Category : Job Applications

Beware! Ghosting will frighten away your Nurse Practitioner job prospects!

 

The phenomenon known as “ghosting” refers to when and individual makes a conscious decision to skip out on an agreed meeting or not to respond to various modes of contact. Like a ghost, one glimpse and then they disappear without a trace.

In the job seeking world “ghosting” is manifested as a range of behaviors which may occur at any stage of the job seeking process. In the beginning, a candidate may be guilty of “ghosting” when after applying for a position the applicant fails to respond to inquiries from the prospective employer or does not respond to a request for an interview. More extreme examples include not showing up for a scheduled interview all the way to not showing up for the first day of work.

This is not a new phenomenon by any means, previous generations of recruiters would have used the term “being blown off”, nevertheless, non-responders were as frustrating to employers back then as they are now.

Ghosting has always been more likely to occur when the NP job market favors the job seeker. When job opportunities are plentiful and the demand for Nurse Practitioners is strong it’s easy for a candidate to become overconfident. The tendency to jump to the conclusion that everyone is eager to hire you can leave the job seeker with the impression there is little to no risk when “ghosting” an employer. After all, there are plenty of jobs so no big deal, right?

Wrong. There are several ways that ghosting can come back to haunt your career.

No one likes to be stood up.

When you “go dark” and stop responding it leaves the impression you seriously lack the basic social grace known as politeness. A characteristic which won’t reflect well on you as a person or as a clinician. Keeping one’s word still means something. Seriously, how hard is it to fire off an email or return a call saying “thanks, but no thanks” or “I changed my mind”? When potential employers take the time and effort to process an application (which YOU initiated) and you don’t respond it only makes you look self-centered at best and downright rude at worst.

Dead to them

Healthcare recruiting is a much smaller world than you might think. Recruiters and hiring managers talk to each other – even between organizations – so you shouldn’t be surprised if tales of your previous “ghosting” are passed around and come back to scare away your opportunities for future employment. Ghosting is not just frustrating, but it is wastes valuable time in an employer’s search to fill an opening for a clinician, so organizations can have a long memory when it comes to your disappearing act. Electronic applications now preserve evidence of your past bad behavior indefinitely, so your “ghosting” stands a very good chance of living longer than your job prospects. Burned bridges are mighty hard to cross.

Save spooky behavior for Halloween

My advice is simple. Don’t take the risk. Think of your future and look beyond your current job search. You only have one professional reputation so treat it well. Remember your manners. If circumstances have changed then be considerate enough to let a prospective employer or recruiter know you are no longer interested. Be upfront if you are interviewing for other positions, or have another offer you are entertaining, employers aren’t going to hold it against you.

5 Most Effective Tips to Get Hired in an NP or PA Specialty Job

As a newly minted – or even early career – nurse practitioner or physician assistant, finding a job in specialty can feel like an insurmountable task. And yet every year, thousands of your colleagues start their careers as specialists straight out of training.

How do they make this happen? Luck? Did they compromise big on something that would be a non-starter for you? Do they ‘know a guy?’

It may not be easy, but if you are strategic and persistent, you too can land the best specialty job for your skills and clinical interests.

Below, I will show you my five best tips for getting hired in a specialty as a new nurse practitioner or PA.

NPs and PAs work in just about every surgical and medical specialty

  1. Show Enthusiasm Early on for Your Specialty

The first time you express interest in your specialty should not be during a job interview. If that’s the case, your chances of making it any further in that process are less than ideal.

That’s because specializing is not for everybody. Employers, not to mention specialists themselves, know this. The demands of the job, the lifestyle, and other requirements may be a deal breaker for some. If you like excessive levels of variety and a background of nonstop chaos, you may be better suited for emergency medicine. If you’d rather wear a bowtie than scrubs, perhaps pediatrics would be a better fit. Big crossword puzzle fan? Anesthesia. I could go on all day.

In all seriousness, your career trajectory starts in your training program. If you are interested in neurosurgery, a research project in that general vicinity can do you wonders at a job interview. It shows that you are interested, engaged, and can maintain this focus for the long haul.

Your career path isn’t set in stone, however. Changing specialties later on may be a serious task, but it’s not impossible. It’s nowhere near as hard as starting a new career from scratch or going back to school because you are unhappy with your work.

