I FINALLY LANDED A NICU NURSING POSITION WITH NO EXPERIENCE AFTER APPLYING TO OVER 80 JOBS!
I received more “rejection” emails than interviews.
Out of all the nursing jobs I applied to, I ONLY had 4 interviews.
I got rejected from those jobs I interviewed for.
I did not know what I was doing wrong.
I needed to figure out WHY.
In this blog, I am going to share with you some life changing resume and interview tips that landed me my NICU nursing position with no experience.
Resume building can be hard to master at times. It is so many formats available that you can use to create your resume.
EXAMPLE: Canva.com is a useful and free website that offers various resume formatting techniques.
When it comes to creating and building your resume, I have learned that organization, formatting AND WORD USUAGE are critical.
Most jobs have resumes go through an applicant tracking system where they filter out candidates based off KEYWORDS used in the resume compared to the words they are looking for in the job posting.
Not all employers use this system, but it is useful to assume they do.
Using keywords that are related to the job you are applying for is crucial.
EXAMPLE: if you are applying to a postpartum or NICU unit at a hospital
Using keywords in your resume such as, “women, children, infants, mothers, neonates”, can be useful if your resume is going through the applicant tracking system.
2. PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY
I added a professional to my resume after months of getting “rejection” emails from employers.
This can provide a little extra flavor to your resume along with allowing you to use those keywords
Since I wanted to change specialities, I figured this was needed to explain my desire of wanting to work with women and children.
This should be the FIRST HEADER on your resume
*Before your educational experience*
EXAMPLE: for someone wanting to switch/change specialties to women’s health or NICU could be:
“Patient-focused, empathetic Registered Nurse seeking a position in women’s health caring for mothers and young infants. Experience working with chronically ill patients in an acute setting for a year. Strong desire to focus on the well-being of women and children. Obtained a certification in lactation counseling. Demonstrates perseverance, attention to detail and a passion for learning.”
This shows the employer or “applicant tracking system”, that you are interested and/or have experience working with that population of people.
And if an employer is first glancing at your resume, THIS IS THE FIRST THING THEY WILL READ.
I honestly feel like this better explained my stance and granted me to receive more call backs for interviews.
I vaguely noted:
WHAT I WAS SEEKING
MY PAST EXPERIENCE/S
EXPRESSED MY DESIRE TO CHANGE SPECIALITIES
ADDED IN SOME OF MY STRENGTHS
NOW on to the “getting them to like you” part of the game!
Interviews… interviews… interviews…
I struggle with interviewing. I could talk to myself for hours in the mirror and have every answer to every question figured out.
But then once it’s my time to shine, I lose all mental thought lol
But I finally figured it out.
Interviewing takes practice. It is a skill that you must learn as time goes on.
It took me messing up 4 other interviews, to land the interview I really wanted and KILL IT.
So here are some tips that helped me land my nursing position working in the NICU.
REVIEW BEHAVIORAL QUESTIONS BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
Employers and interviewers want to get to know your character as a nurse and the only way they can figure this out is by asking you questions related to HOW you handle certain situations.
Trust me, I hate these questions too - but they are necessary to getting the job you WANT.
Google has a ton of behavioral questions for nurses to practice from - just type into the google search engine, "example behavioral questions for nursing job"
Behavioral questions such as:
Tell me about a time when a patient’s family was dissatisfied with your care. How did you handle that situation?
Describe a time you provided effective patient or family education.
Give an example of a time you had to interact with a hostile patient. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome?
Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
These are a few examples that can be used during an interview.
The best way to tackle these questions is to use the STAR method when answering these type of questions.
The STAR Method includes:
Situation: Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish.
Task: What goal were you working toward?
Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on YOU.
Result: Describe the outcome of your actions and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?
I will use the behavioral question, "Describe a time you provided effective patient or family education" to demonstrate how to answer using the STAR Method.
Situation: I had a patient who had Type 2 Diabetes and recently had amputee surgery of her extremities. This was my first day being assigned to this patient. The patient had a Diabetes consult, along with the medical team and nurses involved in her diabetes management.
Task: The goal I was working toward was educating this patient on the importance of following her diabetic diet and the benefits of taking the units of insulin needed based off her blood sugar before she ate each meal.
Action: This patient was not compliant with taking the necessary amount of insulin in the hospital and voiced to me that she only wanted to take a certain amount although I had an order for a sliding scale based on her blood sugar. I initially took it upon myself to allow the patient to express her concerns and then I went on to explain the sliding scale order to this patient and the importance of maintaining her blood sugars through diet and low stress. I gave the patient a print out of a diabetes management form from our patient education list. I also demonstrated how to use the insulin pen and how to clean the site prior to giving the injection.
Result: The patient was receptive to the education and provided teach back to me. I accomplished educating this patient on how to manage her blood sugars and the most effective way to do it. I learned more about diabetes management as I was teaching the patient myself. And I also learned the importance of the teach back method in providing quality care to patients.
This is an easy method to keep you focused and on track to answering the question.
Make sure you have a couple of situations in mind that you have encountered or witnessed BEFORE your interview.
This will make sure you are prepared.
2. ASK RELEVANT QUESTIONS AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW
This is a game changer!
After they have interviewed you, it is time for you to interview THEM!
Some questions that I used during my NICU interview included:
What are the top 3 skills a nurse needs to possess to be successful on this unit?
Are there any resources you recommend (books, articles, etc) I can read to prepare for the position?
What can I do in the mean time to prepare for the position?
What are the next steps in the process?
I truly believe that what landed me my nursing job working in the NICU with NO experience was not only how I answered the questions in the interview, BUT the questions I asked after!
This shows the interviewer that you are eager to learn and have a strong desire to be successful on the unit and prepare for the new position you will be in.
3. IT IS OKAY TO BE NERVOUS.. BUT BE YOURSELF!
I hope these tips and tricks help you on your next interview! I went through a lot of rejections before finally getting that “YES, we want to give you an offer!”
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember that just because someone “rejected” or told you “no” does not mean you are not good enough.
You ARE good enough.
I like to look at those “rejections” as redirections from the Universe. It is something out there better for you. And that “NO” was just a blessing in disguise. So keep going!
The most important advice I can give you is: BE YOURSELF.
You have nothing to prove to anyone, not even these employers.
The most important thing you can offer is WHO YOU ARE.
Your personality, your character, your love for nursing - that is what truly matters.
And that is what will make you feel fulfilled.
Do not be someone that you are not. You have all the tools inside yourself to create the life you want. What is for you WILL be for you. And I promise you that.
Take a deep breath, calm your nerves and go KILL that interview.
The only thing you can do is YOUR best.
I am always here if you need me.
Comment below if these tips and tricks helped you at all! I would love to hear your experience!
The Nurse Empath.