Take a deep breath…the hard part is over. You have received your Masters and now the fun part begins…searching for a job! Congratulations on surviving the last couple of years and enduring the arduous task of completing your Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant program. Get excited for the next chapter of your life! Although finding a job can be daunting, if you can survive your NP and PA program you will find a job.
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned candidate or a new graduate, there is no surefire way to get the perfect position. The key is to be open and flexible. This is especially important as a new graduate. When making a move in your career, the attitude you have is very important. Always go towards something and never run away from something you don’t like.
Get things prepared to find that perfect position.
Making sure you know what you’re after when you do start your search is important. Think about what matters to you most. Is it schedule, money, location, practice setting…there is no wrong answer here, it is you and what you want. Prioritize these things and consider them strongly when evaluating a position. There are many variables when looking for a position. It’s healthy to have some variables that outweigh others. There are some that you should be flexible on and it certainly makes sense that others are a must.
Get your CV polished up. I think there is a common misconception out there that one’s CV has to be a magical document that is going to open doors and make people want to hire you on the spot. If you have a wealth of experience, sure, this could happen. However, as a newbie, you don’t have much experience to refer too. As a new graduate, you do have some clinical exposure, this does count for something but unfortunately not as much as you would like. Your experience as this point is what it is. Keep your CV simple, clear and concise. Don’t bother putting it on colored scented paper or trying to make it flashy and fun to look at. Provide details on your professional history, education, and other pertinent points that are professional in nature. I will do a future post on composing the perfect CV.
One thing to keep in mind and is very commonly overlooked is the personal aspects that play into the job search. When I provide our clients with details about a prospective candidate, I make sure they know why the candidate wants to be in their community and what is going to keep them there. Very rarely does a client ask if the candidate does x, y, and z procedure. The first question they ask is why do they want to be in our community and what is going to keep them here? As a new graduate you must understand that a healthcare facility is investing in you. The employer is going to spend time training and mentoring you. This is an investment on the employer’s part to ensure both parties feel comfortable with you having your own panel of patients. When communicating your interest in a position always make sure to highlight why the facility is going to retain you from a personal standpoint. They want to know you are personally vested in a location. You have kids in school, your husband owns a business in the area, your entire family is there and the importance of you being close to them, or that you are an avid outdoor recreationalist and their community provides every option for you to enjoy things personally outside of work. Retention is often the most important thing in a client’s mind when they hire someone and especially a new graduate.
Talk to people…get out and network.
This one seems like a no brainer, right? Let people know your looking for a job. Talk to friends, colleagues, those fellow clinicians your working with in your clinical rotations, anyone. You never know who may be the person that is going to introduce you to your new professional opportunity. There are now many resources on line, including social media, that are easy ways to let a great number of people know you’re seeking a position. There is no shame in being in the job hunt, especially having just completed your training. I am sure most programs have career advisors and avenues that help to introduce you to employment options outside of your program. I of course am and an advocate of Recruiters. Recruiters can give you advice about the market and what they are seeing. Anyone of our Recruiters has a wealth of knowledge about what it takes to find a new position. It is what we do every day.
Cast your net wide to increase your options.
Since you know what you’re looking for, you have networked to let others know your looking, now you need to make sure those entities that are hiring know your looking. Remember, a healthcare facility doesn’t have to be advertising they are hiring for them to be hiring. Reach out to clinics you know or want to work for and ask if they are hiring even if you’re not sure they are. Go by personally and visit with facilities if you’re able to. Humility is key right now in your search. Be confident but not over confident. Speak of your skills and what you can offer a practice in a “humble confidence”.
The more people you contact and the more jobs you apply for the more options you will have. Always keep in mind what your priorities are in taking your first position. When positions present themselves be flexible. Consider how that position fits into your overall goals as a clinical practitioner. I would bet your first position won’t be perfect. Perfect positions are likely being filled by other candidates that have experience. Don’t worry, you’ll be there soon!