However, keep in mind that hiring, training, and then losing a specialty PA or NP can hurt any department or organization. They don’t want to take that chance on you unless they are reasonably sure it’ll pay off. You don’t want to take that chance either, as you may not be immune to any financial, emotional, or professional difficulties from such a decision, either.

2. Networking Is Not a Four-Letter Word

If you are like the rest of us, you aren’t the biggest fan of ‘networking.’ It’s not something clinicians often admit to enjoying, let alone doing. However, put two clinicians in the same room and eventually they’ll form a bond over a common experience. They may even offer suggestions to help alleviate each other’s clinical pain points.

That’s really all ‘networking’ is; forming relationships with people and offering to help. Whether that’s filling a job vacancy, hiring a new provider, or just being a friend and colleague, it counts.

One of the best ways to do this is to attend your local, regional, and national conferences. Local conferences are great for making contacts in a new area, while regional and national events can be leveraged to expand your network or meet people who make hiring decisions in a totally new area.

Don’t forget about events at your hospital, such as grand rounds. Attend as many events that you can use as an excuse to get in the same room as more experienced clinicians.

If going to a physical conference is out of the question, networking online is more valuable than ever, and can create real connections. Joining and engaging in communities like Clinician1 can be as good as attending a conference. There are around 50,000 active PA’s, NP’s, and students who call themselves members, many of whom are happy to connect with you.

You may have heard that most people find jobs through people they know. I have landed multiple job offers this way, sometimes in otherwise unlikely, roundabout ways. Often, these positions also seem to be more interesting than those I see posted on generic, non-clinically focused job search sites.

I have also been able to turn a hobby into a successful side hustle and business through ‘networking.’ Almost all my clients who contract with me for my medical writing services found me through mutual connections, word of mouth, or (you guessed it) someone I already knew.

Of course, that’s just a single case study, which you know is the lowest quality of evidence. Consider the following.

In 2016, LinkedIn polled approximately 3,000 individuals in staff and management positions, asking how they found their most recent job. The results were clear. The clear majority of people surveyed (85%) reported that they found their employment primarily through someone they already knew.

Glassdoor, an online job board that allows people to anonymously report their salary, did a similar study in 2009. They found that the chances of receiving an offer were about two to six percent higher if you were referred by a current employee. And yes, this was statistically significant.

Can you find a job without any connections? Absolutely. But why make things harder on yourself? If you thought the world of medicine was small, wait until you enter the world of a specialty.

3. Do Your Research

Like any other job, it helps to get an edge on the competition with a little digging. By being an expert on the company, the medical group, the other providers, and the administrators, you can do something no other interviewee can do quite as well.

By using this information, you have the ability to steer the conversation towards them. People love talking about themselves, and you’d be correct to think a specialist is no different. This can serve two purposes. One, it builds trust and rapport; and two, you gain a unique insight to help you better judge what it might be like working with this group.

It’s not all about schmoozing, however. Healthcare providers do not get a ton of privacy online. Without much difficulty, you can find a clinician’s accomplishments, state licenses, and other public information. That also means the negative press, publicly available court records, and state license sanctions are just a Google search away.

The issues surrounding these topics can fill libraries worth of textbooks. Even the presence of one or more of these factors does not necessarily paint a full (or fair) picture of an individual practitioner.

However, don’t discount your gut if you think you see several red flags or get a bad feeling about a provider or group. All clinicians are endowed with a special ‘spidey-sense’ that allows us to tell just how sick a patient is by merely being in the same room as them. As new clinicians, you may feel uncertain or fear using this sense. As you gain experience, it gets stronger the more you realize it was right all along. This can also be applied to other areas of life, such as job-hunting. If something is ‘off,’ you may want to rethink the particular job opportunity.

Remember that this is a two-way street, which is why clinicians should keep a clean online presence. If you don’t, you may want to work on that, or at least have a good explanation ready for anything negative in your past that comes up

4. Know Your Worth

The general salary data that many new graduates use as a reference is not always reflective of the market. Specialty compensation data is available and should be based on actual evidence and value. Most non-healthcare hiring managers are not aware of your true value and may not extend a truly equitable offer.

Consider your expected productivity, individual level of autonomy, call schedule, and procedures for which you will be responsible. How much training and support will be provided? Is it an environment conducive to professional growth?

Don’t forget that geographic location, setting (such as academic or community hospital, private practice, etc), size of the group, and other characteristics can make or break a job for an individual. All of these factors can affect the value the employer provides to you, depending on your goals. And remember the salary data is just a starting point. Both parties should stand to gain for a truly effective relationship to form.

