I'm currently in my 9th month out of school and all I have to show for it is an inbox full of rejections. Not completely true. I managed to keep myself busy by job searching, passing NCLEX, and trying to make myself marketable.
The first thing I did after graduation was sleep and study for NCLEX. I ended up passing with only 85 questions! I'm not going to go in to detail about my study schedule and habits, but if I get any request then I will do a post dedicated to NCLEX. I used two study aids: Hurst Review and Saunders Comprehensive Review. Plus a million index cards I made myself. I ended up taking my NCLEX late and tested the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I thought I wasn't going to pass because I waited so long to take it and I wasn't sticking to my study schedule. My procrastination was mostly due to lack of confidence in myself to pass and lack of motivation from no job leads. Basically it was EXCUSES. I finally made myself pick a final date. I took it. I passed. I celebrated.
Finally, I got serious about my job searching. I applied for my first job before graduation. It was a new grad program for a local hospital and I was excited to submit my first application! 100+ applications later and I only got one interview. Before the interview, I wasn't as dedicated to my job search as I should have been. I used Google, hints from friends, a Facebook group, and Allnurses.com for job leads. Some days I was more productive than others. I at least tried to average 6 applications a week. It wasn't until my first interview that I formulated a system. For the interview I flew down to San Diego and stayed with family. I was so excited! I got a new suit, I practice, and I even made a portfolio for the managers. It was my first nursing interview and I was going to make myself as prepared as possible. It was a fantastic interview. I enjoyed it and felt so comfortable with the managers. However, I was rejected for the position anyway. If it wasn't for a Hospital I admired so much and maybe if I didn't do so well in the interview I wouldn't have broke down so much, but I did. I had a mini-meltdown a few weeks before Christmas. I felt depressed as reality reminded me that I still have no job. I eventually pulled through thanks to family support and the nurses over at Allnurses.com. I started a support thread over there for unemployed new grads. You guys should definitely check it out. It's a great community!
Once I pulled myself up on my feet I started a spreadsheet. I found a list of all the hospitals in California on Wikipedia and went to work. I sorted the hospitals by county and I didn't list them if they fell under a medical group such as Kaiser or Sutter. I visited each hospital's website and linked it to the spreadsheet. If that hospital offered a specific new grad program I put them on a different sheet with the program information. From the main list, I am slowly working my way through the counties as I call or email each one to see if they accept new grads and I update the list as I go. I have set up job agents for new grad and RN I positions whenever possible. I also check the main site for the medical group's daily or weekly. I've really invested time and energy in to my search which has greatly expanded my options. I also updated my Resume by posting it on Allnurses.com and receiving feedback from the community and gathering information from other posted resumes. I feel more confident in my ability as the New Year began. I'm just waiting for that one phone call.