So you’ve survived nurse practitioner school, passed your national board-certification exam, and — with your head barely above water — you’ve struck out into the job-hunting jungle. But where to begin? They don’t really prepare you for this in school.
Never fear! Only a few years ago, I too was fighting my way through the tangled Amazon of resumes, recruiters, and residencies. This article offers the brass tacks of assessing your career opportunities, preparing your curriculum vitae, and persevering through this inevitability challenging time.
The New Grad Checklist
First, ask yourself if you want to do a residency program. Residency and fellowship programs for nurse practitioners come in all shapes and sizes. They provide opportunities to gain additional experience and knowledge in your clinical specialty, and they often allow nurse practitioners to subspecialize in areas of interest such as dermatology, oncology, and emergency medicine. Consider choosing a program that educates its nurse practitioner and physician residents together.
You’ll need to develop a strong resume, cover letter, and list of professional references. Remember, these items illustrate who you are to a potential employer. Be sure to include your education, licenses, certifications, and experiences. Use the free grammar checker at Grammarly.com to catch any lingering errors, and be sure to customize your application for each job.
You should also consider hopping on the LinkedIn train. This social media platform is specifically designed for professional networking, and it allows you to create and publish an online resume, display your achievements, and maintain professional contacts. You can use it to connect with recruiters and search for jobs. Feel free to check out my LinkedIn profile and connect with me for inspiration!
Where Do You Want to Work? Know Your Options
Nurse practitioners, including new graduates, have the option to work in a variety of settings. As you embark on your job hunt, reflect on your ideal practice setting. Ask yourself:
- Clinic or hospital?
- Urban or rural?
- National or international?
- Inpatient or outpatient?
- East coast or west coast?
- Nights and weekends or Monday through Friday?
- Permanent or locum tenens?
- In-person or telemedicine?
- Private practice or hospital affiliation?
Consider the Unconventional
As you explore your options, consider unconventional facilities such as homeless shelters, jails, retail clinics, cruise ships, military bases, corporations, and American Indian reservations. Locum tenens jobs offer a unique opportunity to try a variety of settings in a short amount of time. Beginning your career with locum tenens awards higher pay, independence, and the ability to test out different types of practice settings
New grads may wish to apply for nonclinical positions as well. There are many opportunities for those interested in careers outside of direct patient care, though you may not have heard much about them in school. Publishing companies need writers and editors. Hospitals need educators. Public health offices need advocates. Cities need councilors. Technology corporations need product managers. Universities need professors. Law firms need consultants. Volunteer agencies and nonprofits need, well, volunteers. The opportunities are truly endless for nurse practitioners.
Getting Down to Business
After all that contemplating, it’s time to get to work. You need to write that resume, build that LinkedIn profile, and get out and network. Join the American Association of Nurse Practitioners as well as your local nurse practitioner group. Consider attending Meetups tailored toward healthcare, nursing, and medicine.
During networking events, be sure to bring business cards to exchange with your colleagues to stay in touch. Business cards are cheap and easy to make on Vistaprint. After each event, connect with the people you met on LinkedIn, and send them a brief thank-you message. Building up a list of professional connections can help you find more opportunities in the long run.
As you maneuver through the job jungle, don’t give up! Stay positive, and remember how exciting it is to join the nurse practitioner profession. Although it may be tough to weed through the recruiters and questions and logistics, you’ll come out on top with an awesome job. Trust me, if you made it through nurse practitioner school, you can make it through anything!
For more advice on what to do after you graduate, read this article. If you're considering locum tenens work, please click below to learn more about our current job openings across the U.S.
About Dr. Melissa DeCapua, DNP, PMHNP
Dr. Melissa DeCapua is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who graduated from Vanderbilt University. She has a background in child and adolescent psychiatry as well as psychosomatic medicine. Dr. DeCapua currently works as a healthcare advisor at a telenursing startup called PointNurse and as a design researcher in the technology industry. In both roles, she guides product development by combining her clinical expertise and creative thinking. She is a strong advocate for empowering nurses, and she fiercely believes that nurses should play a pivotal role in shaping modern healthcare. For more about Dr. DeCapua, check out her blog at melissadecapua.com and follow her on Twitter @melissadecapua.
This page includes a cover letter example for a Nurse Practitioner with 15 years of nursing experience. The document is also a useful reference for any type of nurse or health care professional.The introduction provides you with an example of how you would respond to specific job advertisement. This particular letter is in response to a job ad in the Boston Globe.
The writer documents their accreditation and licenses. The job seeker continues on to detail experience in Emergency (ER), treatment plans, diagnosis and health care regulation.
The first bullet identifies the scope of their experience within a 50 bed critical care unit. The additional bullets drive home the focus of the cover letter to specifically target positions involving treatment plans, standards and practices.
The last paragraph emphasizes their 15 years of experience as a Nurse Practitioner. The job seeker also requests a job interview.
Nurse Practitioner Cover Letter Example
Nurse Practitioner Cover Letter Writing
This is a job with a lot of duties and sometimes it is difficult to come up with worthwhile accomplishments. One of the best strategies is to emphasize your ability to consistently maintain productivity and show a capability for juggling multiple tasks. And if you have done something in the past that had a positive result in a process or even just providing service to a patient or family, then make sure to include this on the cover letter.
Also, this is a job for someone that really cares about people. Many people in this job will simply list their knowledge, experience and duties in the resume and cover letter. If you can display your passion for doing the job and working with patients, you are much more likely to get called in for an interview.
More Cover Letter Examples
Nurse Practitioner Cover Letter Sample By Resume Companion