5. Craft Your Plan

We are lucky enough to be in a great NP and PA job market, as your very own NP Career Coach told me on our recent podcast. However, we are always up against tough competition for any specific job opening.

Planning out your job search in advance can put you miles ahead of the competition.

For example, it’s always good to have an updated resume. Learn how to write a good cover letter. Practice common interview questions. Job-hunting is an entire industry you need to become familiar with. And if all that seems like too much to handle on your own, a clinician career coach can make a world of a difference to you.

Execute Your Strategy

It’s not easy to get hired in a specialty as a new clinician, but it is possible. Remember that it starts before graduation, and all your professors who harp on that are right!

Get to know other clinicians and hiring professionals in your specialty long before ever asking for a job. Networking doesn’t have to be so awkward anymore. With resources like LinkedIn, Clinician1, and other communities specifically made for healthcare professionals, it’s easier than ever to foster those connections.

Be sure to research your potential employer as thoroughly as you can. This helps you determine what kind of a match you might be there. Spend a little time now to avoid the pain of a potentially toxic environment.

With appropriate research, you can also get a better idea of the true value you bring to employers so that you can get a fair compensation arrangement. Just make sure you both come out ahead.

Once you have the foundation laid, finalize your plans to target your perfect specialty job, and be sure to check out resources from the NP Career Coach. Good luck!

Jordan G. Roberts, PA-C is a neurosurgical PA who has a passion for medical communications that goes beyond creating great content. He is a nationally recognized speaker, published scientific author, and medical podcaster. He strives to demonstrate an excellence in all things medicine that he knows every clinician is capable of achieving. He blogs at ModernMedEd where he is a medical writer and medical education consultant.

Twitter: @ModernMedEd
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordangrobertspa-c/

Cover Letters and Nurse Practitioners

There seems to be some confusion about cover letters.  I have seen some advice on the big box job sites that is telling job seekers that the advice to include a cover letter may be a thing of the past.  No doubt this will have many of you jumping for joy – I mean, who likes to write a cover letter anyway? 

As always I feel compelled to issue my standard warning: Caution! The majority of advice you will find online is geared towards job seekers in the business community and are therefore may not be applicable to the Nurse Practitioner profession.  
When you read general job advice columns it is important to slow down and read the fine print. First, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples.  What I found is that if you read carefully you will find that the advice refers only to email inquiries and applications.  In other words, you must be emailing an actual person rather than submitting an online application directly into the system.  As most of you already know, that doesn’t happen very often.  Most “apply here” links take you into an automated applicant system and not to an actual HR representative. 
The article makes the assertion that since you are emailing then your email can take the place of the cover letter. Fair enough. I do agree with that point.  Of course, what is not clearly stated is that it is necessary that your email be formatted and written exactly like, well …a cover letter.  So you can see that the reports of the demise of the cover letter are indeed premature and greatly exaggerated. It seems that the point the articles are making is that your cover letter information should be in your email rather than sent as an email attachment.
Here is the NP Career Coach’s advice on covers letters for Advanced Practice or NP jobs. 

 

1.      You still need one.  Cover letters are not mere decoration for your resume.  A cover letter tells the prospective employer you are capable of professional-grade written communication skills and that you possess at least a minimum understanding of the social graces.  Nothing starts you off on the wrong foot with an employer quite like a sending an email that states only “I am interested in your position” or “attached is my resume”.  No greeting, no closing, just bad manners. 

 

2.      Cover letters are a great way to fill in areas that are not always clear on a resume. For example, explaining gaps in employment and articulating your goals and interests. You can also let the employer know whether or not you are interested in any other positions.  Oh, and if you know someone who works there you can (and should) name drop. J

 

3.      Do it all. Attach it, put it in the body of your email too.  Who cares if they receive two copies of the same thing?  It’s just not that big of a deal.  Some prefer to have an attachment and some prefer an email so do both and give them options.  Attachments look better than emails when printed and that can be a plus.  Putting your cover letter in the body of the email will increase the chances it is read upon opening.  But as you all know an inbox can get cluttered and saved emails sometimes get deleted.  Adding an attachment allows the recipient the ability to download and save your cover letter. 

