8 Tips for Landing a Great Nursing Job

8 Tips for Landing a Great Nursing JobSeek the best match

Match your skills, experiences, and values with the agency’s philosophy/mission statement.  Carefully read the job description.  Seek advice from a current employee (if you know one).

Write a professional cover letter

Write a one page cover letter containing 3-4 well-stated paragraphs summarizing your strengths.  Be sure to match your strengths with the requirements stated in the job specifications.

Design a resume

Create a resume that’s concise and easy to read.  Make sure to maintain currency.  Focus on knowledge, skills and accomplishments that support the job description.

Create a portfolio

You should include performance evaluations, licensures and certifications, accomplished projects, and publications.  Whether hard copy or electronic, it must be well organized and indexed.

Build a reference list

You want 3-5 key people who can provide information about your knowledge, skills and abilities.  On your reference list, include their full name, title, and contact information.  Be sure to ask for permission before listing them.

Prepare for the interview

  • Have questions prepared for the scheduler such as: “What’s the typical interview duration?”  “Will a tour be included?”  “Are there any additional forms I should bring?”
  • Practice answering common interview questions with a friend.  Ask former faculty, recruiters at career fairs, and friends who have recently obtained a job about potential questions.

Be professional

Dress in a neat, simple, non-distracting manner with no tattoos or piercings showing and no extreme hairdos (the first 3-5 minutes are critical).

  • Be polite and courteous: Arrive on time; remember to say “thank you,” “yes sir/ma’am;” be aware of your body language (no slouching, knuckle cracking, feet tapping, etc.); be polite to the interviewer’s secretary (s/he is part of the interview team); and don’t be too familiar (i.e. “Mrs. Jones” not “Carolyn”).
  • Write a follow up letter within the first 48 hours of the interview thanking them for their time and the opportunity to interview for the position.

Understand the general interview structure

  1. First component (brief) – Basic introductions and general questions to put you at ease.
  2. Second component (longest) – During this section you will be required to respond to various situations (perhaps video clips) and answer thought-provoking questions.
  3. Final component-The interviewer will summarize the interview (make any corrections at this time), discuss next steps/timelines, and ask you if you have any further questions.If you haven’t asked any questions, at this point make sure you have 3-4 specific questions, for example:
    • What’s your vision for the next 2-3 years?
    • What patient outcomes are you currently focusing on?
    • What’s the average length of stay for your RNs?
Dr. Linda Pehl

Dr. Linda Pehl

Dr. Pehl is a distinguished professor of nursing at the UMHB College of Nursing.
Dr. Linda Pehl

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Dr. Linda Pehl

About Dr. Linda Pehl

Dr. Pehl is a distinguished professor of nursing at the UMHB College of Nursing.