In-Person Networking – You never know who has a job lead to share with you until you ask. Reaching out to everyone in your network can be a tremendous way to expand a job search. A friend may be on an email list that receives job notifications, a co-worker may see an ad in an industry publication, or an old school acquaintance may have a friend of a friend that is a manager looking to hire. Casually letting these people know that you are looking for a job can open up a world of new opportunities.
Leverage Social Media – Expand your network by utilizing LinkedIn. This site has exploded with nurses and other health care professionals over the past few years. As a result, employers and recruiters are using this tool more and more. As a candidate you can chose to actively seek out opportunities, or you can simply complete your profile and wait to hear from a facility or recruiter. If your goal is to find a job this way, be sure to post a comprehensive profile including certifications, extra training, and education levels. Join groups that are relevant to your field and then participate in conversations and ask if anyone else in the group knows of possible opportunities. Update your profile regularly if you plan to network this way, and begin connecting with other individuals in your field.
Be Persistent – If you don’t get a job the first time around, don’t give up. Try to learn from an experience, and don’t walk away from a relationship you may have created with a particular recruiter or facility. Hospitals are filled with thousands of jobs, and odds are there will be another opening in your area in the near future. Be sure to thank your interviewers for their time and, if appropriate, ask for feedback. Visit the company’s web site and then send an email or make a call to follow up. Depending on the company’s process, you may have already completed the initial HR screening and could be moved forward right away. For new graduates and entry level positions, it is not unusual for candidates to interview for multiple positions before being offered a job.
Attention to Detail – Your resume doesn’t need to be long, but it does need to be accurate. It is common sense, but it simply cannot be overstated that typos such as misspellings and incorrect grammar will discredit your resume. Read, re-read and then have some else read your resume for errors. Avoid common mistakes such as selecting the wrong use of a word (i.e. “there” and “their” or “weather” and “whether”) that spell checker will not catch, reusing the same cover letter but forgetting to change the name of the company or position, or putting an incorrect phone number or email address.
Ask Questions – Once you get an interview, be sure to take time to ask questions for yourself. Candidates who show a genuine interest in a company tend to stand out to interviewers. These are often the most passionate and influential employees in the long run. In addition, this gives you a chance to find out if this is really where you want to work. Never turn down an opportunity to ask questions and always go into an interview with questions prepared ahead of time. Ask about the culture of the unit, how expectations are established and how you are measured on them, and what types of skills are necessary for a nurse to succeed in this organization/unit.
Take an Interview Seriously – If you are taking the time to read this, then you are probably already serious about your job search. However, it cannot be stressed enough that candidates who show up a few minutes late, wearing scrubs, without a copy of their resume, and no questions to ask, are usually the first to be disqualified. Always know where you are heading for an interview, confirm the address if you are unsure, ask about parking, and leave yourself plenty of time for unforeseen circumstances. Dress professionally; if you are coming straight from work, notify the interviewer ahead of time, and ask if it is OK to wear scrubs. Always bring an extra copy of your resume. If possible, bring your nursing license and any applicable certifications. Practice a few interview questions ahead of time, think of questions to ask, use professional language, and never disparage a former boss or employer.
Searching for a job can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Being prepared for an interview is often the best step a candidate can take. Those who are professional, positive, and passionate in an interview are often at the top of the list.
Amanda Birkett is the Recruitment & Social Media Coordinator for eHospitalHire, a Colorado based recruiting firm that specializes in the permanent placement of healthcare professionals. She has several years of career development experience, including college admissions and hospital human resources. She directs the social media efforts for eHospitalHire, allowing eHH to conduct the most creative and effective candidate searches possible. Amanda holds a BS in Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration.