Boost your career trajectory
The right plan and tools will help you carve out a successful career.
Tips on how to change jobs
When you're ready for a new career direction make a flight plan first.
Salaries on the upswing
Find out how your salary compares to RNs across the country.
Legally protect your practice
Know the tools you need to protect your license from potential liability.
Learn how to keep the peace
Conflict management isn't easy, but it's worth the time and effort.
Make 3 mammoth decisions
Choose your goal and platform before heading back to school.
Job satisfaction study
RNs reveal how they really feel about their jobs.
Job search like a pro
Become a savvy job seeker by following these guidelines.
5 tips for job interviews
Make a memorable first impression at your next interview.
Create a winning resume
Jump ahead of the competition with a top-notch resume.
FREE CE: Become empowered
Learn how to gain a greater voice at your organization.
Avoid turbulent travel nursing
Seek advice on travel contracts before signing on the dotted line.
Is travel nursing for you?
If you have an adventurous spirit, you might like this specialty.
Get to the heart of bioethics
Big ethical decisions have a way of influencing all aspects of RNs' lives.
CE COURSE: Terminal degrees
PhD, EdD, DNP — which one should you pursue?
Get on boards when job hunting
Nursing job boards can help you find the perfect job.
Speak their language
Bilingual nurses are in demand by recruiters.
Engaging millennials
Nurse leaders are finding ways to retain younger nurses.
Healthcare in the outlands
Rural areas seek nurses willing to make the move.
Continuing education catalog
Read this list of CE modules geared toward your professional growth.
CE COURSE: Precepting
Find out why preceptors are critical to the nursing profession.
Protect against retaliation
Nurse attorney discusses your discrimination rights on the job.
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Savvy job seekers have the best nursing careers
Presentation and preparation will help you land the perfect nursing job
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Nurses looking for their next job need to become the same expert communicators at job interviews that they are expected to be at the bedside. They need to rehearse for interviews like they would for the performance of their lives.
Those who have practiced for meetings with prospective employers are most likely to come off as polished professionals, rather than nurses just looking to be employed. Present yourself as a bright, compassionate new nurse with goals and vision, and be ready to show them how they can be more successful with you on their team. Remember,
no one gets a second chance to make a first impression
. Don’t be afraid to use or take notes during the interview; but on the other hand, maintain eye contact, speak conversationally and just be likable. Besides getting every interviewing basic right, you need to stand out from all of the other equally qualified, credentialed candidates to get the job you’re seeking. Although being polished and professional is important, keep in mind your success in an interview will have a lot to do with your personality. Given equally smart, experienced and credentialed professionals, managers will hire the candidates they like. You know how to strike an immediate rapport with a new patient at the start of a 12-hour shift; apply the same techniques to interviewing. The job market is, in part, a popularity contest.
successful job seeker also will do his or homework on prospective employers
—not just to convince recruiters he or she is the right candidate for the role, but to make sure the role is right for the candidate. As you’re preparing to present yourself as the world’s most fabulous nurse, keep one question in the back of your mind—do I really want this job? Whether you’re a new or experienced nurse, you should know something about the job you might take and the organization you’re considering joining. Neither exists in isolation from the other. You probably won’t have time to ask questions about every aspect of the job during a recruiter interview, but you might have time during subsequent pre-employment meetings with your prospective boss and staff. You can always research the employer on your own through an Internet search, social media and colleagues with whom you can network. The job search is an excellent time to take stock and research career options before making a commitment, while also helping you discover your true passion. Schedule a few informational interviews and discover a world of boundless opportunity.
“Your success in an interview will have a lot to do with your personality. Given equally smart, experienced and credentialed professionals, managers will hire the candidates they like.”
— Robert G. Hess, Jr., RN
Don’t be shy about contacting strangers for an
informational interview
. Many reasons might motivate people to make time for you, even if they don’t know you. You are not necessarily seeking an actual job, you’re merely researching opportunities. Informational interviewing also is a networking tool, because the person you’re meeting with may come from your previously established network or may contribute to it as a new connection. Finally, informational interviewing keeps you sharp for job interviewing, which is a skill best learned through repetition. Finally, no matter if you’re interviewing for information or your dream job — don’t forget the thank-you note!
Tips for savvy job seeking
Be on time to interviews. Being too early is as bad as being too late. Just show up when you were asked to be there.
Conservative dress is still a must. One of my recruiter friends reminds us a job interview is not an appropriate time for a bare midriff. Show your personal style with accents rather than a head-to-toe statement. A scarf, tie, or pair of shoes provides a way to display personality, while keeping the rest of your look conservative. The rule is simple: You do not want to be remembered from an encounter like this for you what you wore.
Be prepared. Arrive ready to be tested on your nursing knowledge. Bring written questions to keep your discussion on track and letters of appreciation from patients or volunteering, awards or documentation of events that make you stand out from the crowd.
Send a personal thank-you email or note after the interview the same day.
Tap informational interviewing as a opportunity to network and learn more about the type of nursing career you want and seek.
Do your homework. Discover whether the job is a good fit by investigating crucial areas such as staffing, scheduling, management style and coworkers. As questions during the interview and do your research outside the formal hiring process.
Know that there is a very good chance that the interviewer has Googled you and visited your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter sites (which should only have content that you are reasonably comfortable with a prospective employer viewing).
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Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, is OnCourse Learning's executive vice president and chief clinical executive. Read his three-part series on interviewing at