You’re winding up your final semester in nurse practitioner school, it’s time to dust off your resume and prepare for the job hunt. Some areas of the country have more nurse practitioners than positions, so it’s important to present your best self to future employers.
First Impressions Matter
Your first impression starts before you ever answer a call or meet with a prospective employer. Check out this list of dos and don’ts as you enter the workforce of clinicians.
Polish your resume
Update education to include advanced degrees
Clean up your social media (yes, prospective employers are looking)
Write a cover letter
List only nursing and clinical history (No need to include your year working at Dairy Queen in high school.)
List experience and education starting with the most recent
List clinical rotations (Experienced NPs can eliminate this section)
Use a synopsis of the type of patients you treated
Keep it simple. (1-2 pages is generally sufficient.)
Don’t include your full address. City and state are fine. (This protects you.)
Don’t list your high school or non-industry jobs
Don’t list long descriptions of your work (Employers know what nurses do. See note above about synopsis of patients treated instead.)
Don’t use crazy fonts or colors.
Preparing for the Interview
Congratulations! If you’ve scored an interview you’re well on your way to a new career as a nurse practitioner. In today’s world, most first interviews happen via video call. That doesn’t mean you get to skimp on being prepared though.
Start by making sure you’ve dressed appropriately. By wearing your full interview attire including pants or a skirt you’ll feel more self-confident which comes across in the interview even if the interviewer never sees more than your top half. Make sure you’ve styled your hair and look your best.
Find a quiet place for your interview with reliable internet. Test the connection beforehand. Also, do a run-through of the interview by turning on your device’s camera and seeing what your interviewer sees. Now’s the time to move the dirty clothes in the background that you didn’t realize would show in the camera shot.
Possible Interview Questions
We can’t possibly list all the interview questions you might be asked by a prospective employer. We know our favorites, but we did a little research too.
Here are some of the most common and general interview questions you’ll probably be asked:
Prospective employers will more than likely also ask situational questions such as:
Review clinical cases you’ve handled and have several stories prepared for the interview. If you haven’t managed any cases exactly like the ones your interviewer describes, relate the case to one you have experienced.
You can find lists of great questions to help you prep for the interview online. Some of our favorites are on LinkedIn, Indeed, and The Interview Guys.
Negotiating the Deal
If you’ve gotten this far in your process, go ahead and do an arm pump and a happy dance. You’ve aced the resume and interview process, and you’re looking at a job offer. Hold up before you sign on the dotted line. The deal you’re being offered may look good at first glance, but take another look. Are you happy with the salary? The vacation time? The extra benefits?
If not, now’s the time to speak up. You don’t have to accept an offer that’s not in line with your goals moving forward. You can negotiate a deal that allows you to move closer to the lifestyle you want to have. Barbara Phillips, APRN, GNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, covers some great information about the business side of being a nurse practitioner. We especially like this article with tips on how to ask for what you want.
Yes, by negotiating you do run the risk your prospective employer won’t step up to meet your requests, then you have to decide whether or not this is the job for you. On the other hand, you might just end up with a more comfortable salary, an extra week of vacation, or dedicated charting time.
Completing your nurse practitioner degree and passing boards opens an entire world of opportunity for you. We can’t wait to see how you grow our profession!
As a longtime NP with a desire to help and make positive changes to her beloved profession, Lynn often writes opinion pieces about the NP profession.
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