How to Make the Most of a Nursing Career Fair
Cindy Mehallow | Monster Contributing Writer
Hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare employers use career fairs to hire hundreds of nurses each year. Here’s what you can do before, during and after a career fair to land your job of choice.
Before You Go
• Prepare Your Documents: Have a counselor in your school’s career center proofread your resume for errors. Print your resumes on professional paper, and put them in a folder or portfolio to stay wrinkle-free.
Also, create a reference list. New grads can include one or two professors and a direct manager from any job they’ve held, especially healthcare positions. Be sure to list nurse preceptors you’ve worked closely with in hospitals.
• Create a One-Minute Introduction: Include your major, year and type of position you seek, suggests Trudi VanderPloeg, a career counselor at Hope College, which hosts an annual spring career fair for its nursing, premed and allied health sciences students.
Sandi Niles, RN, BSN, nurse recruiter for the University of Michigan Health System, recommends thinking of the skills, experience and accomplishments you can present to the recruiter. “Be able to explain how they can benefit the facility you want to work for,” she says. Nursing students lacking experience can discuss their goals and ambitions. Rehearse this commercial for yourself and practice your handshake.
• Do Your Research: Get the list of employers who will be attending the fair, and do enough investigating to identify a handful you’d like to work for. Prepare good questions for each one to ease your conversation, impress the recruiter and yield information that will help you evaluate openings.
Niles suggests asking about nurse/patient ratios, work schedules, unions representing nurses, the various units’ patient populations and each unit’s patient-acuity levels. You’ll also impress a recruiter by mentioning why you’re interested in the company — perhaps you have an interest in pediatric oncology, for example.