Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for a short or long time, it can feel like a daunting task to try to find a job again. The following are a few strategies that can help make the process a little easier for you.
Take extra care with your job-seeking tools
A resume with an employment gap of several years or more will likely raise red flags for most employers. Seeking professional assistance from a resume writer or career coach to help you explain the absence in the best way on your resume, cover letter or application is prudent. If you feel you can write a strong resume and cover letter on your own, turn to knowledgeable colleagues and friends for proofreading and feedback.
Create a simple, yet elegant, business card with your name, credentials, phone number and email address that you can hand out after interviews. This is helpful for personal branding and networking.
Realistically assess the employment landscape
Even if your absence from nursing lasted only a year or two, the employment landscape may have changed significantly. Read articles about the current employment environment and reach out to former colleagues and other healthcare professionals for support and advice. Also, a career coach with experience in healthcare and nursing can help get you on the right track.
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook is an excellent resource for information on most occupations. Regional differences may not be accurately reflected in the DOL statistics; however, it still offers the earnest job-seeker important data he or she should consider.
Networking is vital
Contacting former colleagues, connecting with local nursing and healthcare professionals online, and leaning into your local network are all worthwhile strategies for a nurse reentering the workforce. Networking and building relationships is a crucial aspect of the job search process, as opposed to simply submitting resumes and responding to advertisements for open positions. According to a 2008 Gallup study, personal connections and networking were cited by more than two-thirds of respondents as important in landing a position.
If several years of unemployment are seen as a potential liability by certain employers, even a strong resume may not hold up under closer scrutiny when compared to other candidates. Influential individuals with whom you have authentic connections will be more likely to help you find an appropriate reentry position or recommend you to a colleague.
You also should consider attending meetings of local, state or regional nursing organizations for the purposes of networking and exposure to other professionals.
Be patient with yourself
Returning to the working world can be stressful, so pace yourself, practice self-care and be mindful of your expectations of how the process might unfold. Find ways to build your confidence and hold your head high as you reassert your expertise and forge a renewed path within the nursing profession.