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How can new ADN nurses improve their resumes and market themselves to compete with those who have earned a BSN?

Wednesday February 19, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I am a new RN graduate with an associate’s degree. How can I boost my resume and sell myself to compete with the BSN degrees?

Wants To Compete With BSN Nurses

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants To Compete With BSN Nurses,

Congratulations on your ADN and welcome to the profession. Although the job market is competitive and evolving, there are many things you can do, even beyond your resume, to be marketable. Read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

An important next step is to seek volunteer work as a nurse while you continue to look for paid employment. This will give you recent, relevant experience to put on your resume, expand your professional network, build confidence and develop various skills. Volunteering shows recruiters what you've been doing since getting out of school, also is a way to get your foot in the door somewhere. It often leads to paid employment. Seek volunteer work through your local public health department, hospice, a free clinic or cancer care center.

Consider working toward your ACLS, taking an IV therapy course and taking steps to get back into school for your BSN. If an employer sees that you are moving in that direction, it can influence them in your favor.

It is also important for you to join and get active in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org). Most chapters have reduced dues for new nurses. This is another great way to expand your professional network, make valuable connections and to get connected to your new profession.

Everything happens through networking. It is well known to be a great way to get a job. Meeting people face to face, having dinner with them at a meeting or working on an association committee with others in the profession is a much more effective way to market yourself than only sending out online or printed resumes. In person, people can see your personality and energy, which is important because most employers are interested in hiring someone with a positive, upbeat, can-do attitude versus someone with just the right credentials.

Networking is about making connections and developing relationships. It's not about directly asking for a job. Listen to the webinar, “Networking for nurses: Is it important?” (www.ce.nurse.com/course/web192/networking-for-nurses-is-it-important/).


Regarding your resume, you can find some tips in the article “FAQs about student resumes” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Student-Resumes). Even though the article was written for student nurses, the advice applies to new nurses too.

Every nurse, regardless of his or her credentials or experience, has to be very proactive in the job market. You need new skills to find a job and you need to look in new directions for employment. If you look beyond the traditional hospital setting and utilize all the tips and advice above, you'll be successful in finding a position.


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://www. Nurse.com/Events.