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How can I overcome the policies recruiters have requiring recent employment in the past three years or less?

Monday March 25, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am an experienced mental health RN. I have been a stay-at-home Dad for the past three years, but I want to re-enter the job market. How can I overcome the policies recruiters have requiring recent employment in the past three years or less?

Stay-at-Home Dad

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Stay-at-Home Dad,

You don't say what type of facilities you are applying to, but as you may have discovered, the hospital job market for all nurses is very tight right now, so don't take it personally. Part of the challenge is that care and jobs are shifting out of the acute care setting into alternative inpatient settings, the home and the community. You may need to look in new directions for employment and you'll need to use new methods to find those jobs.

Since you are unemployed, I recommend you start volunteering as a nurse, ideally in a setting you'd like to work in, while you look for paid employment. Volunteering gives you recent experience to put on your resume, expands your professional network and gives you an opportunity to hone old skills while potentially learning new ones. Also, it's a way to get your foot in the door somewhere as volunteering often leads to paid employment.

I recommend you attend nursing association meetings. Attend as a guest if you are not a member. If you want to get back into mental health, attend local meetings of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (www.apna.org). When there something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Networking is a very effective way to find a job.

Do you have a LinkedIn profile set up online? Social media has become a popular and effective way to network, especially when you are looking for a job. Even though you're not a new nurse, you'll find more strategies in this article “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies). Job-hunting and self-marketing strategies have changed.

When what you're not doing isn't working, it's time to try a new approach. Use the strategies outlined above, including those in the referenced article and create a new game plan. Where there is a will, there is a way.

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.