Employment Search and Interview Strategies for NPs

One essential part of every Nurse Practitioner’s career is the part where they land the job. It can be hard to find the perfect job for you within the Nurse Practitioner profession and even harder to make it yours. In this article, we’ll go over some resources for finding jobs as well as tips for writing a compelling resume and interview strategies for NPs. 

Related: Optimizing Your NP Career 

How can Nurse Practitioners find out about new job opportunities? 

Searching for a job can be a long and tiring process. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make it easier and give yourself a better chance of landing your next dream job.  

How can Nurse Practitioners become more involved in the profession? 

The first way to give yourself a leg up in the job search is to become a member of a state or national Nurse Practitioner organization like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). When you get your board certification, take the opportunity to join the network. The cost of membership will pay itself back in dividends as this is a great way to broaden your professional network and learn about new job opportunities.  

Such organizations often have job listings, networking events, and volunteer roles. Volunteer on a committee or seek a leadership position in a professional association you care about, and this will boost your chances of connecting with someone who can refer you to your next job. As an added benefit, volunteer work also looks great on a resume, showing employers that you take action for the things you care about. 

Related: Maximize Your Career Growth: Seize Professional Opportunities 

Should Nurse Practitioners be on social media? 

One important consideration is your social media footprint. In a recent study, researchers found that 70% of Microsoft applicants were rejected due to personal information found online. You can Google yourself to make sure your social media footprint and everywhere you appear online remains professional. 

Before applying to jobs, go through and delete any blogs or social media posts that are negative — especially work-related rants — or unprofessional. Delete incriminating photos, including anything illegal or distasteful. Finally, be sure to check your privacy settings so that anything you don’t want employers to find will be hidden. 

How can Nurse Practitioners use social media to their advantage? 

Social media isn’t all bad. In fact, not having any online presence might seem suspicious to interviewers. Maintaining a professional presence is helpful, and one of the best resources for that is LinkedIn.  

You can post positive messages when you achieve a new credential or receive recognition for your hard work. You can also use LinkedIn to network with other Nurse Practitioner professionals and find out about potential job opportunities. 

What are the best practices for Nurse Practitioners on resumes and CVs? 

If you want to get to the stage of a face-to-face interview, you need to make sure you have a good resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV). You need to show potential employers what you have achieved and how you will help the company in its future development.  

There is no single way to write a resume, which means you can customize it to what fits for you. Be sure to highlight your professional skills that will be relevant for a future job. For example, if you worked as a barista to put yourself through nursing school, there are professional skills that will translate to nursing. You have experience working face-to-face with customers, working in a fast-paced environment, following protocols, and maintaining important health and safety standards. Therefore, while knowing how to make a caffe macchiato may not be relevant for your nursing career, there are other skills you can list under this job experience. 

How does a CV differ from a resume? 

A CV is different from a resume in that it is meant to be a lot longer. Rather than a summary of your work history and experiences, a CV should include: 

  • Job experiences 
  • Educational and academic background 
  • Teaching and research experience 
  • Publications 
  • Presentations 
  • Awards, honors, and achievements 

When do Nurse Practitioners use resumes versus CVs? 

Here in the United States, a resume is much more common for most clinical positions. CVs are typically only used in research or academic positions. Therefore, most Nurse Practitioners will normally use resumes unless applying for a faculty, research or speaking position.  

While resumes are standard, you should always read carefully what the employer is asking for. Resumes and cover letters are the first impressions a potential employer will get of you, so make sure you follow directions, proofread your documents, and put your best foot forward. 

What should a Nurse Practitioner focus on in a resume or CV? 

Resumes should highlight your job history, educational achievements, and any professional memberships you have. Make sure you include any volunteer work you have completed. This shows dedication to the causes you care about and will give employers more information about how you spend your time outside of work. Be sure to focus on your achievements, and don’t forget to address gaps in employment. 

How can Nurse Practitioners write strong resumes? 

One way to make sure your resume is strong for a specific position is to read through the job listing carefully. You can pick out keywords and phrases in the job description that apply to you and use them in your resume. Specifically, look at the duties of the job and see if you have completed similar duties in a previous job. Be sure to highlight this in your resume so your future employer knows you have relevant experience.  

You can also look in the job description’s “requirements” section, which tends to include soft skills that an employer would like candidates to have. You can pick out ones that apply to you and use these in the descriptions of your previous work experiences. For example, if a job description lists “attention to detail” and this is something you feel you possess, you can find a previous job experience that applies and include “did X task with a great attention to detail” as one of the bullet points.  

How can Nurse Practitioners ace the job interview? 

Job interviews can be stressful, so make sure you get a good night’s rest and take time to practice so you feel confident in your answers. One important tip for nurse practitioners heading into a job interview is to make sure to research the organization. Employers like to see that you are interested specifically in their company, not just any job.  

Learn a little about the company’s mission, its specific service area, specialties, and patient demographics. This will help you tailor your answers to something relevant to the job and show the employer that you are prepared to join their team.  

What questions should Nurse Practitioners ask interviewers during a first interview? 

One great question to ask is “What does success in this role look like?” This gives the interviewer a chance to highlight key parts of the job and shows that you are interested in not just doing the work but thriving in the role.  

Another great question for Nurse Practitioners is “What opportunities are available outside of patient care?” Most organizations encourage Nurse Practitioner involvement in things like a board on patient safety or quality of care accountability. This shows that you have interest in joining the team and volunteering for the causes that matter to you.  

What should Nurse Practitioners do after the interview? 

The most important thing is to sit back and relax. It often takes healthcare companies weeks or months to hire, so it can be a long process. Directly after the interview or the next day, you should send an email to your interviewer thanking them for their time. Be sure to include one specific detail you found interesting and answer any questions that you might have taken a pass on during the interview. (It’s okay to say, “I don’t recall exactly how many contact hours I have, but I’ll get back to you.”)  

If you haven’t heard back for a few weeks, a polite email asking to know about the company’s “hiring timeline” is the best way to reach back out for an update without seeming impatient or desperate. 

Earn CE hours with our online course on Optimizing Your NP Career (free with Passport Membership)! 

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