Where to start
- Make a list of potential employers in your main field of practice.
- Make sure your CV is up to date. The RCN Careers Service can provide you with CV guidance and give you feedback on your CV.
- Take advantage of careers support, such as through the national careers service sites. These sites are not nursing specific, but include useful resources and information on funding for education, links to useful websites and career tools.
- Keep a record of the jobs you apply for so you can easily track and keep up to date with applications. An Excel spreadsheet can be a good tool for recording CV submissions, networking, interviews attended and other useful resources.
Job Searching tips
Check printed media
There are many jobs advertised through printed media such as RCN Bulletin, journals related to your chosen career field, newspapers and local press.
Think carefully about the search terms you use on job sites. For example, if you are looking to make a move into ‘public health’ try using this term, rather than a specialist title, such as ‘health visiting.’ However, if you are very clear about the type of jobs you are looking for, use a relevant term – for example ‘diabetes.’ If you really just want to find out about the types of nursing jobs that are out there, make your search location specific and type the term ‘nurse’, but within a defined postcode. This can be useful when using tools such as the Job Centre Plus website. Make sure you are secure online. Look at the type of employers that are advertising on the site – are they reputable? Sign up to job alerts. This allows you to filter your career choices, based on job title, field and location.
Use social media
Twitter allows you to follow people and organisations. You can follow an organisation that advertises jobs on Twitter or you may see some courses which are running locally at your RCN office.
LinkedIn is a professional network to connect with like‐minded people in specific industries, fields and interest groups. You can use the site to join professional discussion forums or contact people that you might not otherwise have access to. Make sure your profile is up to date so potential networks gain an insight into the professional qualities, skills and experience you have.
Always make sure you are acting within the NMC Code when using social media.
Talk to a potential employer or someone in the career area you would like to work – either on the phone or arrange an informal visit. Usually on a job advert there will be a contact person. Employers are usually happy to help, but make sure that you are not asking too much of them. Try asking for an informal visit to talk generally about career opportunities in their area, or for advice on how to build a career in their field. Once you have established a relationship, a manager may well remember you when vacancies arise in the future. Or they may provide other contacts that may generate job opportunities.
- Plan 5 positive points about yourself that you can tell an employer
- Be positive
- Provide a copy of your CV and contact details
- Always take the contact details of the person you have spoken with to follow up afterwards.
Attend conferences and job fairs to develop networks, leave a CV with employers who you would like to work for.