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Managing Your Career
Ace the Application and Resumé
Advice from a nurse recruiter on the first 2 steps to landing your dream job.

Most new nurses spend countless hours gearing up for the interview. But really, the interview is just a fraction of the evaluation process. Before you even meet face-to-face with a potential employer, you must demonstrate through written communication— your application and resume—that you’re a competent professional.

Unfortunately, many new nurses skimp on this important phase of the job-acquisition process.

According to Carolyn Steffel, a nurse recruiter at Edward Hospital (a magnet hospital) in Naperville, IL, new nurses need to ace the application and resume to be taken seriously. Read here her best advice for doing so:

Don’t cut corners on the application process.
Your application is just as important as the interview—if not more important since it’s what gets your foot in the door. But many new nurses rush through the process, especially if applying online, because it feels informal. Be cautious: You need to slow down and be fastidious in how you fill out your application because recruiters evaluate candidates based on them.

Nursing is technologically advanced today, so you need to be able to demonstrate that you can use the automated system through which you are submitting your application. Also, when your application’s documentation is not clear and thorough, many recruiters draw conclusions that you will be similarly careless with your documentation on the job. And you need to give complete information. Don’t say, “See resume.” The application is the legal document, seen even before a recruiter reviews your resume. You don’t want to leave a recruiter wondering what you have and haven’t done—or lead them to believe you’re a corner-cutter by nature.

Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.
Believe it or not, Mrs. Gerund’s 7th-grade grammar class was critical to your present job-seeking success. According to a recent study published by Accountemps, 34% of applications and resumes have grammatical and typo errors. Remember this: Your worth is found in the details. If you rush through your application and resume, peppering it with misplaced commas, misspelled words, and fragments, your professional competency is questionable. Recruiters wonder how you’ll manage a fast-paced career like nursing and keep errors at a minimum. They also question if your lack of attention to detail is an indicator that you’ll be slack with the day-to-day tasks.

Highlight your best—but be truthful.
Think of your resume as your sales brochure. You want to showcase your skills, professional and educational background, and accomplishments--with the purpose of demonstrating how you will benefit the organization. This means you’ll need to research the organization, so you know what its core competencies are. It also will entail picking your “best-of” experiences, so the organization gets a snapshot of your capabilities and won’t get bored by the details. Too much information leads to getting lost among the legions of applications. Also, if you list a competency, skill, or experience, be prepared to discuss it during the interview. Recruiters can catch you stretching the truth by asking for details. Baggy answers point to incapacity. In short: Be clear. Be crisp. Be honest.

Pick the right references—and inform them.
During the application process, you will go through a rigorous screening process. Having references who can speak specifically and positively of your capabilities is critical to standing out among the crowd of applicants. You intuitively know who will speak highest of you based on the quality of relationship you have. But it’s still important to inform your references and maintain a positive relationship with them. Let them know about the job you are applying for and provide them the most up-to-date information about you. This way they know what to highlight about you in their conversation with the interviewer. Also, make sure you have their most current information as well; if they’ve added a title to their name, like Ph.D., you’ll want to include that. Misrepresenting you references demonstrates sub-par professionalism.

Follow up in an appropriate way.
Most organizations have automated applicant tracking systems that immediately notify an applicant via e-mail that his/her application has been received. The length of time it takes to receive a response can vary, depending on if you are applying to an actual open position or sending an unsolicited resume. There can be thousands of applications and resumes that job recruiters are sifting through. Because of this, it often takes two weeks—sometimes longer—to respond to applicants. So don’t follow up on your application for at least that long.

When you do follow up, don’t clog up a recruiter’s e-mail inbox with inquiries. A professional call would be better received and also gives you the opportunity to showcase your communication skills. Be concise, professional, and polite in your follow-up communication. It’s also beneficial to reference the specific position you applied to, versus saying “I want to follow up on my application.” Or, “I have not heard anything about my application.”

Follow-up does not guarantee you will secure a job. But it does leave a positive impression when done correctly.

Read more Managing Your Career articles

One Response to “Ace the Application and Resumé”

  1. jenny Says:

    thanks it will help me.

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