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We’re still discussing about job applications and today, let me describe how you can become a desirable candidate even without a previous hospital working experience. According to the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), out of 35,475 test takers, 10.977 aspiring nurses have passed the nursing licensure exams last December. Imagine that, plus the number of previous board passers who are still unemployed, plus the number of other nurse applicants and you definitely have slim chances in landing for a job at the big hospitals in the country.

But you’ll be surprised if I tell you that not all hospitals prioritize those applicants that are being endorsed by their employees or as what we say in Tagalog as through “palakasan.” Some have a zero tolerance policy on those favors and some also accept newly licensed nurses. So if you apply to these institutions, what are things you need to know to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicants? Here is an insider’s scoop on how you can get into a hospital without a working experience:

  • Wit – you may know this already as it is a dead giveaway but wit is the first thing you need to possess. Although others may find it hard to be the most intelligent of all the applicants, it still pays off to review your notes from college. Don’t know where to start? If you are applying to a hospital then review the ones that you commonly practice during your clinical rotations. So basically community nursing is out of the question here, but things like drug and fluid computation, pharmacology, and situational exam for diagnostics, procedures and patient care are sure to be included during qualifying questionnaires. Pathophysiology is another common thing asked during interviews, the major challenge lies in which disease process are you going to describe. Wit isn’t all about being bookish, it is also about how you answer personal questions as well.
  • Personality assessment starts the moment you enter the room, while the hiring manager explains the instructions of the exam, during the whole course of the interview, until the moment you leave. Interviewers want to discover what you are like during real life situations so forget about being someone you are not.
  •  Attitude – this plays a crucial role in the hiring process. No matter how highly experienced or educated an applicant may be, if he or she exudes arrogance then it is definitely a turn off to hiring managers. Knowing who you are talking to helps you gauge how you should act towards that person. You should know the right amount of respect by saying Ma’am or Sir, giving polite responses and by affirming them that you are the applicant and not their client.
  • Enthusiasm hiring managers hate applicants who answer questions in short phrases, gives out an awkward silence and fidget uneasily throughout the interview. Other interview no-no’s are breaking off eye contact, bad posture and crossing arms. Show utmost interest that you want to be hired and that you deserve to be hired by being energetic and lively.
  • Confidence there are applicants who can still exude confidence, look credible and believable despite saying the wrong answers. If you are supposed to be giving out discharge instructions, health teachings and conducting patient interviews and assessments, you should be able to do it in confidence, because if not, chances are your patient won’t even believe a thing that you’re saying. So sit up straight and hold your head up high.

Even if you don’t have a working experience, you can still wow hiring managers with your personal characteristics. So start rehearsing interviews with a friend, take note of criticisms and enhance your social skills. You can definitely use this for getting hired even without a hospital experience.

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She is a registered nurse both in the Philippines and in the state of Texas with a masters degree from the Philippine Women's University. An active member of several organizations, she is one of the Philippine Nurses's Association (PNA) officers in her district and acts as a chief nurse in a private hospital. She also serves as a writer and researcher for a US-based nursing website dedicated in helping aspiring students pass the NCLEX which paved the way in publishing her co-written eBook entitled NCLEX Questions: Top Meds on NCLEX RN.