When seeking a new nursing position, we take a lot of time to create a perfect resume, but is this enough? Let's confront the brutal facts before we tackle how to structure a successful nursing job application strategy.
Applying for anything and everything won’t yield eventual success. So, be choosy and always focus on your strengths and experience. If you are not a strong candidate for the position right from the start, you won't "become one" over time, nor will they "find a spot for you" down the road, as some employers lead you to believe. This is especially true for new nurses and all those who are “open” to new possibilities.
Not all resumes meet the requirements of the job. Nurse Recruiters and HR Directors routinely estimate that about half of all resumes submitted for a particular nursing position don't even come close to meeting the requirements of the job and are immediately discounted and discarded. Odds are good that your nursing resume falls in to this category. Even if you believe you are perfectly suited for the nursing position in question, your resume may not convey that idea to them at all. So, don’t assume it will.
Only the best of the best are chosen. In the current job market, employers have the upper hand and the privilege of selecting from only the very, very best candidates, which goes back to reinforce the fact that, while it seems counter-intuitive, HR says over and over that it is difficult to find qualified candidates these days, which brings us to our next point.
During every interaction with the potential employer, you must demonstrate consistently how and why you are their best candidate for the position. From paper to phone interviews you must respond appropriately and prove to them that choosing you would be their best decision. It’s a sales game and the product is you!
Searching for the best nursing jobs takes a lot of time and energy. Being successful means you have to work strategically, consistently and constructively over time and not take any shortcuts. Just filling out the odd application won’t get the job done. Reach out both personally and professionally and always customize your resume to the job you are applying for.
How do you create an Outstanding Job Application?
Don’t send out generic, universal resumes. This is the fastest way to be discounted by a potential employer. Make sure your resume aligns perfectly with the job posting.
Watch for typos and always use spell check. Spelling errors are very common on resumes. This is by far the easiest way to be discounted.
Check your attitude at the door. Any sign of arrogance, desperation, cynicism or anger can be evident, it can be difficult to hide those feelings, but if they show, you’re done.
Don’t just list what you can do. Showcase your skills in ways that demonstrate the impact you’ve made in your nursing roles. Demonstrate how well you serve as a nurse. Your content should be highly relevant to the position in question. Include what you can do to benefit their company and how you would go about doing it.
Acknowledge what you know about their healthcare organization. If you don’t know anything about them, then get on Google and learn about them. Find out what their mission statement is and get a feel for their company before you apply. Articulate three reasons why you want to work there without sounding selfish. Is it their patient-oriented culture? Regional impact? State of the art facilities? Do they specialize in care services that are important to you, personally and professionally? Be clear about "what" and "why".
Always follow up by phone or email once you have applied. Yes, HR needs you to apply online because they need your information in their database as connected to a particular job of interest, but always check the status of your application by phone or email because this keeps your information fresh in their minds.
Questions to consider: To what extent have your nursing job application materials been positively received? Are your application materials resulting in interviews? How often?