How to Get a Job as a Registered Nurse

Joe Weinlick
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Registered nurses are in high demand, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 19 percent increase in the number of RN jobs available between 2012 and 2022. The licensing requirements for registered nurses vary by state, but there are several things you can do to improve your chances of getting a job. Follow these tips to become a registered nurse in your state.

Get a bachelor's degree to improve your chances of getting hired. In the past, most registered nurses obtained their licenses after completing a diploma program. Some registered nurses completed two-year associate's degree programs for advanced education and training. The Institute of Medicine now recommends that 80 percent of all registered nurses have BSN degrees by 2020. Some states, such as New York, are even considering an initiative that would require registered nurses to earn their BSN degrees within ten years if they want to remain employed. This means having a bachelor's degree is important for anyone who wants to become a registered nurse.

Spend time networking with other medical professionals. If you aren't finding many nursing job advertisements, talk to people from local hospitals and clinics to see if their employers are hiring. Some facilities advertise job openings internally before they pay for newspaper or Web advertisements, so keep in touch with other nurses. Someone might give you a job lead before the job is advertised in the paper, giving you extra time to get your application in before the recruiter is inundated with resumes. It's important to keep networking after you've already found a job, especially if you want to pursue a nursing specialty or get your master's degree in nursing. You want your contacts to think of you if they see job openings matching your qualifications, so attend networking meetings regularly.

Once you identify a job opening that matches your skills, spend time updating your resume and writing a customized cover letter. Use action verbs and numbers to highlight your skills and convince the recruiter you are the ideal candidate for the job. If you are invited for an interview, practice your answers to common nursing interview questions ahead of time. Be sure to prepare at least three questions to ask the recruiter. Make sure these questions are in-depth ones that require an explanation instead of a "yes" or "no" answer. When you meet with the recruiter, dress appropriately and avoid wearing too much makeup or perfume. Following these tips will help you ace your interview and improve your chances of getting a job to match your interests.

Although registered nurses are in demand, you still have to work hard to compete with other candidates. Improve your chances of getting the job you want by getting a bachelor's degree in nursing, expanding your professional network, and reviewing your application materials carefully before sending them to recruiters. This will help you gain a competitive advantage over other registered nurses.



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