How to Land a New Grad Position in a Tough Market

How to Land a New Grad Position in a Tough Market

As graduation season quickly approaches, it’s time to start focusing on that first job.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult for new graduate nurses to find a job in some areas of the country.  New nurses can increase their chances of gainful employment after graduation by employing a few key tips.

Start the Job Search Early

If you’re a nursing student reading this blog and haven’t started your job hunt yet, do so NOW! It’s too tight of a market for new graduates to wait until they graduate to find a job. Start applying to jobs and externships a few months before graduation before slots fill up.


If you have already applied to a few jobs and haven’t heard anything back from HR don’t be afraid to call to check on the status of your application. Some may worry about upsetting the recruiter, but I’ve done this on numerous occasions to my benefit. The worse that could happen is they tell you they are pursuing other applicants. This is actually a good thing. You don’t want to be left wondering if HR doesn’t call back to let you know you weren’t a good candidate for the job. 

Network, Network, Network

Tell anybody and everybody you come in contact with that you are a nursing student on the verge of graduating…even if they don’t directly work in health care. You never know who is married to whom, or who has a brother/sister/mother who is in the field. If you know someone personally who works at a facility that can forward your resume to a key person, even better! Use networking to your advantage.

Don’t Be Too Picky

Many nursing students have a goal of landing their “dream job” immediately after graduation. Typically these areas are the ICU, ER, NICU and Pedi positions. I just want to be honest…these positions are hard to get as a new graduate because they are flooded with applications from hundreds of other new grads.

Keep your options open and make a short list of at least 3 areas you could see yourself working. I wanted to work Mother/Baby when I was in school until I did my clinical rotation and found it wasn’t for me. From there I thought ER would be best for me. When I graduated there were no ER positions open so I took a job in Neuro ICU. Looking back on my 9-year tenure in ICU, I can’t say I ever wanted to work ER after becoming a seasoned ICU nurse.

Be Open to Relocation or Commuting

I know this may be a difficult pill to swallow for some, but it’s not practical to think you’ll get a job at the sole hospital in town. Relocation or a longer commute may be necessary. With experience your chances of getting into the hospital of your choice may be easier.

In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at for more ideas to reinvent your career.

Resume Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Resume Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Last week we reviewed key aspects recruiters look for in a resume.  This week we will focus on what recruiters don’t want to see on a resume and how to avoid getting your resume tossed in the trash.

I’ve had a few resume revamps over the years to reflect my evolving career as a nurse pursuing higher education or seeking out a new position. Over the years I’ve added sections, deleted sections and moved things around, but it was all built upon my original resume written years ago.

Each time I completed a resume revamp, I researched the latest in resume etiquette and found that a few aspects popular when I first started my resume are now considered a no-no, but I still see some people making the same outdated mistakes that may get their resume tossed in the trash before even getting to the hiring manager’s desk.

Here are a few resume don’ts to keep in mind for your revamp:

1. GPA. No one has ever asked me my GPA when interviewing me for a job.  Honestly employers really only care that you have a degree and experience for the job you’re applying.

2. Nursing License number. Placing your license number on your resume is unnecessary and an easy steal for identity thieves. Employers can look up your professional license number on your state’s BON.

3. References available on request. This is a statement that goes without saying and wastes valuable space on your resume. Leave it out and provide references when asked.

4. Photo. Unless you’re applying for a modeling or acting position, a photo is a no-no for your resume.

5. Unprofessional email address. Don’t apply for a job with an email address like [email protected] or [email protected]. This is unprofessional and an employer is likely to trash your otherwise stellar resume because of something like this. Set-up a new email account for job-hunting if you just so happen to have one of these cutesy email addresses.

6. Not tailoring to a specific job. Each resume you send out should be tailored to the specific job you apply for. This means adding specific keywords (see last post) for each job and changing your objectives section.

7. High school. High school education should be left out if you are not a new grad who completed nursing school right after graduating high school. Employers don’t really care about high school education if you’ve completed a college degree.

8. Hobbies. I have to admit, at one point in time I did include my hobbies and interests on my resume. This information is a bit too personal to include on a resume. What if you love the NFL team your interviewer hates? Or your political preferences don’t align with the interviewer? This is a no-win situation. Leave this section out of your resume.

9. Typos. Proofreading your resume for mistakes before submitting to an employer is critical. First impressions are important and nothing turns off hiring managers more than spotting typos in a resume. Typos make even the most qualified candidate for the job look unprofessional

10. Lie. This is a biggie. Lies on your resume is a no-no. This includes embellishing your title, education or work experience. Don’t leave out dates of employment; this is a red flag for employers who may think you are hiding something.

What other resume no-no’s have you seen? Leave a comment so we can talk about it! 

In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at


Revamp Your Resume for Maximal Results

Revamp Your Resume for Maximal Results

As the year comes to an end many people start to evaluate their goals for the upcoming New Year. Typical resolutions like losing weight, saving money, and trying a new hobby prevail, but what if your resolution is to find a new career?

When one applies to a new job they usually submit a resume. As an applicant, you want to put your best foot forward. What may have worked for you 5 years ago may not work for the competitive job market now. A resume revamp is in order if you plan on changing specialties, the content is outdated, or you are a recent graduate.

My recent graduation from a Family Nurse Practitioner program prompted the need for a resume revamp. As a nurse with over 12 years of experience my resume was nearly 4 pages long and it didn’t embody all the qualities recruiters look for in an applicant.

What qualities do recruiters look for in a resume?

Four key aspects:

  • Concise: Keep it to 1-page; 2 if you have extensive experience. Obviously my old resume wasn’t concise. I’m surprised I’ve gotten so much attention in the past with a resume that long. We’ll see how much of a response I get from a 1-page resume.
  • Clear: Make sure your resume format isn’t cluttered and hard for a recruiter to read. If it is, it will surely be tossed in the trash no matter how qualified you are for the job. Also be on the look out for poor grammar and typos. This is another reason good applicants get overlooked for a job.
  • Consistent: Keep abbreviations contained within your resume consistent and make sure they are universally understood. Keep all fonts within the resume the same and no smaller than 11 point for easy readability.
  • Keywords: Many resumes submitted online go through a scanner, weeding those out that don’t have specific keywords for the position. This means your resume gets lost in cyber world before any human could lay eyes on it. Keyword examples for a nursing resume include: Registered Nurse (RN); health care; intensive care; admit; medication administration.

Use these tips to revamp your resume for maximal results…your new career in the New Year! Stay tuned for next week’s installment reviewing the most common resume mistakes people make.

In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at