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I keep running into positions that require previous experience in that area. How do I get the experience, if they won't hire me without any experience?

Tuesday October 2, 2012
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I have been a nurse for one year, working the night shift on a med/surg unit. I would like to work days and with patients who are not bedridden. Outpatient surgery interests me. I keep running into positions that require previous experience in that area. How do I get the experience, if they won't hire me without any experience?

Night Nurse

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Night Nurse,

Regarding the experience requirement, if every employer hired only experienced people, those experienced people eventually would all retire or die. My point is, everyone who now has experience started somewhere, and you will too.

Start doing some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with nurses doing the things you want to do. Find them by asking around, making phone calls and through related professional associations. Attend local chapter meetings of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (www.aorn.org) and/or the American Association of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aaacn.org) as a guest for now. When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Everything happens through networking, so you have to get out there.

Also attend nursing career fairs. Many nontraditional employers exhibit there. This is a good venue to access many employers in one place. It also is a good way to "test the waters" and hone your self-marketing and networking skills. See what's coming up in your area at www.Nurse.com/Events/Career-Fairs/. Read “How to get the most out of attending a career fair” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Careerfair).

Hopefully, you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, because it is a valuable networking and job finding tool for nurses in today's competitive job market.

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’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.