New Grads First Job
First impressions matter, so as a candidate searching for your first Nurse Practitioner job it’s important you present the best version of yourself to potential employers. It’s even more crucial when new graduate NPs find themselves competing a very competitive market. Many newly minted NPs are not aware of the following factors which have the power to influence whether your application is positively or negatively received. So, before you click the “apply now” button, take a minute to review the following 3 considerations.
Finding the right match
Applying for jobs when you don’t match the requirements can actually work against you. The most common mistake new grads make is to apply for jobs that are seeking only experienced NPs. If a job posting states “no new grads” you would do well to respect the employers wishes. The same is true when the job requirements include a specific number of years of experience or specify a particular type of experience.
Employers put a great deal of thought into what sort of candidate would best suit the job opening. It could be that the clinical setting doesn’t have the time or resources to train a new grad or a novice. It might also be that the market is strong enough that they attract enough applicants that they can afford to be choosy. Either way, if you don’t meet the minimum qualifications what it means is that your application will not make the cut. Your risk elimination by two different methods. If the organization is using a computer program or applicant tracking system (ATS) your application will be relegated to the digital dustbin. A human reviewer will take a pass on your resume once they see your new grad status and thus you have gained nothing.
But what could it hurt you might ask? Well, applying for jobs you are not qualified for can result in multiple applications in the system. For example, if you are applying for jobs for which are not a good fit, and you do it repeatedly, you will begin to accumulate several entries into the system. Now, imagine that a position opens which is new grad friendly and you apply. Your new application is noted to be yet another of a long chain of applications. This reflects poorly on you as a candidate. Some systems are programmed to eliminate you on this basis alone. Over applying for jobs can be interpreted in a number of negative ways, such as 1) you are desperate 2) you don’t follow instructions 3) you have no idea what sort of job you really want. Better to wait and apply for the right job which is a match for your skills and experience than spend time and energy applying when you are not the candidate the employer is seeking.
New grad resumes should highlight student clinical rotations.
Employers are interested in RELEVANT experience and as newly graduated Nurse Practitioner your clinical experience as a student is the most effective method to demonstrate your NP skills to a prospective employer. Create a category on your resume for your clinical rotations and insert it right above your work experience. Articulate the skills you acquired at your clinical sites and be very specific. Use bullet points listing conditions and list specific procedures you performed give an employer more reasons to interview you than statements like “assess, diagnose and prescribe”. To maximize the impact of this section be sure that the skills and accomplishments match the job requirements in order to catch the attention of both the ATS and the human reviewer. Review the job posting to identify the requirements and make sure to include them in your resume. Yes, this is a little more work but in a competitive environment an employer expects to see a resume tailored to a job opening rather than a generic one-size-fits-all.
Look to your future career, not your past
Including the duties of your registered nurse job in your resume can be distracting and ultimately is not worth the space it occupies. It’s not necessary to go into detail about your RN level experience, the employer is not looking to hire an RN. While employers like to see you have work experience as an RN, they are not interested in the daily duties of your past RN jobs. In your work experience section go ahead and list your RN jobs but under each employer note only your job title. For example, “Registered Nurse, med-surg”. This will be enough to demonstrate any related RN experience, which can be helpful if applying to a similar specialty area in which you worked as an RN. Rest assured that if an employer desires further information about the duties you performed in your registered nursing jobs, they will ask you during your interview.
Before you click the “apply now” button make sure you meet the job requirements, your resume highlights the skills you gained as a student NP and don’t fill your resume up with your RN job skills.