution to minimize pre-interview anxiety is solid preparation,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. “If you don’t read about the company and research your role thoroughly, you could magnify your fear of interviewing poorly and lose the opportunity.”
And if you’re looking for new grad nurse practitioner jobs, you need to use LinkedIn. Even if you haven’t created a page for yourself in LinkedIn, you can still use it to learn about an institution’s history, its people and available jobs.
For new grad nurse practitioner jobs, a panel interview with individuals from different areas of the organization is standard, according to tips from Melnic Consulting Group, a nationwide search firm focused on Advanced Practice placements for qualified Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and Physician Assistant (PA) candidates.
Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the names and roles of each interviewer. You can learn more about your interviewers in the “People” section of an institution’s LinkedIn page.
3. When it Comes to Interviews, Practice Makes Perfect
Finding a nursing job after graduation requires preparation. Many online employment sites feature potential interviewer questions specific to the position you are seeking. You can brush up for the interview by practicing your answers to these questions:
- Tell me about yourself and any hands-on experience you have had as a nursing student?
- What inspired you to become a nurse practitioner?
- Why are you interested in this particular position?
- What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?
A popular interview question for new grad nurse practitioner jobs is one where the interviewers ask you to describe a challenging situation you experienced in previous jobs and then explain how you handled it.
“In the four interviews I had, no one asked me any practice specific questions,” Skalitzy said. “I also asked my wife, who is a nurse practitioner and owns her own practice, and she said not to expect any of those. The common patient question seems to be explaining a difficult situation, how you handled it and the end result.”
One way to prepare for a question like this is to use the SOAR method. This acronym stands for the four things you should think carefully about before your interview.
- Situation – the “title” of your story: what exactly happened?
- Obstacle – what made this situation particularly difficult?
- Action – what did you do to overcome the obstacle?
- Result – once you overcame the obstacle, what positive outcome were you able to achieve?
What’s even better about SOAR is that as you think through the four components, you’ll be creating a story you can tell during the interview. An interesting story can really set you apart from other interviewees.
For example, suppose you answer this “describe a challenging situation” question with a story about how you handled a patient who fell out of a treehouse and broke her arm. The obstacle was that the break was an open fracture and the patient was allergic to the medication you wanted to give her. You explain how you resolved the problem. Later on, when the interviewers are talking, someone will say, “Oh yes – she was the one who talked about the treehouse.” Their other memories about your confidence, your personality and how ably you handled that situation will also come to mind.
4. Follow Up
At the end of the interview, be sure to express your appreciation and continued interest. Also, highlight one or two reasons why you are the ideal family nurse practitioner for the position. After you leave, write a thank you note to each interviewer and send it within two days of your meeting. This will help you make a lasting positive impression.
Getting a job as a new nurse practitioner is within your reach when you prepare in this way and approach your search with confidence.
Learn more about Chamberlain’s MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track.