Social Media

NP Job Hunting During the COVID Times

San Jose, CA, USA
Job hunting with COVID still around has been difficult. After job hunting over several months (during and after fellowship), I think I've figured out a couple of trends and things hiring managers and recruiters are looking for in nurse practitioner candidates. Despite how much more saturated the nurse practitioner market can feel especially now in COVID times, there are several key factors that can play into how easy or difficult it is to land a job -- new graduate nurse practitioner or not.

The state you live in

Just like the housing market, there are places and certain states that may be more desirable to live in than others. Even within the state, there are certain cities that are more desirable, or something a nurse practitioner candidate is willing to make the commute to. In these places, it will be more competitive to find jobs because "everyone" wants to live there. Of course, there are those who are job hunting in the not-as-popular cities/area because they live there, and they probably do not feel the same about the "saturation." Unfortunately, to my disadvantage, the cities my husband and I hope to settle in are in the more popular places.

The things you want

Some things most nurse practitioners look for in their job search are their ideal location, specialty, general benefits, pay/salary, retirement, and fringe benefits, such as reimbursements, CMEs, and malpractice insurance. There's a saying that goes "beggars can't be choosers." I heard this phrase said once by a classmate in nursing school, and I could hear her saying it again when it comes to the job hunt.

What I'm saying is, you can be choosy, but just keep in mind that being choosy could make the job hunting tougher. At the same time, it's also necessary to make sure you get what you want out of your career and work each day feeling fulfilled. From what I've observed, primary care and family medicine jobs are the easiest to come by. I've seen several job listings and have been head hunted by recruiters for these positions. Of course, some of these were not in my ideal location in California...and some were even out of state!

What the employer wants

Part of landing a job is whether or not you have what the employer wants in a nurse practitioner they hire. Most of the time, it will have to do with the number of years of experience you have, whether or not the experience is related or exactly that of the specialty/job department, and whether or not you have certain licensures/certificates for certain nurse practitioner specialties or work settings. 

Remember how I mentioned that there were job opportunities in primary care and family medicine at a non-ideal location for me? The few that were in my ideal location in California required so many years of experience (2+ years strictly), that I was short of luck being a newer graduate with only one year of fellowship (in neurosurgery) under my belt. Prior to the pandemic, I've seen such jobs requiring or "preferring" 6 months to 1 year of experience. During the peak of the pandemic time, I've even seen some postings requiring 3+ years of experience! 

No, some of these job don't even consider my fellowship experience as "actual" experience, especially when I spoke with recruiters about jobs in different specialty areas. The only jobs that did consider my experience as actual experience were jobs from the neurosurgery specialty itself. 

Reasons I didn't get the job

If you didn't already know, I am still currently on the job hunt for my next nurse practitioner position. I've done a lot of reflecting now that I'm done with fellowship and have the time to think, strategize, and re-strategize as I move forward. There are certainly a lot of factors that played into why I still don't have a job, despite having started my job search in September 2020 (and more actively applying around October 2020). 

  1. Relatively saturated job market because of location and state.
  2. Not enough experience, especially so in COVID times, where there are so many candidates...but also so many furloughs, layoffs, and hiring freezes. 
  3. Not the "right" (relevant) experience (even though I tried to find some overlap with my fellowship). 
  4. Had an internal candidate already (and was basically interviewing eligible/qualified candidates for formality/because they have to by law to make things "fair"). Yes, some of the current internal candidates were students who rotated with them. I found this out because a recruiter profusely apologized to me after I made it to the last rounds of interviews for two different job postings he was in charge of filling, and the department manager admitted it herself in the rejection email that they decided to go with a "student who rotated with them who they liked." 
  5. Had other candidates who were a "better" fit (right/relevant experience and/or many years of experience).

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.  -- Wayne Gretzky

Though the job hunting may be brutal and can drain the life out of you, the main lesson learned is that not applying means not trying. As exhausting as it is to receive rejection email after rejection email, applying and trying will get your name out there, and perhaps you'll land the job of your dreams (or maybe a stepping stone one to pass the time). 

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts and comments below!


Theme by STS