Monday, January 14, 2013

Job Searching 101: The Search

One of the hardest things about being unemployed is the search. It has turned in to my new full-time job. I dedicate about 6 to 8 hours a day on my job search. Now keep in mind part of that isn't constant job searching. It includes tweaking my resume and cover letter, reviewing interview skills, and researching potential nursing positions I want to apply for. The job search has become an art in itself and over the past 8 months I've determined the best ways to maximize my job search. Job searching can be difficult if you don't know where to start or you've been at it so long you feel you aren't pulling up new jobs.

This will be the beginning of a series of posts I'm calling Job Searching 101. I'm going to share my job search tips, organization, and knowledge with all of you to hopefully give you a boost of confidence in your ability to put yourself out there. This will be an awesome guide for those fresh new grads who are just getting their feet wet. It might also be useful for those seasoned job hunter out there. Hopefully, I will have a little something for everyone.

Google is your best friend. Or Bing/Yahoo if you prefer those search engines instead. I'm going to be up front and admit my bias. I love Google. I have Gmail, an Android, I upload all of my nursing job info on Google Drive, etc. That said, you're welcome to substitute Google with any site you want. Google is a great place to start. Remember that your search words are everything. Use variety in your search. For example: use both "new grad rn programs" and "new grad rn residency" when typing. It's also important to pay attention to Google's suggestions for more searches at the bottom of the page. This is one of the best ways to find out about established and future new grad programs. Unfortunately, there's no real comprehensive list of new grad programs. It takes a bit of effort to really know what's out there.

One of the best ways to find out about new grad programs is through the Versant website. Versant is a company that develops new grad programs for Hospitals. When applying you may see a job position that says "Versant New RN Graduate Program". That's what they are referring to. If you go to their website there's a map that has shows all the hospitals that use their program. There's hospitals all over the country that use Versant so it's a nice stepping stone for those willing to move around or who want to see what's around them.

indeed is a dedicated job searching site. It's awesome for searching for new grad programs or RN 1 positions. You can also make an account and set up job alerts. is a great resource for finding and asking questions about nursing job. They have a career section which includes resume help and new grad job searching. If you head over to the US section, under each state there's a thread about nearly every new grad program from that area. The community will chime in about information they pick up along the way such as how many open spots, when they are interviewing, who got in, and more. This is a great resource for support and information that Google or indeed can't give you.

Hospital websites
Each hospital or organization has their own job section where you can search and apply for their available positions. You can also do a little snooping around to see if they have a new grad program that may not have come up under a general Google search. If the hospital is under an organization such as Sutter or Kaiser it may be easier to search under the organization as you could cover more hospitals at once. This is the best way to find RNI/II positions since they are more difficult to seek out that new grad programs. Also check if the hospital only hires new grads in to a rn residency or they post RNI positions sporadically.

Job Alerts/Search Agents
When you apply or search for a position online you usually have to make an account. This can lead to a lot of user names and passwords to remember. As a rule of thumb I have one email address, a PROFESSIONAL email address, that's only used for my job searching and resume. I have one user name for my job accounts (first initial and last name is a great example) and one universal password. My suggestion is to have that password include lower case, upper case, numbers, and a special character. That way you will always meet any criteria that some sites impose. This system makes my life a lot easier when I go back to check the status of my application or apply again. When you make an account 9 times out of 10 there's an option to set up a job alert or search agent. You choose the type of position you want to be notified for (new grad or RNI) and you will get an email when that position pops up. This is extremely handy for hospitals that are notorious for posting a position out of the blue and only for a few hours. Perfect way to stay ahead of the pack!

I found out about AfterCollege because my school has a page on the site and we were encouraged to join before graduation. This is a free site that is geared for entry-level positions for new grads. Hospitals and organizations have accounts in which they post jobs. You can follow different organizations and the site is great about emailing you for new jobs. I found about Stanford's new grad program opening the day before it posted.

Friends and Family
Some of the best ways to find out about open positions is through your friends or family. Remember, sharing is caring! Came across an ICU position, but you're more Peds? Pass it on to a fellow classmate! One of your buddies got a job over at Lucky Hospital? Have them be on a look put for you! Aunt Sally works at Happytime Medical? Have her put in a good word for you! Resources can be your big break. I know they say it's not what you know, but who you know. Unfortunately, that's not always the case today but you should still try. I know some internals that have a hard time getting in to their organization. On the other hand, last month a new grad program I applied to only had a few openings and gave all the positions to their internals.

Your Phone/Email
Finally, the best way to know about new grad jobs at a hospital is to simply call or email them. HR can be your best resource about upcoming positions or whether you're wasting your time stalking their open position section. You can also get the email or number to nurse recruiters and go straight to the source. It's all about networking and building a "be on the look-out" list. You can Google a list of hospitals in you state and use that as a basis. That's how I created my spreadsheet.

If you guys have anything else to add or suggest let me know below! I might edit and update this list with your input.