5 Ways to Land a Job After Nursing (or NP) School

By ThriveAP Contributor and ER Nurse Shabnam Sabur

For those of you currently in nursing school, graduation and taking the NCLEX are probably the most important things on your mind. If you’re in an NP program you are thinking about balancing classes, clinicals, and maybe even your nursing job. Either way, as your last semester comes to a close, it hits you: Uh-oh. I still haven’t found a job!

Here are 5 ways to prepare yourself for your job search ahead of time:

1. Work in a hospital or clinic while in nursing school 

Not only will you gain ample experience working with patients and healthcare providers, you’ll also become an internal applicant when you apply for a job as a nurse. While I was in nursing school, I wasn’t able to find a job as a CNA so instead I worked an on-call position as a medical receptionist in physical therapy at a local hospital. Having an on-call position made balancing school and work life a lot less stressful.

The same goes for nurse practitioner students. Work as a nurse in a hospital during your NP program to get an “in”. This will make finding your first NP job must easier.

2. Become a board member for your school’s Student Nurse’s Association

I gained leadership experience during nursing school as secretary of our Student Nurse’s Association. This not only looks great on your resume, but taking a leadership role also gives you the opportunity to get to know your professors. Faculty will be more willing to write you letters of recommendation or be used as a reference for jobs when they know you on a personal level.

3. Start developing your resume 3-6 months before graduation

This one speaks for itself! You can never start perfecting your resume too early. Make sure to have it looked over by your school’s career center. A ThriveAP Career Advisor can also help. If you could use some help developing your nurse practitioner resume, let the ThriveAP Career Advisor Program know (email us at careeradvisor@thriveap.com or give us your info here).

4. Apply for a new graduate residency program

Many nursing positions require applicants to have experience, but how can you gain experience if no one will hire you? Being hired into a new graduate residency program means that you’ll have extra training so that you can become the best nurse possible- and become a more competitive candidate when it comes to landing your next job.

Residency programs exist for nurse practitioner students as well. If you can’t find one that meets your needs, look for a position that is supportive of your new grad NP status.

5. Gain as much experience as possible

If you follow the above steps and still can’t find a job in your desired medical setting, look into home care! Home care gives you the chance to work with a variety of patients. From pediatrics to working with patients who have tracheostomies or other disabilities and diseases, home care can get you the specialized training and experience you need to work in the hospital setting. When you apply for your next nursing position you will be a hot commodity and full of great experience! The same goes for new nurse practitioners as well!


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