NP Career Blog

Nurse Practitioner Job News & Advice

To err is human…but a second chance needs to be earned

Do you have a negative in your history? By negative I mean a dismissal, misconduct or a disciplinary action by your board. Personal negatives include criminal charges, DUI’s or a history of substance abuse.

All is not lost.

If you are a nurse practitioner or physician assistant and you have one of the above issues and you are struggling with how to frame a past transgression in your NP or PA resume I have some advice for you.

My latest column in Advance for NPs & PAs outlines some strategies for dealing with negatives in your professional background. I discuss when and how to bring up your past problems as well as what steps you must take to convince an employer to take a chance on you.

Click here to read my advice

Returning to the Workforce

Dear Career Coach: I am a NP seeking to return to the workforce after a 10 year employment gap. I have experience as an adult nurse practitioner Occupational Health, Cardio-thoracic, Primary Care, and Student Health. I recently completed 150 CEU’s including 75 in pharmacy and passed the certification test for Adult NP in preparation for my NP job search.
Should I include this information in my resume and cover letter? How do I handle the lapse in my professional career? I have 3 kids and we moved several times. I was active with volunteer activities and held several leadership positions. Do employers really want to see this information in my resume?

Dear Reader: This information needs to be included in both your resume and your cover letter. I suggest you start your resume off with a “Summary of Qualifications” section, this will allow you to highlight your qualifications and future plans.

EXAMPLE:
“A nurse practitioner with a wide variety of experience with an emphasis in (list your specialties) Recently completed a total of 150 CEU’s including 75 in pharmacology and have used this knowledge to successfully pass the certification test for Adult Nurse Practitioner. Passionate to resume hands on patient care. Possess the energy and flexibility of a new graduate plus a wealth of past knowledge which will benefit both my patients and my future employer.”

Next on your resume list your experience starting first with your recent CEU’s that are pertinent to the job you are seeking. Highlight your proficiencies for each past job and communicate that you are still comfortable with those skills.

You also MUST write a cover letter. You can use your cover letter to discuss your passion for the position, highlight your proficiencies and emphasize the knowledge you recently acquired in your CEU courses. It’s also a good idea to mention your desire for a long-term employer. In the last paragraph, before your closing, you can then disclose and explain your employment gap.

Remember always to edit and tailor your resume and cover letter to match each and every position you apply for!

Good luck!

To Cell or Not to Cell

I was shopping today and as I was turned the corner into the soap aisle a young man was just ending a cell phone call. I heard him say a few stern words into his cell phone, then he hung up and exclaimed to a woman whom I presumed to be his wife “Can you believe it? They actually called me about a job I applied for while I am at Target!” Considering the job market these days this should have made his day, but no, he was quite indignant that they had interrupted his grocery shopping. Yeah, imagine that. He had given them his cell phone number and they actually had the nerve to call him, unbelievable.
I have long cautioned job hunters to think long and hard before putting their cell phone numbers on their applications or resumes because, well, employers tend to call them.
The great thing about cell phones is that they are portable, and the not-so-great thing about cell phones is that they are portable. If you listed you cell number as your contact number when you applied for an NP job odds are sooner or later a potential employer is going to call you at an inconvenient time (like when you are shopping at Target).
If your cell phone is your only phone then please think before you answer. If you are busy, in loud or bad reception area it’s better if you let the call go to voicemail and return it when you are free to talk. You get one chance to make a good impression and you don’t want to be deciding “paper or plastic” while taking a call from a potential employer.
Trust me, they won’t call back.

Your resume should fit the job

Weekend Update: Competition for Nurse Practitioner Jobs remains intense.

There are dozens of applicants for every job posted. This is not expected to change anytime soon. It’s important when you apply for an NP job to distinguish yourself so that you stand out from the rest of the crowd.

One of the ways you can do this is to tailor your resume to each job for which you are applying.

Take some time to research the healthcare organization and the position they have advertised. Take that information and use it to revise your Nurse Practitioner resume so that you can best showcase how YOUR qualifications and experience meet their needs. Highlight areas of your work experience or education that demonstrates why you are the best Nurse Practitioner for the job.

In this current market a one-size-fits-all resume will get you a one-size-fits-all rejection letter.

In other words each job you apply for should have a unique version of your resume.

Tips you will get only from me!

Do you know what hiring managers and recruiters NEVER want to see on your Nurse Practitioner resume?

I was a recruiter for many years so I have some insider pearls and tips. These are valuable details I learned over the course of reviewing thousands of resumes and talking with hundreds of hiring managers.

In this market, when every job has dozens of applicants, even a small mistake can ruin your chances of an interview. Of course you probably will never know why your resume was rejected so you might continue to make the same mistake. In my blog I am going to regularly share with you some of some of these lesser known resume misteps.

In other words I will share my job search pearls with you!

Here comes the tip…

There are several things you should never put on your resume but this is one that might not be so obvious.

DO NOT INCLUDE NON-MEDICAL EXPERIENCE
IN YOUR WORK HISTORY!

Including a past job that was in a non-medical field is a major no-no and could very well get your application bounced. It’s OK to include jobs like “nursing assistant” or “lab tech” because those are medically related. What you don’t want to list is jobs like ” bartender” or “retail clerk”. You many think they help to show that you have a solid work history but in reality it’s a big turn-off when applying for an NP or PA position.

BTW: This is true whether you are a NP or Physician Assistant.

Where do you look for NP jobs?

Your nurse practitioner job search should begin online. Newspaper and print ads have dwindled to almost nothing and have been replaced by online postings. The small number of print ads that are still out there will likely direct you to their website to apply so you might as well start your job search out on the Web.

Employers prefer you contact them via email or their website. Why? To avoid the paper shuffle. Their systems are set up to handle information digitally. It’s much more efficient and information is more easily accessible. Resumes sent via fax or snail mail stand little chance of ending up in front of the eyes of the right person at the right time.

So how do you go about finding the ads online? Start with your local newspapers website. Many employers will run an ad in the online classifieds but skip the print edition. If you have a healthcare employer in mind that you would like to work for then check out their websites frequently. You may see jobs listed exclusively on their own websites and not on any other website or job board.