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Searching for a new job can be daunting. With all the options available for nurses out there, even just the idea of getting a new nursing job can be overwhelming. If you are interested in finding a new job for whatever reason, it’s important to follow that instinct. So take a deep breath, and use the tips below to tackle the task.

1. Be patient.

It may take some time to find the right job. Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for and don’t rush into anything. There is currently a nationwide nursing shortage, so take advantage of it. You may not be able to negotiate your hourly wage, but ask about relocation benefits or sign-on bonuses. If you have more than two years of experience in your nursing field, you are going to be highly desirable to hire.

2. Utilize connections.

Getting a new job is all about connections. Maybe you have a friend at the hospital where you would like to work, or you are connected with someone on LinkedIn who is a recruiter. If you make it known you are interested in a job and share your resume with your network, you will be much more likely to catch the attention of a hiring manager. Managers and recruiters enjoy hiring individuals who have personal or professional connections who can vouch for them.

3. Tidy up your resume.

This may sound like a basic criterion for finding a new job, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who overlook this step. Have a friend look over your resume and fine tune any content, spelling, or formatting errors. Your resume is a representation of yourself; make sure you stand out from the crowd (in a good way).

4. Expand your search.

You may be able to search for “____ nursing jobs” in your area and find plenty of options on the DailyNurse job board or sites like Indeed or Monster. But you most likely will also need to search the website of each individual hospital at which you are interested in working. Some businesses will not post their jobs on employment or networking sites. Check back on a daily or weekly basis to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity.

5. Don’t burn bridges.

When you begin to search and apply for new jobs, keep it on the down low. Don’t talk to your coworkers about it until it is official. When you apply for a job and list your manager or coworker as a reference, be sure to give them a heads up about it. If you burn bridges with your current employer, you may find that people are less willing to be a reference for you in the future. (Learn how to quit without burning bridges here.)

Sarah Cruzan, BSN, RN

Sarah Cruzan is a nurse on a Family Maternity Unit.

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