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I have a very strong resume, but no healthcare facility will even interview me without six months recent experience. Any suggestions?

Thursday January 24, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am a 46-year-old RN with a BSN. I have been out of the nursing profession for 12 years. I had breast cancer and other issues, which forced me to stay home. I have a very strong resume, but no healthcare facility will even interview me without six months recent experience. I desperately want to get back into the workforce but have almost exhausted my options. Any suggestions?

Almost Exhausted

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Almost Exhausted,

The current hospital job market is very tight, as you have discovered. It's a matter of supply and demand. Until things loosen up, which they should over the next five years, that scenario is not likely to change. The good news is jobs are permanently shifting out of the hospital. So although you are accustomed to working in hospitals, it's time to look in new directions for employment — present and future.

Transitioning back into the workforce is a process. Start by volunteering somewhere medical while you look for paid employment. Volunteering is a good way to gain recent experience, expand your professional network, hone old skills and learn new ones. It also is a good way to get your foot in the door somewhere, as volunteering often leads to paid employment. Consider your local public health department, free clinic or hospice.

Attend local chapter meetings of professional nursing associations, such as the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org) or any specialty that interests you. Attend regularly, as a guest, if you are not a member. Networking is known to be a great way to explore options and find a job.

Also attend area career fairs. This is a good way to have face time with employers and recruiters. You never know who will be exhibiting or what opportunities will be available. See what's coming up in your area at www.Nurse.com/Events/Career-fairs/. You never know from where the spark, idea, information, contact or opportunity will come, but you have to get yourself out there.

Contact some nursing agencies about nontraditional options for now, while you decide where to go from here.

Be patient with yourself and the process. Start moving in a positive forward direction and the right opportunity will eventually present itself. Persistence and determination will always win.

Best wishes,

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.