You passed your tests, finished your clinical rotations, completed your required courses and have officially graduated with your nursing degree. Now your focus shifts to passing the State Board of Nursing exam. But what about your job search?
Many recent nursing graduates dedicate the majority of their time to studying and preparing for their testing. So much so that weeks or months can go by without thought to how they are actually going to land their first job and start their careers. The following tips are designed to help you with the transition from college to your career.
Develop Your Plan
Just as you had a curriculum plan as a student, you will want to develop a plan for getting your first position. Start by deciding how much time you can dedicate to your job search. Some experts suggest a minimum of one hour each day, however, your schedule might allow for two hours every other day. Depending on how you can set up your schedule, be sure to have a set amount of time dedicated solely to your search. You can also prioritize the actions in the following items to focus on each week.
Polish Your Brand
Your personal brand will define your reputation and the value you bring to an employer. Think about the brands of your favorite products and what separates them from the competition. Developing your personal brand is the same process. What image are you sharing about yourself in your resume or your online presence? Update your resume to target the nursing position or specialty you are seeking. Be sure it looks professional with no grammatical or spelling errors. Research yourself online and see what results appear. Whether it is your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile or your Twitter feed, all material should portray your positive brand. These are just a few examples of how your brand is marketed, you should also think about cover letters, portfolios and your personal appearance.
Keep Your Search Flexible
You might have the ideal job in mind for your first position. However, the employment market you are in might not provide opportunities. Be flexible with the first position you are pursuing. This means considering positions that are on the night shift, broadening your options by looking at healthcare facilities outside of hospitals such as long term care, expanding your commute radius or relocating to another city. Remember, your first position will be one step on your extensive career path.
Manage Your Connections
When you were a nursing student, you had contact with several people within the nursing profession like your professors, preceptor and clinical colleagues. Be sure to reach out to these connections and build your network. Through networking you can identify positions which might not be open to the general public. Other ways to expand your professional connections are by joining national nursing associations like the American Nurses Association or attending meetings of local or state chapters, plus the Chamberlain Alumni Association. In addition, career fairs and hospital expos or open houses are excellent opportunities to meet people in person and make positive impressions.
Continue Your Learning
While you may not be in classes anymore, your learning should be a lifelong commitment. Stay on top of new trends in nursing or in your specialty area by following targeted employers on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Check out options for continuing your education with the next level degree. You can also conduct informational interviews to learn more about a specific type of nursing position or employer.
Contact Your Chamberlain Career Advisor
If you’re a graduate of Chamberlain College of Nursing, you are encouraged to contact your Career Advisor. We offer a wide range of career services to assist students and alumni in preparing for careers in nursing. By building upon your education and working with the career services team, you can start now to prepare for your future. Areas addressed include assessing career goals; assisting with job search documents; helping to increase marketability; building networking and interviewing techniques and improving salary negotiation skills.
Additional assistance is provided through local and national job postings on the CareerCare site, which identifies currently available career opportunities.
Chamberlain students can access the CareerCare site through the Resources section of the Chamberlain student portal.
By Ryan Segovich
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