How to Market Yourself as a Travel Nurse
By Melissa Wirkus, associate editor
With more nurses competing for fewer open positions, today’s economic climate requires health care professionals to be nimble, prepared and polished. As a travel nurse you have the unique opportunity of selecting a nursing job according to location or type of facility, and if you market yourself correctly you can boost the odds of landing that dream assignment that other travelers may also be vying for.
From refining your resume to conveying the right attitude, there are countless things you can do to market yourself as a travel nurse and stand out from the competition.
Looking Good on Paper
Nurse managers and other hiring leaders usually review several candidates when selecting a nurse for a position, so it’s important that your professional documentation is up-to-date—reflecting your nursing skills and experience accurately. Review and update your résumé, work history, certifications and credentials to ensure everything is up-to-date once your file is submitted for consideration.
“I make sure their work history and résumé is polished – there are no spelling errors, correct capitalization and punctuation, along with consistent reasons for leaving,” said Robyn Rudge, recruitment manager with leading nurse staffing company American Mobile Healthcare.
In the travel nursing world, having a complete and accurate skills checklist on hand for every applicable specialty is also an important marketing tool. “Make sure to have your skills checklist updated, and make sure all the certifications are listed and active.”
A facility is going to be much more likely to hire a well-prepared traveler who has all of the required paperwork ahead of time, versus a nurse who has the same qualifications, yet has not done any preparation.
“Having a skills checklist ready can be insurmountable ,” said Renee Cunningham, senior director of clinical services for travel staffing company Medical Express “A real selling tactic for travelers is to have their skills checklist ready with their file when their recruiter sends it out to facilities.”
Preparation and Communication Pay Off
Travel nurses are hired to supplement staff and fill-in where there’s a need, making flexibility and excellent communication skills the coveted traits of travelers. Being prepared with the appropriate licenses, credentials and references is another essential part of marketing yourself as a travel nurse.
Assignments fill quickly these days, so being prepared is crucial. Many nurses do not realize that the state they already hold a license in may be a compact state; making it valid in several other states, said Kari Richardson a senior recruiter with Medical Express. “There are also walk-through states that allow you to walk-in and walk-out with license in hand the same day,” she said.
Having a state license in hand helps nurses land the jobs they want in the locations they want. Facilities are looking for travelers to start right away, so being prepared with the right license is essential for travelers who are eager to book a specific location or facility.
Travelers who develop a strong relationship with their recruiter and communicate openly about their wants and needs when booking an assignment are often much more marketable and have more success than travelers who do not communicate during the process.
“Call your recruiter with any questions that come up and don’t be afraid to let your recruiter know what you are hearing out there,” Rudge said. “And if they need to start ASAP, they need to check in with their recruiter daily.”
Acing the Interview
Like any other job, travel nurses must also be prepared for an interview, which is usually conducted over the phone. Rudge stresses the importance of making yourself available for interviews and also maintaining a professional outgoing voicemail message.
“Be aware that nurse managers can be calling for an interview at any time – even on weekends,” she explained. “Always have an appropriate and professional outgoing voicemail message.”
Since most interviews are not conducted in person, it is vitally important to market yourself as professional, flexible and prepared throughout the entire booking process. Between your polished professional documents, thorough preparation and excellent attitude, you should be primed as a marketable travel nurse ready for anything!
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