When I first told people I was making this career change, I got lots of different reactions. One remark almost everyone made is that, in nursing, at least I would always be easy to find a job. I thought the same thing. As it turns out, when you're a new grad here in Large Midwestern City, it's a lot harder than you think.
The problem isn't that there are no jobs. It's just that the market is flooded with new graduates. At my university alone there were near 100 of us in the ABSN program, and about the same number again in the traditional 4-year program. Extrapolate that out for all the other nursing schools in the area, and the number you wind up with is a job applicant's nightmare.
There are quite a few hospitals in town, but each one can only take on so many new grads at a time. See, nursing school does not prepare us to be fully independent practitioners of nursing. It prepares us just enough that we are ready to learn the rest. An RN's first hospital job will generally provide about 2-4 months of additional training and supervision, which makes hiring a new grad very expensive. With only so much money to go around in this economy, entry-level RN positions are getting a bit scarce.
By this point I have already tried the easy path and called on my friends, acquaintances, contacts, instructors, preceptors, and clinical sites. Nepotism has failed me. I'm down to sending in blind applications for open job postings.
Thus far it seems like my applications are not clearing the first hurdle, because I just haven't been getting any calls back. I'm sure that once I interview I can impress a nurse manager and land a position, but my resume must not be hitting the right health care buzzwords for HR. All my fancy leadership and collaboration experience is listed under IT jobs which they probably aren't bothering to read.
This week I'm going to step it up a notch. Instead of doing as the ads say and waiting for a response, I'm going make lots of phone calls and actively pester the HR folks. It may not be entirely polite, but it has worked for several of my (now freshly employed) classmates. Besides, it can't generate any fewer interviews than my current strategy.