Five Simple Tips to Secure Your Next Travel Nursing Job
By Melissa Wirkus, associate editor
Whether you are an experienced travel nurse with multiple assignments under your belt, or a skilled RN looking to try your hand as a mobile health care professional, there are numerous things you can do to boost your chances of landing that next assignment.
From updating paperwork and personal information to conveying a sense of flexibility in your job search, don’t forget these five things you can do to help secure your next travel nursing job in today’s competitive environment.
1. Update Your Contact Information and Résumé
It sounds almost too simple, but making sure your contact information and professional resume are current and up-to-date is one of the most important things to do when looking for your next job. If you are just signing up with a travel nursing agency, make sure they have the best e-mail and phone number to reach you at. If you already have a recruiter and company you work with, give them a call to verify they have your most current information on file.
Keeping your contact information and professional experience updated gives you a greater chance of being contacted about the next travel nursing position that comes available in your specialty or location of choice.
2. Update Your Current Skills Checklist and Add Another
Along with your résumé, updating your skills checklist is also an essential part of securing your next assignment, said Beth Sease, a recruiter with American Mobile Healthcare. “You always want a checklist on file that was completed within the past year. In this market, I have even been recommending updating it every six months,” she explained. “Even if there is nothing to change on our checklist, it shows the hiring manager you are committed to the process and getting an assignment.”
If you have other skill sets or new experiences, filling out a skills checklist for each specialty you have proficiency in will also help you in your job search. Facilities are asking for other checklists even if you won't float to that unit. For example, if you work in NICU, filling out a PICU checklist will give you an edge.
3. Get More Recent References
Do you have a reference from your most recent work experience on file? Facilities have turned down great candidates because of a lack of recent references, so don’t let this happen to you. Up-to-date references are very important, said Desiree Meza, recruiter manager for NursesRx. “References are just as important as having a completed skills checklist and good interviewing skills,” she said.
Travelers on the job hunt should get references from their most recent nursing job and submit those to their recruiter or agency. “I usually recommend that travelers hand their managers/charge nurses a written reference form for them to fill out. Then the traveler can just fax that to us and we can verify,” Sease said.
4. Renew Licenses and Certifications
“If you have an idea of which states you want to travel to, it wouldn’t hurt to begin the licensing process for those states so you are prepared and ready to go when an assignment comes up,” Meza explained. Although compact licensing and walk-through legislation enable RNs to work in certain states, it is always best to be prepared when it comes to licensing. Every state is different, so be sure to talk with your recruiter about the requirements for the particular state you are interested in traveling to.
Also, be sure not to overlook the importance of certifications. “As far as certifications go – absolutely, travelers should be certified in whatever pertains to their specialty. Hospitals are not being relaxed about expired certs. Everything needs to be current,” Sease said.
5. Be Flexible!
Flexibility is key when it comes to securing your next job. With more nurses working, decreased hospitals budgets and other economic factors, there are more nurses competing for a fewer number of assignments. Although the competition may be stiff, remaining flexible and open to opportunity will help you succeed as a travel nurse in today’s economic climate.
“The travelers that are landing assignments are flexible, professional and understand the reality of our economy. It is partly the recruiter’s responsibility to educate the traveler on the market trends, but it is ultimately up to the traveler to accept that as reality,” Sease explained. “Also travelers will have a much higher chance at landing a contract if they communicate with their recruiter on a daily basis, and are not discouraged easily. This market is tough right now but it’s getting better!”
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