I have some big news for those who have been regular readers of my blog – I accepted a new nursing position!
I’ve been interested in pursuing research and saw the job posting on my local university’s website at the beginning of January.
I thought the position sounded interesting and exciting. I decided to apply, not because I was unhappy with my current job, but because this one held a fascinating interest for me that I deemed worthy of a resume revamp and cover letter. If I didn’t apply, then I had zero chance of being considered. The worst that could happen is rejection, right? So I sent in my application.
I ended up getting invited for a first interview with the research coordinators and research nurses, and then a few weeks later I was offered a follow-up interview with the principal investigators. I was definitely nervous and the dangerous winter snowstorm didn’t help my nerves as I drove to the meetings, but both of the interviews went well. Soon after, I received the offer phone call, and having already thought long and hard about it, I accepted. To say that I am jazzed about the new position is an understatement!
I will be working as a research nurse, which means that my job will involve both research aspects and nursing duties.
It will be a blend of working with patients and working with investigators. I will be collecting data, educating patients, organizing patient visits, delivering infusions, and much more. The new job will be a definite change from the pace and daily activities of an outpatient clinic nurse, but I’m ready.
My new team seems great, and I’m excited to work with them.
6 Tips to Help You Through the Application Process
I have some recommendations for nurses going through the application process for a new job. Here are my fresh thoughts from personal experience:
1. Carefully read the job requirements and qualifications.
This is the easiest way to determine if any future work (applying, interview, etc) is worth your time. For example, if a job requires two years of critical care nursing experience or an oncology certificate (none of which I have), I will not be applying for it. If it’s a job that I might want to apply for in the future, man do I have my work cut out for me to get the proper experience and/or certifications!
2. Edit your resume and cover letter to specifically address the position you are applying for.
Generic application materials don’t catch the employer’s attention.
As I applied for this job and underwent the process of interviewing, I was brought back to summer 2018, when I was applying for my first nursing job after passing the NCLEX.
I had to critically look at my resume and think, “What would catch the hiring manager’s attention? Is this worded the best that it can be? How do I display my qualifications in an honest, sincere manner?”
Additionally, because this is a research institution, I incorporated past research experience and publications along with clinical skills.
The new-and-improved resume was tailored to fit the research position I was shooting for.
My cover letter, too, specifically outlined how my past experience shaped me into a good candidate for the job.
When I looked at the preferred qualifications and daily job duties for the research nurse role, I wove together my letter like a quilter pieces together a project, trying to masterfully display how many different pieces have made me into a nurse that could thrive in such an environment.
As always, I had trusted readers edit and comment on my resume and cover letter to make sure that it had no grammatical errors.
3. Be honest in your personal assessment.
If you are honest about your skills, you can confidently proceed in any interview process.
It doesn’t do any good to over-embellish your qualifications. It actually probably hurts you, because employers then assume you are comfortable with certain duties that you may not be.
When you work in patient care, this could have detrimental effects on patient safety!
What I recommend is thinking about how your true experience and strengths will fit into the job position.
Also, it’s helpful to remember that sometimes your out-of-the-box past experiences might be interesting to the employer and highlight aspects that you might not have even thought about.
4. Prepare for the interview.
a) Brainstorm possible interview questions. Practice, practice, practice.
It’s especially helpful to have situation experiences you can draw from, such as past difficult experiences, a time when you had to think critically, etc.
b) Research the institution and supervisors you will be working for.
It’s fun to be able to ask specific questions about particular events that happen at an institution. It shows you care enough about the position to put in extra energy to learn more about the environment you might be a part of soon.
c) Pick out an interview outfit at least the day before.
This is not just a girl thing – you need to make sure you are professional and clean when you interview.
d) Mapquest the drive and plan for traffic.
I had to drive across town to get to my interview, and the day that I drove was a nightmarish winter storm. I drove at a snail pace, but I successfully made it in time!
5. Write out the pros and cons.
I’m a huge list-maker. It helps me organize my thoughts and imagine myself actually working in a future position. The good, the bad, the mediocre…it all factors into overall life satisfaction.
It’s also great to talk through the pros and cons with trusted friends. Sometimes they see things you don’t!
6. Be patient.
This is the hardest piece of advice of all. Even if the hiring manager gives you a target date that they hope to have a decision by, there’s always the possibility that it could take another day or two (and let me tell you, those days are by far the hardest to sit through).
If you are looking for your next career move, my friends at myRN Staffing Solutions would love to help.