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Tools to find the work you want

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From drawing up a CV to going to Australia, Rebecca Norris has advice on finding a job

Where to start looking for work can seem daunting, especially with current economic concerns. There are a huge range of options, from a steady job at a local trust, to working for the armed forces or heading abroad.

Jobs are advertised in journals such as Nursing Times, national and local newspapers and the NHS Careers job database. You can also sign up to a nurse recruitment agency.

Some hospitals and PCTs advertise vacancies on their websites. You can find out about prospective NHS employers by visiting their website via the NHS Choices website at

Informally, you may hear about vacancies during work placements, temporary posts or your current job. Ask nursing friends about any jobs at their workplaces.

First impressions

You’ll need a CV that makes a great impression. An article at NT’s ‘Your Careers’ section at, called ‘How to make your CV stand out’, gives tips on how it should look, the information it should contain and what will help make it
stand out.

RCN members are entitled to help from the college’s careers service, which provides confidential advice and guidance on all aspects of careers. Go to and click on ‘Careers’, or make an appointment with nursing careers adviser, Cathy Taylor, by calling 0845 408 4391. The service is open 10am–1pm and 2pm–4pm Monday to Friday.

A great interview

Again, there is lots of practical advice on preparing for an interview at and the RCN’s careers service.

The article ‘How to excel at job interviews’ gives advice on preparation. This can include role-playing the interview with a friend and thinking about answers to possible questions.

To make sure you are up to date with legal, professional and government guidelines, see:

• News in nursing journals like NT, at;

• The ‘updates’ section on the website of the NMC at;

• The ‘what’s new’ section of the chief nursing officer’s home page. Go to – the link is under ‘Additional links’.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t find a job.

• Ask the organisation for feedback about your CV, interview or experience, to help you improve future applications.

• Seek advice about what to do next from NT’s resident experts in the Careers Clinic section at

• Ask for careers planning advice, which can be obtained from the RCN’s careers service.

• Sign up for temporary work through the NHS in-house agency, NHS Professionals.

• Seek insight into different roles from NT’s ‘Day in the Life of…’ articles at

• Consider less mainstream employers, such as: NHS Direct; NHS Blood and Transplant; private healthcare providers such as Bupa or Southern Cross; charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support; or the armed forces.

• Consider working overseas. See the ‘Working abroad’ details within the registration section of the NMC’s website. The top three destinations of UK nurses heading abroad are: Australia (see for Australian government advice); the US (see – an independent publisher); and New Zealand (see for information on New Zealand government advice).

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