Find Your First Nursing Job
Megan Malugani | Monster.com
When you’re trying to find your first job as a health professional, it may seem the cards are stacked against you. After all, employers prefer job candidates with experience, and can’t get that requisite experience unless someone hires them, right?
It’s a vicious circle, but you can escape it. With some patience and persistence, you should be able to work in your chosen health profession. New health professionals talked to Monster Healthcare about how they landed their first jobs — and how you can, too.
Build Your Network
If your education included an internship or clinical rotations, you made valuable contacts that can likely help you in your job search. “Don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask for help,” says Christine McElroy, MS, who lined up a job while still in graduate school and began working as a genetic counselor at Children’s Hospital Oakland in June 2000. Your school advisor or internship supervisor can inform you of job openings and expand your pool of acquaintances as well as be a valuable reference.
McElroy interviewed with only two employers before accepting her current position. She learned about the first opening from a former classmate who called to tell her about a position in her workplace. She learned about the other opening through the National Society of Genetic Counselors email listserv, which periodically posts job listings. While a student, she also attended the society’s meetings and says the events were “hot spots” for meeting others in the field. “Don’t be shy about networking,” McElroy advises.
Besides networking through professional associations, you can demonstrate your dedication to potential employers by getting out in the field and volunteering. “There’s no better way to find a job than to volunteer first,” says occupational therapist Julie Henderson, director of restorative services at the Human Rights Initiative in Dallas. “You’re looking for a job anyway, so why not go volunteer a couple of hours a day at different places within your field?”