In April 2020, more than 1.4 million healthcare workers were laid off or furloughed. Many of these workers were nurses, and although the jobless rate has decreased slightly since the spring, thousands of men and women are still out of work.
If you’re struggling to land a new position, it’s easy to get discouraged. But not all hope is lost. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that more than 500,000 registered nurses will retire by 2022. As a result, industry experts are bracing for a new wave of the ongoing nursing shortage.
A nationwide nurse shortage will continue to present challenges, but it’s also an opportunity for individuals looking to advance their careers. It’s important to plan a strategic nursing job search.
Here are five important job search tips for nurses:
1. Research the job market. Do you want a job where you currently live or are you willing to relocate? Is there a particular medical facility you'd like to apply at? Knowing the answers to these and other questions can help you focus your research. Plus, the more you know about a potential employer, the easier it is to tailor your resume and cover letter to the position.
If you’re unable to find these details online, consider reaching out to your former colleagues or peers from nursing school. These connections are invaluable and may be able to provide you with behind-the-scenes insights you might not acquire elsewhere.
2. Make sure you’re qualified. If you’re looking to find a job, it’s easy to apply for anything with “nurse” or “nursing” in the title. However, you should carefully read the job description and listed duties. The positions that you apply for should match your training and expertise. If they don’t, keep searching.
3. Polish your resume. The first piece of documentation that a potential employer sees is your resume. Recruiters look at resumes for an average of six seconds, so it’s critical you make a good first impression. To do this, make sure all of your personal information, including your name and nursing credentials are listed at the very top of the page.
In addition, use headers, sub-heads, and numbered lists to make your resume more digestible. Don’t submit the same resume for every application. Every nursing role is unique. When reading the job description, see which skills are most important. Then use this information to highlight your relevant training and work experience.
4. Update your LinkedIn profile. Did you know that 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn regularly? If you’re not already on the platform, it’s time to set up a profile. If you are creating a LinkedIn profile, take the time to fill out your profile in full. Like Google, LinkedIn uses algorithms to boost profiles and encourage interaction. If your profile isn’t complete, it’s easier to lose ground to your competition.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do any guesswork. LinkedIn has a built-in Profile Strength Meter. This tool can evaluate your profile in just a few clicks. If the Profile Strength Meter discovers any weaknesses, it makes recommendations that can help increase your visibility as well as the frequency at which you show up in search results.
5. Apply, apply, and apply again. Job hunting is a numbers game. Your professional experience and education can help you stand out. If you find a position that’s right up your alley, make sure to apply but continue to actively search. The more applications you fill out and submit, the greater your chance of receiving a call back.
Some candidates worry about what they’ll do if they land multiple interviews. Don’t even think about that, especially while you’re in the trenches. A job search is a fluid, constantly evolving process that isn’t finished until you’ve completed and signed your new hire paperwork.
If you’re trying to land your next nursing job, you’ve come to the right place. At NursingJobCafe we have more than 44,000 different job listings for all types of nurses, including nurse practitioners, CRNAs, midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and nursing administrators.
Chad Birt is a freelance B2B and B2C medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.