In the moment, nursing school may seem like the end goal. It is important to remember that schooling is not the end. Everything you are doing or have done is to gain employment as a nurse. The competition for nursing positions, especially new graduate nursing positions is fierce. How can you set yourself apart and stand out amongst a sea of deserving candidates? AND how can you do this…on paper!?
- GPA is extremely important. For some positions, you need at least a 3.8 to apply. Take your studies seriously. Don’t let your GPA deprive you of your dream nursing job.
- Get experience. I know nursing school is a lot to handle on its own, however, a job with nursing experience speaks measures…especially if you hold the position for a long period of time. It shows you can handle working and school and that you are a loyal employee. I worked 2.5 years as a nurse assistant to a plastic surgeon. Not only does this look good on paper but I was exposed to so much and was able to perfect my nursing skills!
- If you can’t get paid exposure, volunteer at a hospital. Any additional experience is sure to help!
- If you know where you want to work as an employed RN, get a position there during nursing school. Most hospitals hire internal applicants first. If there are any spots available after reviewing internal applicants, they will look at external applicants. This makes the competition even thicker! You MUST stand out…which is hard to do on paper.
- Get certified in ACLS and PALS before applications open. BLS is the bare minimum requirement as a nurse. Go above and beyond and get ACLS and PALS before you apply to jobs so you can write it on your resume.
- Involve yourself in your University. Gain leadership experience by holding a title in an association. For example, I was the student representative for the Nursing Student Association. I would sit in on faculty meetings and bring forth my cohorts concerns.
- Take on a minor that stands out. I minored in Neuroscience which speaks measures on my application. This minor was rigorous but is completely applicable to any type of nursing. You can minor in Psychology, Child Development, or even Geriatrics but everyone minors in these. Stand out! Push yourself!
- At the very least, gain University honors. This is done by getting a 3.5 GPA or above. Any honors societies you can become members of will strengthen your resume. I was Summa Cum Laude, University and Nursing School honors, Alpha Sigma Nu honors, and Sigma Theta Tau honors.
Don’t apply the “C’s get degrees” mentality…work hard. Be the best nurse you can be! If you were able to get an interview after submitting a job application, CONGRATS! Standing out during an interview is just as important.