Becoming a qualified nurse is a long and difficult process, requiring hours spent in the library poring over text books and challenging work placements. If you are about to graduate or are on the hunt for your first professional position, it can be hard to find that first stepping stone.

Here are some key things you can do to distinguish yourself from other applicants.

Upgrade Your CV

Many nurse graduates under sell themselves on their CV, largely because they believe they are lacking in experience. But what about your placements? You have already worked in a nursing environment, so highlight the practical skills you gained.

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Talk about learning outcomes, how you utilised transferable skills, how you successfully handled and prioritised heavy workloads, your ability to build relationships with patients, communication and leadership skills, as well as your ability to respond promptly and accurately when required.

The Cover Letter

A cover letter is an important part of an application, but sadly, it is commonly poorly utilised or even missed out altogether. To put yourself ahead of the game, tailor your cover letter. Read the job description and pull out key terms and skills, then relate these to your placements and experiences. This shows you have understood the job role and displays your competency and enthusiasm.

It is also worth writing a concise paragraph about why you would be right for the role, how you hope to progress professionally, plus any personal development goals.

Networking

Training to be a nurseWhile the majority of nurses work for the NHS, with many applying through online nursing agencies, the importance of networking should never be underestimated. In the 21st century, we are incredibly reliant on technology and while Linkedin and job sites are a brilliant resource, taking the time to hand in a CV personally or register your interest will make you stand out from the crowd. If you are still at university, you can start this process on your placements.

When you are networking, or if you are going to a job interview, make sure you look and act the part of a professional nurse.

Believe in Yourself

Lastly, do not lose heart. When you receive rejections, it can be easy to lose your self confidence as well as belief in your nursing abilities. Read these up-beat rejection tips, tell yourself that it was nothing personal, nor does it reflect your capability as a nurse. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone as in the UK job market, finding a position can take time.

About The Author

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I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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