You've graduated. Now what? Reality is here and ready to pull you in. Student loans haunting you, your parents questioning your choices as a "real" adult, and no more sleeping in until noon. As a fairly recent new grad, I have found myself embracing moments of true adulthood. Starting my 401k, buying "real" furniture, taking vitamins, even shopping at Whole Foods. Life on the wild side. The truth is, post grad life is actually pretty awesome. Sure, you don't go out Tuesday through Sunday or hit up Taco Bell at 2 am, but you GET to work hard for what you have. Yeah, GET to work. Coming out of college, we often expect the opportunities to be staring us in the face. You worked hard for a degree, so give me the job? Right? Wrong! Even with the high demand of nurses and healthcare providers, being a new grad is rough. Here are some tips for finding a job and being successful once you land that new job!
Apply with a purpose: Know what you are applying for. Not just the job title, but the details. Did you look at the location? Do you know anything about the company/facility? Yes, you want to apply as many jobs that interest you, but not just any job. If and when you get an interview, you want to remember applying. Keeping track will also help in following up on a position.
Know the company: Similar to above, before you apply, check them out online. They will do the same for you, so why not educate yourself? This goes for interview time too. Don't be afraid to ask in depth questions. It will show your interest as well as give you an idea of the people who work there, based on their answers.
Volunteer: Being in the healthcare field, you are lucky enough to be in demand. Use a couple hours a week to volunteer somewhere that relates to your career path. This will help you network organically, try something new, and help people (which is hopefully your overall goal being in healthcare). You are also a new grad, so you probably have some free time you can spare. It feels good. Just do it.
Network: I know, the term networking is so overused and has become almost as annoying as the word "synergy". But really, network. Building relationships by networking can lead to a job, a reference, a partner for collaboration. Find a mentor, let those who are experienced share their knowledge and ask questions! Those above you were new grads once, they understand. It truly is "who you know."
Put yourself out there: Make an employer think you are as special as your mom tells everyone you are. Don't be afraid to talk yourself up. Doing that correctly can be tough. Bragging vs selling yourself. Use the past, present, and future to express your hiring potential. What in past made you want to become a RN/PT/SLP, so on? What are you currently doing to pursue that passion (i.e. volunteering to strengthen your experience), and finally where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? Are you going to further your education? Do you want to travel overseas to be a nurse? Start a nonprofit therapy organization? You are young, eager, and intelligent, so show them you are!
Be open: There is a difference between accepting ANY job and taking opportunities as they come. Don't be so picky about your job that you let great positions slip by. The whole "dream job" thing doesn't always happen on your first attempt, probably not your 2nd or 3rd either. You will however, find a job you love. It takes time to learn and adapt in your new environment, but be open to taking on any tasks. Stepping up when help is needed will show leadership as well as your investment in your company/facility. Be a utility player. Just because it isn't in the hard copy of your job description, does not mean you are above it. Setting your demands too high and focus on a small box will only hold you back. You won't start at the top, so be patient.
Lose the whole "case of the Mondays" mind set: I get it, the weekend is over and you had to wake up early and work, BUT YOU HAVE A JOB! You have another chance to make a difference and you are getting paid to do so. Whether your "Monday" is really on a Monday or it is a Thursday (nurses work weekends, we know), go in with the mindset it is a new week. You would be surprised how contagious a sunny disposition can be. No matter what day of the week it is, have a solid routine to make your day run smoothly. Take a few minutes to view your day ahead. Then go make it happen!
I am sure you have heard the same advice over and over, but if you're not taking any of it and you're still jobless, it might be time to reevaluate your approach. Be the person you would want to hire.
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