Well, it’s probably because you’re googling “how to get a nursing job” and following the advice you see. Lots of bullshit out there!
I’ll keep it real: I’ve been fired several times, so I’ve had to find a set of rules when hunting for jobs.
This is all you really need to know about how to get a nursing job.
1) Give up the story that getting another job will be hard.
When people consider the job hunt, they’re apt to create monstrous stories about how much of a hassle it’ll be. They think about customizing resumes, crafting cover letters, and preparing for tough interviews. Then they get discouraged because they create the story that job hunting is hard. They then give up and don’t even start the process. Then, they remain jobless. Their joblessness makes them believe the job hunt really is tough. This is the typical downward spiral.
The point is that we’re constantly engaging in self-talk, most of which is not true. Negative self-talk is especially pervasive when people have to apply for jobs. Personally, the self-talk that stopped me from applying to jobs was: “the application process is too tough. It’s too long. I’m better off just watching porn.” When your self-talk is so negative, you get discouraged from pressing on.
In reality, the job hunt could be either easy or hard. Either way, it is what it is: a hunt! So you’re better off giving up the story that it’s hard. Why make the hunt harder than it actually is?
The most important thing to remember about job hunting is that all you have to do is get started. A good way to get started is telling yourself that “this is easy.” When you start writing your first word, you’ll build momentum. You’ll reach a point where all you’ll want to do is submit the application.
2) When you find a job you’re interested in (by using indeed.com), copy and paste the job description onto your resume…literally.
I know this is a rule because I’ve violated it thousands of times. When people write resumes, they make the mistake of trying to be too cute. They include information on non-nursing jobs to show they can handle responsibility. They also include experiences with fraternities/sororities to highlight leadership skills. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be cute!
The way to avoid the trap is by copying and pasting the job description onto your resume. The point is to give the director exactly what he wants to hear. Don’t waste his time by talking about your fraternity bullshit! The entire point of the resume is to show that you are qualified for the position. What better way to show off your qualifications than to copy and paste the job description? Also, HR personnel use computer algorithms to scan resumes for key words. Your resume will pop onto their radars because it will literally have all the key words (pasted from the job description, of course).
Don’t try to be cute! Just give the director a resume that he’ll want to read.
3) Once you’ve submitted your resume/online application, immediately call/email the unit director.
90% of your job hunting gains will come from this one strategy.
Your goal here is to leave at least one email and one voicemail (assuming he doesn’t pick up) to the director. Since he is the one making the hiring decisions, you should go straight to him. You need to go straight to the king if you want something!
This was my personal ritual: after I submitted my job application, I’d send an email to myself reminding me to call/email the director the next day. I’d make it a point to call once in the morning and once at night.
The best time to call directors is from 3-5pm, which is when they’re done with their meetings. From 3-5 pm, most managers are are in their offices checking email.
That said, I have to warn you: don’t waste your time talking with charge nurses or secretaries in an attempt to curry favor. Don’t even bother trying to contact HR. These pawns have no power! All your attention needs to be focused on establishing contact with the decision maker.
In my experience, the best way to find the email/phone numbers of directors is to ask the hospital operator for such intel. This strategy has never failed me.
When you actually establish contact with the director, simply say what’s on your mind. Tell him/her you’re enthusiastic about the position and would love to open a conversation about it. An interview appointment will probably follow.
Remember, just by following step 3, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition. Most people simply leave their applications in the vast expanse of cyberspace. You, on the other hand, will actually reach out to the decision maker.
4) When you step into the interview, smile your ass off.
Your goal is to be as likable as possible in the first 90 seconds, since most managers decide if they like you within the first 90 seconds of meeting you. Your goal is to be as gay as a homosexual in a dildo factory.
Seriously, I’m not joking. You need to be literally smiling in the first 30 seconds of meeting the director.
For the actual execution of answering interview questions, I’ll point you to this site.
I’d also advise you stick your chest out. It’s certainly better than sitting with stooped shoulders. If you can’t stick your chest out, then simply mirror the body language of the director.
5) Send a thank you email after the interview.
This deserves its own number because of the sheer volume of people who forget to send follow-up emails! The value in sending a post-interview email is in addressing any concerns the interviewer had that you couldn’t address in the interview. It’s great to say thank you and all, but you should really take the follow-up email as a chance to tie up loose ends.
My second reason for loving point #5 is that if you’re competing against several candidates and one of them forgets to send a follow up email, you’ll likely get brownie points.
Let’s be real: you only have 5 minutes to lose when you write that email. Just do it! Your job offer could be on the line.
In total, the job hunt isn’t hard. If I had to give a one sentence summary on how to get a job, I’d say: “Apply to one job a day, using the copy and paste technique; then, contact the decision maker directly.” If you follow that advice, you’ll spontaneously receive interview invites. Once you show up, smile your ass off. The director will make his decision within the first 90 seconds!
Here are some miscellaneous tips:
-Never admit that you got fired. The people that tell you to always tell the truth are full of shit. Here’s my view: life is tough enough. Why would you make it tougher by building a case against yourself? The idea that you can spin a termination into something positive is complete bullshit. Do yourself a favor and never admit that you got fired. Most employers don’t reveal the reason of separation, so you should spin whatever story you want.
-Don’t worry about bringing in a portfolio. Remember what I said about trying to be too cute? Bringing a portfolio into an interview is an example of trying to be too cute.
-Gentlemen: always wear a suit with a tie. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen guys walk into interviews with scrubs on. These guys are basically screaming: “reject me! I am a straight up dumbass!”
-Toward the end, ask: “what exactly are you looking for in a nurse?” When the manager responds (and if he has any semblance of authenticity), he’ll probably say he wants a team player or someone that plans on sticking around. At this point, you need to respond to his statement, affirming that you can meet his every need. If this sounds inauthentic, it’s because it is. But at least you’ll get a job. Wait, do you think a manager really wants to hear you say: “I am a selfish guy who won’t help my coworkers. I also plan on leaving after 3 months!” Here’s the lesson: tell the manager what he wants to hear.
-When the interview is over, try to close on the manager by asking “are there any questions about my qualifications or any issues I can clarify now? I hope I can clear the air before you make a decision.” Not only will this statement impress the manager, but it will also spur him to ask any remaining questions, such as: “is this guy going to go on vacation right when I hire him?”
-If the manager is a woman, try to make her laugh in the first 90 seconds. I have pre-formulated jokes depending on the situation. My favorite joke is saying that I’m a certified genius. I’ve gotten smiles/laughs every time. The lesson here is that if you can make a woman laugh, she’ll bend over (literally and metaphorically). Oh by the way, bending over=giving you a job.
-I’ve been on at least 19 nursing interviews. Here’s the bare bones way to prepare for an interview: prepare mechanical responses to five questions you know the director will ask. That is to say, memorize your responses to the following questions:
a) Tell me about yourself.
b) How do you handle conflict?
c) Tell me about your last job.
d) Why should I hire you?
e) What do you do for fun?
My personal approach is to practice five responses/stories in front of a mirror until I can recite the stories cold.
–Show up an hour early. Leave yourself plenty of room for error when driving!
-Keep the contact info of the director in your phone in case you need to tell him you’ll be late (this piece of advice has saved me a couple of times).
-Never be scared to request some time before answering a question.
Getting a nursing job is easy. The tough part comes in remaining employed at that same nursing job. Coincidentally, I wrote about that aspect here.
Good luck! Give up the story that finding a job is hard. Then, it becomes easy.