Every year, new nursing professionals graduate and make the transition into their chosen field. In their minds, they have big dreams of making a difference in the world. They expect to find a job that allows them to make that difference. Some new nursing professionals will hit their sweet spot and find a great career right out of school. Others may work for a period before discovering the facet of their profession they find most appealing.
Through classes, the interview process, advanced education and certifications, and hands-on professional experience, each nursing professional can find a path to a rewarding lifelong professional career. Here, we will discuss preparing for the first exciting and critical steps of a career as a professional nurse.
Know Your Goals
Knowing your career goals can help you target your job search and tailor your responses to the specific interview questions, giving you a better chance of landing your ideal job. Target employers that offer exposure to the facets of profession you most want to work. If you are “undeclared”, look for organizations with a variety of nursing positions, this will give you a chance to figure out your goals while on the job.
Create a “wish list” of employers and make contacting them for interviews a priority. Once you contact them your next step is learning how to sell yourself. Start by making a list of your strengths, prepare to recite them on demand. If you have a master’s degree or plan to return to school to earn an advanced degree, share this with your interviewer. If you have relevant leadership experience in prior jobs or volunteer work, mention it as well. To really impress a potential employer, tailor each of your strengths to show how they will meet the their specific needs.
Ace the Interview
Your next step, once you have done your “homework” on your prospective employers and yourself, is to prepare to ace the interview. All of the preparation in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you get tongue-tied in high stress situations. So practice interviewing with a friend beforehand, until you feel comfortable with the interview format. You can find lists of potential interview questions online to practice with. If you have graduated from a nursing master programs that offers career counseling, use these services to prepare as well.
Also, plan what you are going to wear, and make sure you feel comfortable moving in it. Be sure to dress for the occasion – if you have tattoos or purple hair, for instance, do your best to play those down to avoid distracting the interviewer from your qualifications.
Finally, prepare a list of questions to ask the employer about the job you are applying for. While it is best to steer clear of salary and benefits-type questions until you have received an actual offer, asking about training and advancement, the composition of the department you will work in, advice the interviewer has for you and more are all valid questions. They will show you are motivated, trainable and willing to be a team player.
If you follow this process, you will have the best chance of landing a new job in nursing on your very first interview.
Author Bio: Marguerite Cancho had never been more excited than on the day she finally graduated with her Master’s Degree in Nursing and mildly recalls her first interviews. After working as a clinical nurse for the last 15 years, she decided to go back to school and is now currently pursuing her masters in curriculum and instruction.