 

4.      One of the most frustrating problems I encountered as a recruiter was receiving hundreds of attachments titled “cover letter” or “resume” which made it very difficult to find a particular candidates file. Problem solved.  You can easily avoid this confusion by naming your attachments with your name rather than “cover letter”.  See how easy that was?  Remember, the idea is to stand out and make your application easier to find.

 

5.      And finally, if you don’t already have one you should create a professional email account with your full name.  Busy recruiters and hiring managers don’t have the time to scroll through an inbox or contact list trying to guess which email is from you.  Using your full name as your email address just makes it that much easier to find you.  It also makes you look more mature than using an email address such as “proudmommy” or “catluvver”.    

Hello! What Does it Take for a New Grad to get Some Attention Around Here?

 

Dear NP Career Coach: 

 

I am a new grad NP and I am in the process of job search. I am struggling to get even an interview. Could you help me with how to market myself so that I can get the recruiters to look at my resume?

 

Dear New Grad NP:    

 

When crafting your new grad resume keep these points in mind.  
  1. Your resume needs to demonstrate that you have the skills the employer wants.
  2. The only thing that matters is what the employer wants. 
  3. As a new graduate the most marketable experience you have is your clinical rotations. 
    To be successful your resume must contain clear and easy to find information.  You can’t get an interview if the recruiter can’t determine whether or not you meet the requirements.   Your resume will have about 30 seconds to catch the eye of the employer, so it’s important to be sure all the info in your resume is easy to find.  The reader shouldn’t have to strain or work hard to figure out who you are. 
    In today’s market employers are expecting to receive a resume that is tailored to the position.  When creating their first NP resume many new graduates get carried away and include too much extraneous information.  Remember, your resume is just a snapshot to show the employer you are a match – not your entire life history.
    First, you must make it clear to the reader that you possess the appropriate educational preparation.  Place your educational section at the top of your resume. Make sure you have included your degree and the dates it was earned (or will be earned).   You can safely omit elements like your GPA, thesis, or doctoral project.   This simply adds clutter to your resume without increasing your marketability.  I know you worked hard for your GPA, but it doesn’t belong on your resume. 
    Second, clearly indicate your certification.  You will be seen as ineligible for the position if information relating to your certification status is missing. Identify the name your certifying body and note either “current” or the expiration date of your board certification. If you have not yet taken boards note “pending” or your scheduled test date.     Also, be sure you list your RN licenses.  This may seem like a no brainer but it is important that your nursing license(s) be on your resume.
    Next is your experience section.   As a new grad your clinical rotations are your most pertinent and relevant experience.  Take a look at the job posting and find the skills the employer has stated are a requirement.  Then make sure you mention those skills in your student experience section.   Avoid statements that reflect minimum entry levels skills.  It’s a waste of space on your resume to say “manage acute and chronic conditions” or “history and physical exam skills”.  That won’t set you apart.  Give the recruiter some real data about procedures, specific conditions and populations.   You should find this data in your clinical logs. 
    Finally, take care not to focus on your RN experience.  Employers like to see that you had RN experience but they are not interested in your RN duties.   A simple entry indicating the department where you worked in will be sufficient.   You are applying for an NP job and you are a new NP graduate, however, you are competing against candidates who have NP experience.   To put it bluntly, what you did as an RN will not trump actual NP experience so it’s best not to waste the resume space because it won’t make you more marketable.  If the employer wants to hear more about your RN jobs they will ask you about them in an interview. 
    Oh, and a nice cover letter will help you get noticed too. 
    I will send you my cover letter and resume guides via email. 
    Good luck and keep me posted on your job search. 
    ~Renee
     

5 Steps for an Effective New Grad NP Job Search

Hello New Grads!

Abe Lincoln once advised “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 7 sharpening my axe”.


Don’t get worried, I don’t actually want you to chop anything down! My point is that I want you to be well prepared before you begin your NP job search.

In my last column for Advance for NPs & PAs I outlined 5 essential steps to include in your job search plan.

In my column you will find advice on

  • Applying too soon (yes, you can apply too soon)
  • Finding and choosing the proper references
  • How to sell yourself and your skills
  • Handling the dreaded “strength and weakness” interview question.

Click here to read more

Pick me! Pick me! How can you get a recruiters attention?

A reader recently asked me why employers choose one nurse pracitioner application over another.

I offered up this advice in my latest blog: Advanceweb.http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/np_6/archive/2013/02/06/applications-and-interest.aspx

Dear NP Career Coach: What can I do to get employers to notice my application? I would like to know if there is anything you can recommend that will increase my chances of landing an interview. Can you help?

