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Build a successful career with the right marketing tools

The right plan and tools will help you carve out a successful nursing career

I’m in the big room now, wired for audiovisual. I have four techs in the front and behind for support. My back-to-back sessions may have 1,000 participants. The demand is high because I’m speaking about how to find the right job for the 15th time at the National Student Nurses’ Association’s annual conference. Attendees are exceptional nursing students, the kind who come up to me and ask heady questions such as, “How do I become a nursing leader?” But after graduation, it comes down to a question that’s on the mind of  nurses throughout their professional lives, “How do I get the right job?”

Assuming you have researched and found what you believe is the job for you, there are things you can do to increase your chance of getting it, regardless of how long you have been a nurse. The job market is flooded with equally qualified candidates, so you need to sell yourself as the one special nurse who is uniquely suited for that position. Remember, organizations that have a job opening have a problem, a vacancy that represents work not being done. If you market yourself as a product that represents the solution, you have a better shot at success. But what makes a good product?

Presentation: Whether we like it or not, many people judge others based on their appearance, so look smart in every professional situation, not just a job interview. When you do get that interview, we have cutting-edge tips for acing it from Donna Cardillo, MA, RN, CSP, a well-known career expert, in our new nursing career guide.

Content: As nurses, we all have basic education that allowed us to become licensed. However, the most successful job candidates have supplemented their entry-level program with further formal and continuing education and certifications. Plan for lifelong formal credentialing, and you give yourself a leg up on competing nurses who haven’t. If you don’t have the resources right now to enter graduate school, make sure you’re certified in your specialty. has certification courses that help you prepare for every conceivable specialty examination. You also can count on to stay abreast of emerging specialties, which are explored in our career guide.

Reliability: All nurses need to be rock solid in their credentials, experience and expertise. You must be able to deliver on what you say you have, so people can depend on you as a product, whether you are a new or seasoned professional.

Reputation: Fair or not, people evaluate products not only through their own use but also through word of mouth from others. Always do your best and know that others are watching. You need good references, not burnt bridges. You should be mindful of your reputation; it will follow you around like a vengeful devil or a guardian angel. It’s your creation.

Accessibility: Once you have developed yourself into a desirable product, you need to make yourself available. Make sure your email address and phone number are accurate and reliable, and your voicemail message is polished and professional. Be ready to respond within 24 hours to employer queries. If you’re going away for an extended time, be sure to reflect that in your email and phone messages.

Methods for nurses seeking a job haven’t changed, but some of the traditional tools have. Tips on resumes, interview techniques, job boards and emerging specialties are all discussed within our nursing career guide as well as what the nursing job market and salaries look like today. You’ll also find referrals to more online sources that can help keep you in charge of your career path. Learn what is new and how to apply innovations to enhance your status as that special nurse whom organizations are seeking. Once you have satisfied the product basics listed above, you can devote your time to making yourself stand out among your colleagues. In the months ahead, I will be writing a careers blog devoted to just that. You’ll find it on Please come back periodically to see what I have to say.

Courses Related to ‘Career Building’

CE166-60: Networking for Career Advancement (1 contact hr)
The goal of this networking continuing education program is to enhance nurses’ skills in professional networking to keep their career development strategies robust.

CE621: Jumpstart Your Career in Nursing Informatics (1 contact hr)
This continuing education program will update your knowledge about nursing informatics as a specialty. After studying the information presented, you will be able to discuss the relevance of this nursing specialty to healthcare reform initiatives and today’s high-tech health information environment, explain educational pathways and identify healthcare organizations and businesses that employ nurse informaticists (informaticians).

CE140-60: Interviewing for Career Advancement (1 contact hr)
The goal of this continuing education program is to enhance nurses’ ability to prepare for and participate in job interviews.

By | 2021-03-01T11:41:16-05:00 January 5th, 2017|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs, Nursing News|0 Comments
Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN
Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, is OnCourse Learning's executive vice president and chief clinical executive. He also is founder and CEO of the Forum for Shared Governance ( As an editor for, Hess penned editorials on career topics. As a presenter at professional conferences, Hess often addresses participants on how to find the right job and steps for building a successful career.

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