Nursing Blogs

No experience necessary?


Image: Creatas | Thinkstock

New graduate nurses are feeling the squeeze of the economy. Many new grads, and even some of the seasoned nurses looking to change specialties, are butting heads with the “experience” barrier. Landing that first (or new) job is more challenging than ever due to the strain on the economy. Whatever happened to that nursing shortage?

While I cannot magically offer you the experience most employers are looking for these days, here are some measures you can take to increase your chances of landing that first job.

Add more feathers

To your cap, that is. You may not be able to add the needed experience to your resume, but maybe you can add other appealing features to convince the next potential employer to choose you. Be sure to list all your certifications, and pursue some that don’t require years of experience. While it may not be required to have your ACLS or PALS certification, it shows you’re looking to improve your current practice.

In addition to certifications, take this opportunity to pursue advancing your degree. Showing that you are working towards your (next) degree raises the eyebrows of would-be employers.


This is a sister to those feathers I was referring to. What sets you apart from other candidates? Do you have other experiences that can contribute to the overall need of the facility? Do you have managerial experience? What about customer service? It’s not so much about your nursing skills here, but maybe your interpersonal and communication skills. Trust me, employers care about it.

Think outside the box

While your ideal job may be in the ICU, or ER, or OR, maybe you should expand your initial job search to include general (med-surg) medical care, long-term care, home health, or even telenursing. In this tough economy, a job is better than no job. And any experience is better than no experience. Think of it this way: It could be another step towards the entrance through the door you really want.


What are you willing to sacrifice? Expand your search to include part-time positions, NOC shifts, swing shifts or jobs that require travel. You’d be surprised how much more opportunity there is in neighboring counties. I don’t think there is a nurse out there not willing to make sacrifices–I guess the question is, how big of a sacrifice are you willing to make?


I remember the first time I actually asked for help from a fellow friend and colleague concerning employment. It was the most difficult pill I ever had to swallow. I have since learned there is nothing wrong with asking for help. When we were taught to utilize our resources, I guess we never imagined applying the idea to job-searching.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. If you don’t get that job you wanted, ask the potential employer what you could do and can do to change their minds. Sometimes it’s not about the experience you need, but the experience you give. Best of luck out there.

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