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I'm a new grad who is having a hard time finding a job. Should I take a volunteer position to gain some experience?

Tuesday October 2, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I'm a male recent LPN graduate who is having a hard time finding a job. I've taken basic life support and IV therapy courses, but I'm coming from a totally unrelated field. Should I take a volunteer position to gain some experience?

Recent LPN

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Recent LPN,

The job market is tight for all nurses right now, so don't take it personal. Just for the record, most new nurses are coming from unrelated fields.

It's great that you took BLS and IV courses. Volunteering would absolutely be another great step, while you continue to look for paid employment. Look for volunteer work in a free clinic, public health department, blood bank, hospice, or cancer care center. Because flu season is upon us, you might even be able to get some part-time work in a flu shot clinic. When recruiters interview you for a position, they'll be interested in knowing what you have been doing since graduation. If you volunteer or work seasonally, you will have plenty to tell them.

Also join and participate in a nursing professional association, such as the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (www.nflpn.org). If your state doesn't have a chapter of NFLPN, some chapters of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org) have coalitions for LPNs. Everything happens through networking.

Read “New nurse, new job strategies” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Strategies).

Continue to create momentum, expand your network and accumulate experience. Persistence and determination will always win in the end.

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.