How to Stand Out as a Nursing Candidate

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As you leave your academic life and clinical rotations behind and enter the job market, you’ll need to find a way to differentiate yourself from your peers. Recent graduates, by nature, don’t have much experience in hospital or private practice settings, so they typically need to rely on their unique traits and academic accomplishments in order to set themselves apart from the crowd. As you draft and edit your resume and start attending interviews, keep these job search tips in mind.

Demonstrate awareness of the big picture.

Put yourself in your hiring manager’s position. Selecting reliable and competent clinical staff can be a challenge, and most managers are looking for candidates who can earn trust and work independently as quickly as possible. Use your words and gestures to emphasize the fact that you won’t need training wheels for long. You understand what’s expected of you, and you plan to deliver more than just basic competence. Your judgement, compassion, and big-picture focus exceed the standard.

Demonstrate comfort with technology.

Of course you’ll make it clear that you’re familiar with electronic medical record systems and the diagnostic and treatment equipment that falls within your area of specialty. But you’ll also want to convey a general sense of flexibility regarding technology and platforms you’ve never used before, even those that haven’t been developed yet.

Emphasize your hands-on experience.

Explain what you’ve taken away from your education outside the classroom, and whenever possible, frame your experiences in the form of a narrative. This will demonstrate that you’ve personalized and internalized your education, instead of simply memorizing rote procedures. For example, you don’t just know how to change a tracheotomy tube; you also understand how to do so while causing minimal stress to the client, and you gained this knowledge or insight through actual experience.

Don’t cling to the status quo.

Nurse managers appreciate candidates who embrace the policies and procedures of the current workplace and let previous practices go. They don’t like to hear the phrase “That’s not how we did it in…” or other comparisons to the past or signs of attachment to old habits. Demonstrate a commitment to growth, change, and best practices.

Use the right terms.

Keywords matter during the healthcare application process. As you draft your resume, make sure you include terms like “patient-centered care”, and terms that specifically reference care planning, therapeutic best practices, and nursing diagnostics. Nursing resumes are often passed through a keyword scanner or are drawn from a resume database using targeted keyword searches, so applying these terms appropriately can increase your chances of a second-round review.

For more on how to stand out as a nursing candidate, contact the healthcare staffing and job search experts at CSS.

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