9 Tips for a Nursing Job Search

When it comes to searching for new jobs, nurses have the advantage of having a tried and true profession which allows for a focused job search. However, that doesn’t mean the job search is easy. Moreover, there is a lack of actionable information available on how to find a nursing job. So in this blog post, we’re going to provide 10 tips to help nurses maximize their results with job boards and 2 other useful online tools so they can spend more time engaged with other fruitful job search tactics.

Unfortunately for nurses, much of the information available on how to find nursing jobs is either too general for their unique circumstances or too vague to be of any real use. For example, this article from Lipincott NursingCenter.com tells nurses to prepare their resumes, use search engines like Google, and research potential employers. Thanks!

Meanwhile, NurseTogether.com offers 10 tips from New-Grads who recently landed their first jobs. While these are all nice stories, the information provided is all quite vague or common knowledge.

We cite these websites because they are considered authorities in the field, and rightly so. They are both highly informative and useful resources for nurses and we highly recommend them both. However, this particular subject requires more depth to be truly useful.

Before we begin, we have to point out that the traditional approach to searching for jobs online may be the least productive tactic for landing a job. We’re referring specifically to job boards. Estimates indicate that only 10% to 15% of jobs get filled through job boards. This number could be higher or lower for nurses, we have no way of knowing.

While you certainly need to utilize job boards during your job search, you should also try to minimize the time you spend with them in favor of more fruitful tactics like networking. We hope that the tips below will help you accomplish just that!

Nursing job search tips
  • Register for job boards. A job board is a useful tool for nurses during a job search. …
  • Check the job qualifications. …
  • Enable job alerts. …
  • Use your network. …
  • Volunteer. …
  • Look for keywords. …
  • Attend job fairs. …
  • Don’t get discouraged.

5 Things You MUST Consider: New Grad Nurse Job Search Preparation

How does the nursing job search process work?

When finding a job in nursing, candidates typically research job boards for recent job openings, then they apply to a healthcare facility, clinic, private practice office or hospital, either through a job board or through a companys website. Once an employer receives their application, they decide if the candidate qualifies for an interview. Some employers hire internally, meaning they hire an existing employee to fill a different role within the company. The job search process can sometimes be a lengthy process, since employers may be interviewing several candidates for the role.

Nursing job search tips

Here is a list of tips you can use as you search for a job within the nursing field:

Register for job boards

A job board is a useful tool for nurses during a job search. Job boards are websites that employers can use to post job openings with information about the position and the requirements needed to apply. Candidates can typically apply to the job through the job boards website or they can go to the employers website to fill out an application. Job boards can be a general website that includes a large number of job opportunities, or they can be a specialized job board that includes posting for specific types of work within a field.

You can look for nursing job boards that provide information specifically about nursing jobs available. To register for job boards, sign up for an account through the job boards website. Typically, youll need to create a username and password, and supply an email address.

Check the job qualifications

During a job search, its important to check the qualifications in the job posting to ensure that you are qualified. Some nursing jobs may require specialized certifications and education, which legally require employers to only hire nurses that meet those qualifications. If you are interested in a nursing job that requires a specific certification, research the required certification to learn what you need to do to obtain it and how long it takes to complete. Most individuals can complete nursing certifications within two to four years.

Enable job alerts

Many job boards and job search websites allow you to enable job alerts, which means you can get notified whenever a new job becomes available. Since many hospitals and healthcare facilities often post several new jobs at once, you can filter your job alerts to only notify you of jobs youre interested in or qualified for. This is an essential part of your job search since you can know as soon an employer posts a new opening. Being one of the first applicants for a job posting can set you apart from other candidates and may make you more likely to get the job if the employer is looking to hire someone quickly.

Use your network

When looking for a new job, its important to utilize your network to help you find job opportunities. Throughout school and work experience, individuals typically build up a network of connections within their field. Establishing connections is useful in career advancement, learning new skills and finding job openings. Many employees find out about new job openings within a company before job boards have a job posting, so you can ask contacts within your network, like nurses, doctors or hospital faculty, to see if they are aware of any job opportunities.

An added benefit of networking is that your contacts may keep you in mind if they find out about a job at a later time and inform you of any job openings they find out about.


Volunteering is a great way to build up your network, gain experience and learn about job opportunities. During your job search, volunteering can allow you to hear about job openings you might not have heard about otherwise. If an employer is looking to fill a position within a healthcare facility internally, they may feel compelled to hire a volunteer that already has experience within their organization.

To find volunteer opportunities, look online for healthcare facilities, clinics or hospitals that you feel are a good fit for you to work in, and check if they are accepting volunteers. Many healthcare facilities accept volunteer nurses to do blood work and administrative work.

Look for keywords

When scanning job board sites, you may find it useful to have a set of keywords to focus on so that you can find jobs that are the right fit for you. Using keywords can help narrow your search and ensure that you are finding job posting that you are qualified for. For example, since nurses can typically work overnight hours, you may search for the keyword “first shift” if you want to work during the daytime instead of nighttime. Some job sites allow you to enter keywords into the search bar that allows you to search for jobs using your chosen keywords.

Attend job fairs

A job fair is an event where employers and recruiters can meet potential employees and give information out about their company. Nurses can use a job fair to find healthcare facilities that are actively hiring. Employers at job fairs typically offer handouts, business cards and leaflets about their organization to job seekers so that they have a way of contacting employers. Many healthcare organizations host job fairs for hospitals and clinics to hire a large staff within a short period of time, so nurses may have a good chance of learning about potential job opportunities at job fairs.

Dont get discouraged

Job searches can often take several months, and it may seem like its taking too long to find a new nursing job. Its important to stay positive when looking for jobs, especially since nursing is a field that requires patience and empathy. Try to use any discouragement you might feel and channel it as motivation to continue searching for jobs. Its important to show employers that you are eager and excited to start a new job, while also remaining calm and understanding the longer job search process.

Apply for several jobs

When conducting a job search, its important to apply for several jobs at different companies, instead of only applying for a few jobs. Applying for several jobs can increase your chances of getting an interview. For example, if you are applying for one job a day, you might get an interview after applying for a month straight. Though, if you are applying to five jobs a day, you may be more likely to get an interview after two weeks, since you are increasing the rate that youre sending out applications. Try to find as many jobs openings within healthcare facilities as possible, so that your likelihood of getting an interview and securing a position is higher.


Do nurses have a hard time finding jobs?

Yet despite all of these numbers and sources, swaths of new-grad RNs are having an extremely difficult time finding their first nursing jobs. In fact, the National Student Nurses Association and National League for Nursing released a joint report recognizing the “very competitive job market” for new-grad RNs.

How do you make yourself stand out in a nursing interview?

Seven Tips to Ace Your Interview
  1. Study up on the hospital or clinic. Before the interview, visit your potential employer’s website and learn about their mission and vision. …
  2. Be enthusiastic! …
  3. Dress for success. …
  4. Present a polished resume. …
  5. Don’t mention money right away. …
  6. Talk up your technical skills. …
  7. Send a thank-you note.

Do nursing employers look at GPA?

First, because no one ever asks about GPAs in a nursing interview, they do not matter. Just because nobody has ever asked about your GPA doesn’t mean that it’s not a consideration. It is most certainly a consideration for internships, residency programs, and jobs that are taking on new-grads.

What should I look for in a nursing job?

You will need to look for a job within an environment that is in sync with your personality and temperament. Do you thrive on challenges and adrenaline? If the answer is yes, then it may be a good idea to look for a job in the emergency room or as a trauma nurse.

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