Dear Job Seeker: Obviously it is important that your resume show the employer that you possess the right qualification and skills for the job. However, you also need to convince them that you have a genuine interest and a strong desire for the position.

Employers tell me that if you are able to clearly articulate the reason you are applying for the position then they will be more likely to want to interview you. So how do you demonstrate to a potential employer you have a passion for their position? I have a couple tips to help you.

  1. Research the employer. Learning about their culture, mission and history is one way to show an employer you are interested in them. The information you gather will help you to emphasize why you are the right fit for them. And if you get a call or an interview it will also help you to formulate the right questions to ask. Start by checking out their website or Facebook page.
  2. Make clear the reason WHY you want this position and make sure that your reason makes sense. The best tool for you to express your motivating reason is the cover letter. Use your cover letter to explain why you feel drawn to the position. Perhaps you have previously worked with this population or specialty before. Or maybe your reason is that you did a clinical rotation in their organization. If you know someone who is a current employee who has inspired you to apply that is perfectly good reason as well. (Name dropping is allowed!) Just remember that whatever your rationale, it needs to be employer-centered and show clear benefit to the employer. For example, proclaiming that you want the job because the hours or commute better suits your lifestyle is not helpful.
  3. Don’t “over-apply” or be a “serial applier.” When employers see you submitting several applications for several different positions it makes you look like you either don’t know what you want to do or that you are desperate. Neither of those options is very attractive. Think carefully before applying; if you aren’t sure why you want the job, then you are unlikely to convince anyone else why you would want it either.

Returning to the Workforce

Dear Career Coach: I am a NP seeking to return to the workforce after a 10 year employment gap. I have experience as an adult nurse practitioner Occupational Health, Cardio-thoracic, Primary Care, and Student Health. I recently completed 150 CEU’s including 75 in pharmacy and passed the certification test for Adult NP in preparation for my NP job search.
Should I include this information in my resume and cover letter? How do I handle the lapse in my professional career? I have 3 kids and we moved several times. I was active with volunteer activities and held several leadership positions. Do employers really want to see this information in my resume?

Dear Reader: This information needs to be included in both your resume and your cover letter. I suggest you start your resume off with a “Summary of Qualifications” section, this will allow you to highlight your qualifications and future plans.

EXAMPLE:
“A nurse practitioner with a wide variety of experience with an emphasis in (list your specialties) Recently completed a total of 150 CEU’s including 75 in pharmacology and have used this knowledge to successfully pass the certification test for Adult Nurse Practitioner. Passionate to resume hands on patient care. Possess the energy and flexibility of a new graduate plus a wealth of past knowledge which will benefit both my patients and my future employer.”

Next on your resume list your experience starting first with your recent CEU’s that are pertinent to the job you are seeking. Highlight your proficiencies for each past job and communicate that you are still comfortable with those skills.

You also MUST write a cover letter. You can use your cover letter to discuss your passion for the position, highlight your proficiencies and emphasize the knowledge you recently acquired in your CEU courses. It’s also a good idea to mention your desire for a long-term employer. In the last paragraph, before your closing, you can then disclose and explain your employment gap.

Remember always to edit and tailor your resume and cover letter to match each and every position you apply for!

Good luck!

Tips you will get only from me!

Do you know what hiring managers and recruiters NEVER want to see on your Nurse Practitioner resume?

I was a recruiter for many years so I have some insider pearls and tips. These are valuable details I learned over the course of reviewing thousands of resumes and talking with hundreds of hiring managers.

In this market, when every job has dozens of applicants, even a small mistake can ruin your chances of an interview. Of course you probably will never know why your resume was rejected so you might continue to make the same mistake. In my blog I am going to regularly share with you some of some of these lesser known resume misteps.

In other words I will share my job search pearls with you!

Here comes the tip…

There are several things you should never put on your resume but this is one that might not be so obvious.

DO NOT INCLUDE NON-MEDICAL EXPERIENCE
IN YOUR WORK HISTORY!

Including a past job that was in a non-medical field is a major no-no and could very well get your application bounced. It’s OK to include jobs like “nursing assistant” or “lab tech” because those are medically related. What you don’t want to list is jobs like ” bartender” or “retail clerk”. You many think they help to show that you have a solid work history but in reality it’s a big turn-off when applying for an NP or PA position.

BTW: This is true whether you are a NP or Physician Assistant.