Preparing for the Job Search After Nursing School

The time has finally come. You are getting close to finishing your nursing degree and entering the working world. Beginning the job search process can seem overwhelming at first. There are plenty of ways to prepare for the next steps in beginning your career as a nurse.

Consider your clinical experience sites

As a nursing student, you put in plenty of working hours at one or more clinical sites. If your experience was a positive one, consider meeting with an old supervisor or manager about any potential openings. Even if they don’t have a spot open, they might be able to put in a good word for you somewhere else, or point you in the direction of a site that does have openings.

Look for the right job

It seems easy enough, but you should consider the type of environment where you work best. Is this a clinic, a hospital, a rehabilitation center, or somewhere else? Knowing where you work best and being confident that you can do the job are both important to your search.

Don’t limit your search

There are many websites to search for job openings. Be sure not to limit your search to just one or two platforms. Some great places to search include company websites, LinkedIn, or job boards, such as You should also consider reaching out to your past professors; they may know of open positions and will be able to offer sound advice to help you along your search. On that last note, be sure to network with friends, other alumni and professors and advisors. Being a part of a community is a great way to learn about and share job openings and career opportunities.

Pay attention to the details

Many positions will include details about the location and schedule requirements in the job posting. Be sure that you read carefully when applying, as these could include flexible location requirements, and night/weekend commitments. The more flexible you are in your search, the more options you will have, but if you are set on working in a specific location and having set hours, you’ll want to be sure you aren’t applying for jobs that don’t match your needs.

Market yourself

Typically, the first impression you make on a potential employer comes from your cover letter and resume. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that these documents are representing you in the best way possible. Have someone proofread both cover letter and resume to avoid any typos or errors. Next ask for some constructive criticism from those closest to you; they can help you highlight your best qualities.

Prep for the interview(s)

One of the most important pieces of the job search puzzle, is the interview, of course. Once you’ve landed an interview, you should do everything you can to prepare for it and show the prospective employer that you’re the right choice for the job. Make sure that you do your research on the company/hospital you’re interviewing at. Knowing a few key facts about them and how they impact the community they are a part of are just a few ways to show your interviewer that you are serious about the job. Consider potential interview questions and think about the best ways to answer them. Although you may not know exactly what they’ll ask, the preparation will open your eyes to some good points you can use to answer other questions.

Though the job search may seem intimidating, it certainly isn’t impossible. Be confident in your skills and abilities, after all you’ve earned your degree. Use your resources, and some of the steps mentioned here, and you’ll be sure to find the right job for you and kick-start your nursing career.

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