Competitive personality or not, if you’re looking for a new nurse practitioner position, you’re being matched up against other candidates for the opportunity. This competition may occur behind the closed doors of an HR office, competitors unaware, but there is still a game to be played. There are moves to be made and ultimately a prize to be had. What game-day strategies must nurse practitioners include in their job search and interview playbook to come out ahead?
1. Write ‘Thank You’ Notes
‘Thank You’ notes aren’t very common these days, particularly in handwritten form. If you want to stand out among other similarly qualified applicants, placing a well-written thank you note in the mail following an interview is sure to get you noticed. Who doesn’t want to hire an NP with that much class? (P.S. Here’s a cheat-sheet for writing yours).
2. Proactively Manage Social Media Profiles
When is the last time you scanned through your posted Facebook photos? What impression does your Gmail headshot give off? You may not be a social media buff, but there’s a solid chance employers are looking you up online. If you’ve got a beer in hand in your profile photo, change it during your job search. While there’s nothing wrong with having a cocktail with friends or wearing a slightly scandalous Halloween costume, conveying anything less than professionalism and poise online while you look for a job can be a disadvantage.
3. ‘Good Enough’ Doesn’t Cut It On a Resume
Formatting a resume is the worst. Margins never seem to line up. Bullet points go awry. You may even be so fed up with the process that in the end you neglect proofreading the finished document. What first impression will a hiring decision maker have about you based on a single glance at your resume? If your resume is anything less than perfection, fix it.
4. Do Your Homework Without Cutting Corners
Before any interview, no matter how trivial in the overall process, doing preparatory research is in order. Know who you will be speaking with. Look up the individual on LinkedIn to get some background as to his or her role with the company. Peruse the hospital or clinic website. What is the employer’s mission statement? How do your own values and practice standards fit in with stated company culture and principles?
5. Market Yourself
You may not be perfectly qualified for the nurse practitioner position to which you applied. That’s OK. However, heading off a prospective employer’s concerns on the front end is often to your advantage. Cater your interview responses to the job posting itself. Using terms like ‘highly productive’ and ‘efficient’, for example, let employers know you will work to keep up with the demands of a position described as ‘fast-paced’.
6. Fake It Until You Make It
Nervous? If interviewing isn’t your think or you otherwise lack confidence and poise, practice, practice, practice. Tell yourself you are qualified for the position. Remind yourself that you will make a great member of an employer’s team. Attention to body language is a must. Making a positive, confident, professional impression in an interview is enough to overcome other misgivings about your fit for the opportunity.
7. Take Notes
Before your interview, jot down the questions you have about the position. Write down a few bullet points related to the employer’s response. Note taking conveys preparedness, not forgetfulness. Your interviewer will know you are taking the position seriously.
8. Dress for Success
You might think it goes without saying that nurse practitioners should dress well for an interview. But, given the often casual attire worn in the patient care setting, many NPs let their appearance slide. Wearing a suit to your interview puts you leaps and bounds ahead of other candidates. Perception is reality.
9. Ask Good Questions
Asking good questions in a nurse practitioner interview sets you apart from other candidates. While most NPs end an interview asking something along the lines of “Can you tell me more about the benefits offered?”, summing up your conversation by inquiring “Now that you know a little bit more about my qualifications, do you have any concerns about my ability to succeed in the position?” packs far greater punch. Not to mention, it gives you some ammo for offsetting employer concerns in interview round two.
10. Consider the Employer’s Perspective
You’ve been treating your job search selfishly. Thinking through what you hope to find in your next nurse practitioner job is natural. But, turn the tables for a moment. What do you think your prospective employers are looking to get from the deal? Often, a job posting or initial minutes of an interview can clue you in. Play to this perspective throughout your interactions with the employer.
What strategies do you have in your nurse practitioner job search playbook?