Saturday, September 3, 2011

How I Landed the Job!!

Everybody wanted to become a nurse during the recession, and guess what? Now everybody is. With the continuing delusion that a nursing shortage is alive, many of us are competing for jobs that just aren't there. After graduating Dec 2010(RN degree with prior LPN experience), I waited until one week prior my due date (Jun 28, yes I was pregnant) to start applying. Well I applied just in time because a month and half later I landed not one but TWO interviews. Unlike many of my other classmates, I was doing pretty good. I was confident because I'd never been to an interview and NOT gotten the job, and I promised myself this time would not be any different.

Before I move ahead lets take a step back for a second. You can't land an interview if your application doesn't stand out. If you're in a competitive field like nursing, this is a must. First off, and this may cause a stir, I have an ethnic first name so therefore I choose not to use it. I do not want any odds against me. Oddly enough, I have a unique middle name, that's actually my maiden name. I use that to my advantage. My maiden name happens to be Blizzard. So when people see my application, and/or resume' it may read S. Blizzard Robinson or S. B. Robinson. Why does this work for me? Well, first off they do not know if I am male/female or black/white. They may even be intrigued or humored by the name Blizzard and their curiosity leads them to read more. Whatever the case may be, since I've removed my first name, I have received countless calls. I make sure my cover letter pops and always appears specific to the place I am applying.

Once I land an interview, I make sure I am dressed to impress. A really nice suit can get you that promotion before you even get hired, trust me - I've experienced it. But a suit alone won't land you the job. I personally, suffer from social anxiety, many people who know me wouldn't believe it, but it's true. Palms are sweating, hands are shaking, brain is semi-ADHD at this point, but I work past that. Some of the best advice I've ever received is that a smile will open many doors for you. So I make sure I have a friendly smile, because in a career where customer service is important, I need to appear approachable. A firm handshake, I slyly wipe my hands (on my slacks prior, LoL) and shake hands. I wait until I am asked to sit before I do. I make sure I use my southern manners by saying ma'am/sir when appropriate. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, I say something memorable. I found that I wasn't really that qualified for this particular job (but I learn fast), so I know I needed to standout.

When the interview is over, I'm probably NOT the top candidate but dang it, I am like the tortoise - I will win the race. What do I do? I send a thank you email - subject (whatever the catchy memorable phrase I used in the interview), it needs to be personal, not some copied and pasted thank you note. Although it's a personal one, it still needs to be professional. Make sure you highlight your skills in this letter. I also send a thank you card, via snail mail. The thank you card is empty on the inside so you can write what you want, and express how interested you are in the position. How do I know this works? Well, when HR offered me the job, she made it obvious I wasn't the most qualified (not in a rude way). Later I received an email from the director using my "catchphrase" and stating she couldn't wait for me to start. I think my goofiness and sense of humor has paid off.

So how did I land the job where the competition is out of this world? It wasn't my experience, because although I was a LPN prior it was not in this field (and many LPNs I graduated with started the application process right away and still continued to be unemployed). I was human, not a stiff robot. I made the interviewing committee feel they could relate to me. They need to know you are a good fit for their company. They also need to feel they can work around you. So pick up the interviewers aura, and go from there. Make sure before you leave your house, you look your best, you smell your best, so you can feel your best. GOOD LUCK!!!

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The Adventures of Afro Man and Disco Girl by S. B. Robinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.