The standard number of job changes according to the experts is now set at eleven – and the numbers may be even higher in the nursing profession.
That means you’re going to have to get pretty darn good at landing not just that first nursing job after graduation, but also possibly a dozen or so after that! The good news is that the more often you go through the process, the more familiar it becomes and the more confident you become. And now is as good a time as any to start building your job-hunting (and landing) skills.
To help you start perfecting the process, we’ve assembled a go-to list of books that each cover a specific area of job-search skills, strategies, or tactics. Let’s jump in….
New Nurse? How to Get, Keep, and LOVE Your First Nursing Job. Caroline Porter Thomas, CreateSpace, 2013. 168p. ISBN 978-1484177525.
Although most of Thomas’s book is devoted to what happens after you land the job, the first two chapters provide solid tips on how to get the interview and then ace it. Thomas speaks from experience; part of her credibility comes from her story of the frustrations she initially encountered when searching for nursing jobs and her tactics for overcoming the familiar obstacles posed by indifferent HR staffers, unapproachable hiring managers, and other challenges of landing the job.
You’re Hired! A Nurse’s Guide to Success in Today’s Job Market. Brenda Brozek and Patricia McFarland, California Nursing Students Association, 2010. 127p. ISBN 978-1450738453.
Author Brozek was an experienced nurse and healthcare manager who shifted her focus to healthcare education, recruitment, and consulting. Her practitioner background shines through in this practical guide to landing a job in nursing, which provides tips on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, and follow-up. Although somewhat out of date, You’re Hired! remains a useful resource.
Knock ‘em Dead 2016: The Ultimate Job Search Guide. Martin Yates, Adams Media, 2016. 384 p. ISBN 978-1440588815.
Martin Yates has been writing about the job searching (and landing) process for nearly 30 years, and is a highly respected job-search expert. Job Search Guide is the most comprehensive of his works, covering job search basics, resumes, networking for job opportunities, interview basics (especially strong on handling interview questions), interview follow-up, and job offer negotiations. For more in-depth treatment of these topics, see also Yates’s Knock ‘em Dead Resumes: A Killer Resume Gets More Job Interviews! (2014), Knock ‘em Dead Job Interview: How to Turn Job Interviews into Job Offers (2012); and Knock ‘em Dead Cover Letters and Strategies to Get the Job You Want (2014).
The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster. Steve Dalton, Ten Speed Press, 2012. 240p. ISBN 978-1607741701.
There are two take-aways from The 2-Hour Job Search, both of which can be useful in and of themselves whether or not you use the author’s complete system. The first is that organizing and prioritizing your job search and targets will help you maximize the return on your job-search efforts. The second is that if it’s at all possible, you want to find individuals within your target employer’s organization who can advocate for you. With often hundreds of applicants for prime nursing jobs, having someone who can speak on your behalf (or even just move your resume to the top of the pile) will often be just the edge you need to land your job. Dalton provides a systematic approach for identifying or creating those advocates; as always, the bigger your network, the larger your pool of potential advocates.
Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies. Joshua Waldman, For Dummies, 2013. 384p. ISBN 978-1118678565.
Social media is an increasingly powerful tool when it comes to job searching. Whether for finding “invisible” job openings, helping you identify network contacts at potential employers, providing a platform for building your professional brand and visibility with recruiters, or any number of other helpful job-search activities, Waldman’s guide will help you make the most of the various social media platforms to land your nursing job. Not big on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or any of the other social media channels? Then you really need this book – these tools are increasingly important not only to finding a great job but also to growing your nursing career.
Resumes, cover letters, and interviews
Resumes that Stand Out: Tips for College Students and Recent Grads for Writing a Superior Resume and Securing an Interview. L. Xavier Cano, Chester Publishing, 2014. 184p. ISBN 978-0692224625.
One of the challenges nursing program grads sometimes have is that they’ve built up great knowledge and have cutting-edge skills from their coursework but sometimes not as much solid work experience to complement their education achievements. This book addresses that challenge with tips on how to create a resume that showcases your strengths, offsets a potential lack of work experience, and makes interviewers want to “take a chance” on you.
What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes: Write a Winning Resume and Cover Letter and Land Your Dream Job. Richard N. Bolles, Ten Speed Press, 2014. 112p. ISBN 978-1607746577.
By now the Parachute books by Bolles have essentially become their own cottage industry, covering all aspects of career planning, finding your best career options, and then pursuing your best employment. This book in the series focuses on the first two elements of landing that best employment opportunity: writing killer resumes and cover letters. Once you’ve mastered these areas, you’ll probably want to move on to Bolles’s What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Interviews: Ace the Interview and Land Your Dream Job (2014).
Resumes for Dummies. Laura DeCarlo, For Dummies, 2015. 360p. ISBN 978-1118982600.
This is one of the most current of the resume books, touching on digital applications, social media tools, mobile apps, and managing your online reputation as part of preparing an effective resume. (Think of this as creating your “resume strategy.”) One of the guide’s most useful aspects is its chapters on sample resumes for specific industries and career fields; experience levels and age; and special circumstances. A great starting point for assembling (and tailoring) your nursing resume.
The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Writing a Winning Resume. Lisa McGrimmon, CreateSpace, 2014. ISBN 978-1502429322.
Looking for a streamlined, easy-to-follow template? This is a great starting place for you. Based on her work with some 1,000 resumes and 2,000 job-seekers, McGrimmon first provides some background information about the three main types of resumes and when to deploy each. She then literally works through your resume items point by point, starting with contact information and ending with volunteer work. Looking for a book that will hold your hand through every resume-building step? This is your first choice.
Interviewing: 37 Ways to Have Unstoppable Confidence in Your Interview. Jack Gray, CreateSpace, 2015. 120p. ISBN 978-1511926485.
Most interviewing books are about preparation basics (this book covers those as well). However, Gray’s work is distinguished by a focus on what might be called the “inner game” of interviewing – that is, the mental and emotional approaches that improve your key asset of self-confidence. Visualize yourself walking into that upcoming interview relaxed, prepared, curious, and confident – how much more compelling would your presentation be?
Starting your job searching (and landing) process
Think about your job-search as a three-part process:
- Figuring out what type of job you might be interested in (check out “Nursing Jobs – What’s Best for YOU?“)
- Reading some relevant job descriptions on LinkedIn Jobs or other nursing job sites, such as Health eCareers, so you have a good sense of job requirements of your target jobs
- Finally honing those resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills with the above resources
Not only will this help you land your first nursing job after you graduate, but it’s also a repeatable, step-by-step process to help you ace each one of those dozen or so job changes…the ones that will help you build the nursing career you deserve.