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How Confident Job Seeking Can Propel Nursing Careers

Shaking hands in interview


Presentation and preparation can help you land the best-fitting nursing job. 

At the bedside and beyond, nurses are expert communicators. They exhibit confidence in their decision making and critical thinking to achieve the best outcomes. And while these traits are essential components in patient care, they can also help nurses looking for their next role

During your job search, there are many elements to consider -- from salary and benefits to changing schedules and work environments. When you exhibit initiative, confidence, and communication in your search, you can highlight skills you have to offer, connect with potential employers, and grow your nursing career. 

Whether you're a bright, compassionate new nurse with goals and vision or an experienced nurse with knowledge to share, show employers how they will be more successful with you on their team.

First impressions matter

Interviews are one of the first impressions you make with an employer. And it's important to make it count. Attending interviews -- virtually or in person -- is an opportunity to show potential employers who you are. 

According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), this includes telling your story and being a little more vulnerable. So don't shy away from sharing your most authentic skills and competencies and relating them to the job you're applying for. For instance, let's say you're excellent at multitasking and work well under pressure, and you're applying for a role on a critical care unit. Explain how these traits would make you a lucrative part of the unit.

Your personality, skills, and competencies can influence the success in an interview. Because equally smart, experienced, and credentialed professionals are also in the running, managers will aim to hire candidates they see as the best fit for their team.

Building a rapport with your interviewer as you would a new patient is a valuable technique to help you stand out. It not only helps alleviate nervousness or tension but also impresses upon the interviewer that you're the best match for the role. According to Indeed, this can be accomplished in some of the following ways:

  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Listen actively.
  • Remember details from the conversation, especially a person's name and job title.
  • Show genuine interest in the interviewer and their questions.
  • Balance questions or statements, as well as how much time you spend speaking.

Building a rapport and making a genuine first impression helps you set yourself apart from other applicants in today's competitive job market.

Understanding organizations

Doing homework on prospective employers can really help. This is not just to convince recruiters you're the right candidate for the role but to make sure the role is right for you. As you're preparing to present yourself as the best-fitting nurse candidate, keep one question in the back of your mind -- is this the best job for me? 

Whether you're a new or experienced nurse, you should become familiar with organizations you're applying to. It can help prepare you for the interview process and reveal whether your career goals align with each organization's mission, values, and vision. This type of research is especially important if you don't have time to ask questions about every aspect of the role during a recruiter interview. 

Researching employers online or by asking colleagues can give you further insights on their goals, how they operate, and potential career paths within the organization.

Informational interviewing and nursing careers

The job search is an excellent time to take stock and research career options before making a commitment. It also gives you time to discover your true passion. Informational interviews are a great way to discover and explore potential career paths during your job search. 

According to HBR, informational interviews serve as a networking opportunity that allow you to learn more about a particular industry, role, or organization by asking insightful questions. While these are not actual job interviews, they can help you discover whether a job is a good fit by investigating crucial areas such as staffing, scheduling, management style, and coworkers. 

It can be intimidating to reach out to people you don't know, but you may be surprised by the result. Many things might motivate people to make time for you even if they don't know you, and showing an initiative to learn can be one of them. Through informational interviews, you'll not only expand your network but dive even further into your nursing career.

Tips for job seekers

  • Be on time to interviews. Avoid being too early and especially too late. Instead, arrive right on time.
  • Professional dress is still encouraged. Show your personal style with accents rather than a head-to-toe statement.
  • Be aware of your social media presence. There is a very good chance that the interviewer has Googled you or visited your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media site.
  • Be prepared. Arrive ready to be tested on your nursing knowledge. Keep a list of questions on hand to keep your discussion on track. And remember to mention any letters of appreciation from patients, volunteer experience, awards, or documentation of events that highlight your hard work.
  • Send a personal thank-you email or note after the interview.

Job seeking can be overwhelming at times. Just remember that it presents opportunities to explore prospective career paths and helps you gain perspective. Whether you're interviewing for information or your dream job, come prepared with confidence, and you'll be one step ahead.

 Whether you're actively seeking a new role or assessing your next steps, explore's job marketplace to help match your experience and skills to the best-fitting role.