You've just completed your first nursing education program and earned your first nursing degree. You are now prepared to obtain your ideal job. Doesn't it sound simple? You know there's a wonderful job out there for you, it's just waiting for you to apply. It's only a question of devising a strategy to locate—and seize—it. This post will walk you through several crucial stages to assist you in doing so:

As you look for your ideal job, you'll need to develop a professional network of colleagues from prior jobs, peers from your nursing program, nursing instructors and mentors, your college alumni association or university career center, and fellow members of professional nursing organizations. 

Adding a spark to your résumé

To apply for a nursing position, you must provide a recent résumé. Consider what you can give an employer while you prepare it. What will make it glisten and shine? Consider the following questions to help you determine what to include:

  • Have you ever had your work published in a nursing magazine or on a professional website?
  • Do you volunteer or serve on the board of a professional nursing organization?
  • Have you ever served as a preceptor or mentor to incoming orienteers?
  • Have you ever assisted in the planning of an association's conference?
  • Have you taken part in any clinical programs or quality improvement initiatives?
  • What achievements have you made outside your primary work responsibilities?
  • Have you won any awards?
  • Do you keep a record of your continuing education courses?
  • How would you describe your communication and problem-solving skills?

Make certain that your résumé is completely factual and up to date. Adapt your résumé (including abilities, competencies, and interests) for each position you intend to apply for. Make copies for yourself and bring one with you to the interview. You may also find it useful to create a portfolio that contains your résumé, completed projects, awards, reports and papers you've authored, and committee work examples.

Locating job vacancies

Nursing job opportunities can be found in a variety of locations and formats such as: 

  • Online directories

Many nursing positions are advertised on the internet, in newspapers, and nursing publications. Look for vacancies in areas of specialization that interest you. Look for employment descriptions on the websites of hospitals, clinics, community health groups, and professional nursing organizations. Also, have a look at LinkedIn.

Some organizations' websites may allow you to take a virtual tour and read their purpose and vision statements. Learn everything you can about the position and the company from the website. If you find a position you're interested in, send an email or call the person mentioned. Remember that some of the most creative nursing jobs may not be in typical hospital settings, so don't neglect community-based alternatives.

  • Print advertisements in newspapers and magazines

Look for employment openings in your local and regional print media, as well as in nursing print journals (and the online versions of these publications).

  • Bulletin boards and newsletters

Look for job opportunities through your organization's employee newsletters and human resources bulletin boards before beginning an external search (unless, of course, you want to change employers).

Overcoming lack of job experience

You may find that many professions demand several years of experience when you begin your search. You might be asking how you can have this experience. Your nursing school's career center may work with local hospitals to employ fresh grads, so check with them for openings. You may also check into internships or job-shadowing programs. Even if you believe you are overqualified for these roles, it is a fantastic opportunity to network and demonstrate to future employers what a hard worker you are.

Contacting potential employers 

Once you submit your application, you should expect to wait at least a few days for a response. It's difficult, but for at least one or two weeks, resist the desire to follow up. At that time, you may start following up with a polite follow-up email asking when you can anticipate a response. Your next option may be to phone but try email first. After 3-4 follow-ups, you can cross that possible employment off your list and focus on other opportunities.

Getting ready for the interview

Congratulations if you've made it this far! You've made it past the first round of interviews and have been invited in for a second. Many companies now begin with a pre-screening phone interview to ensure that the fundamentals are addressed (that you are licensed, that you understand what the position entails, etc.). This is to avoid wasting each other's time by proceeding too far into the interview process if there isn't a good fit.

Before your in-person interview, attempt to plan out how you'll respond to common job interview questions such as:

  • What are your professional objectives?
  • What inspired you to become a nurse?
  • What are our advantages/disadvantages?

Describe an event or a problem you conquered at a previous job that prepared you for this one if you are an employed nurse.

Finally, you should be able to discuss what qualifies you for the position, how your nursing education and experiences have prepared you, and what you want to learn from the individuals you'll be working with.


The good news about obtaining your first nursing job is that the health care sector, in general, is thriving. As a result, skilled Registered Nurses are in high demand. You'll be making your first job rounds in no time if you approach your job search properly and follow the procedures outlined above.

Opportunities for high-paying nursing jobs exist. You have complete control over your career as an in-demand nurse. On our employment board, you may find the greatest positions from coast to coast. Get the income and career opportunities you deserve.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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