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I’m a new grad who’s having a hard time finding a job. Am I doing something wrong?

Monday August 18, 2008
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Dear Donna,

I graduated from nursing school in May and just passed my boards. I have had a hard time finding a job. Is there something that I’m doing wrong?


Dear Donna replies:

Hi Faith,

Some parts of the country are experiencing a temporary job squeeze for new graduates. Some attribute it to the sluggish economy, which is causing experienced nurses to come back into the workforce and part-time nurses to increase their hours. Also many nurses who were expected to be retiring are continuing to work either because they need/want the money and benefits or because they simply want to stay engaged in the workforce.

You may just have to look a little longer and harder to find what you want. Be sure to attend Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek Career Fairs <http://events.nursingspectrum.com/expo> and facility open house/recruitment events. Read the article “How to Get the Most Out of Attending a Career Fair” at http://www.dcardillo.com/articles/fair.html.

Join and get active (attend meetings and get on a committee) of your state nurses association. Go to http://www.ana.org and click on “Constituent Member Association.” You should be doing this anyway, but it becomes particularly important when looking for a job. The more connections you make, the wider your network becomes, and the better your chances of finding something suitable.

Be flexible in considering shifts and specialties. You might even consider some alternate settings temporarily while you continue to look for hospital work (if that is what you want). When I got out of school, I worked in a psych hospital until there was an opening in the ED I wanted to work in.

Persistence and determination will always win out in the end!

My best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional and The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career. Information about the books is available at www.nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.