14 May 2014
Looking for a new job can be a stressful process. However, for a professional who hasn’t been in the market for a new job in at least a decade, the pressure of this search can be magnified. Not only do they have to adapt to new methods of job searching, but they also must ensure that they are well educated on common industry trends and demands, so they can present themselves as the most marketable candidate possible. “Since the healthcare industry has evolved significantly over the past few years, this concept is especially applicable to the more seasoned nursing professionals that we work with,” explains Amanda Cruse, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division. “Many of our nursing candidates, who have been out of the job market for some time, don’t realize how drastically the market has changed and what requirements they need to meet to be considered by employers.” Therefore, if you are an experienced nursing professional who suddenly finds yourself back in the job market, for whatever reason (a layoff, desire to look for a new opportunity, etc.), here is Amanda’s checklist for success: Polish your resume: Employers want to see that your clinical skills are up-to-date. As a result, make sure the beginning of your resume highlights all your renewed certifications and any continuing education classes you have taken. In the same vein, omit anything from 20 years prior. “If you haven’t been utilizing those skills or maintained that certification in many years, chances are those skills are outdated, and therefore, aren’t relevant to your job search,” says Amanda. Take some refresher/certification classes: “When working in one specialty or within one facility for many years, it becomes easy to become pigeonholed into using the skills/certifications that are specifically relevant to the role over and over again, while losing experience with other clinical skills,” notes Amanda. “As a result, when looking for a new opportunity, it’s important to take some continuing education classes and ensure that the certifications you didn’t utilize in your previous position are current.” As a starting point, here are some certifications you should look into: IV Therapy Phlebotomy CPR Infection Control Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) Pediatrics Advanced Life Support (PALS) or Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS) Ensure you have all your credentials: When applying to jobs, you have to be prepared with copies of your nursing registration (it expires every 4 years, so make sure it’s current), your license, and diploma. “Many nurses who haven’t been in the job market for years don’t realize that employers will ask for proof of all these credentials, so if for some reason you don’t have a copy of any of these materials, apply for a replacement as soon as possible,” advises Amanda. In addition, before applying to jobs, it’s important to see your physician for a physical (with blood work), get a PPD test, tetanus shot and flu shot, and go for a chest x ray. Healthcare employers require that all their employees are clear in all these areas, so make sure that you are proactive about making your appointments – especially since it is often difficult to get one at the last minute. In addition, it might be a good idea to get malpractice insurance to show employers that you’ve got all your bases covered. Enroll in a BSN program: While in the past, many employers were open to hiring candidates with their Associate’s degree, today an increasing number of healthcare providers are looking for new hires with a Bachelor’s. As a result, if you have your Associate’s in Nursing, you can increase your professional marketability by enrolling in a BSN program at night, or when your schedule allows you to. Be flexible: It’s important to be open to different opportunities that come your way and be flexible with your shifts – especially if you are currently unemployed. “Though you may be holding out for your dream job, it’s important to keep in mind that the longer you stay out of a job, the more clinical skills you lose,” warns Amanda. “Your dream job may come along a year later, and if you haven’t been keeping your skills current, you will have a much harder job getting an offer. As a result, it’s best to keep your options open.” For experienced nurses, as an increasing number of Americans have begun seeking healthcare, now is an excellent time to look for a job! There are not only newly created positions to consider, but also many opportunities in new healthcare facilities such as managed long-term care facilities to take advantage of. You might have the right experience, so you have to make sure you are prepared with all of the materials and qualifications employers are looking for!