Applying for contract nursing jobs can sometimes be a challenge to those who have never been through the process before. Working with a recruiter is key to landing your ideal travel nursing assignment, but there are certain things you can do to make their jobs easier. Here are some things our Premier recruiters wish you knew about applying for contract nursing jobs.
The Importance of Being Prepared
This may go without saying, but coming to your recruiter properly prepared will help fast-track your application. “Clinicians that have all of their docs and certs ready to go often get submitted faster,” says Premier recruiter Cailey. “My suggestion is to save your updated resume, skills checklist, BLS/certs, vaccine information, and any other important items in a folder so you can be ready to send them to your recruiter. We need these items up front in order to submit anyone.” In addition to having your ducks in a row in terms of documents, make sure you have already contacted your references and confirmed that they are ready to provide you with a good recommendation as soon as your recruiter gives them a call. Recruiter Nicole suggests, “have 2-3 supervisors handy for references.”
The Process Goes Very Quickly
Most applicants for contract nursing positions have no idea how fast the process goes. Premier recruiter Sarah M. notes, “the timeline is very quick! The clinician should know that the jobs open and close in a matter of hours in some cases and that time is of the essence.” Applying for contract nursing jobs is not the same as the application process for most other roles. In fact, there is a higher sense of urgency to fill contracts. “I wish more applicants knew more about urgency and how important it is to get things done in a timely manner,” says recruiter Lauren K.
To keep up with the pace of jobs opening and closing, it is important to work with one recruiter instead of juggling multiple agencies and contacts. Recruiter Tara suggests, “work exclusively with your recruiter. All recruiters have access to the same jobs, and if you only work with your Premier recruiter, you will not have to worry about being double-applied to the same job and rejected. You only have to complete paperwork once, and it gives you both the confidence to submit to new openings as soon as they are posted.”
Competition is High
Applying for contract nursing jobs is often stressful due to the enormous competition in the field, especially at the current moment. “Applicants should know the competition is high and that some hospitals only accept a small number of applicants per job,” says Sarah M. Nicole adds, “by the time jobs are posted, recruiting firms already have a pool of candidates waiting to submit; 80% of jobs are filled within minutes of the opening.” Keeping in mind that piece of information, it is crucial to make sure that your resume stands out and is completely up to date. For tips on how to update your travel nurse resume ahead of your next application, check out our blog post here.
Travel Job Boards are Not Always Reliable Sources of Information
Travel nurse job boards…we love them, but they are not reliably fact-checked. To gain the most accurate information about rates and job details, it is best to rely on your recruiter. Premier recruiter Hannah puts it this way: “See your dream job on Vivian? Cool! Vivian is a great tool, but it is a tool – the information on there is gathered from our internal system. Please do not get mad at your recruiter that the pay you saw on Vivian is different than what they quoted you (it is all based on a formula and cannot take into account the nuisances of fees, etc. that vary from facility to facility) And sometimes there are errors – i.e. it might say the wrong specialty or not say that it’s a Charge RN position, etc.”
Rates are Always Subject to Change
One of the biggest complaints about applying for contact nursing jobs is that pay rates are not always standard across the board, and they do change quite a bit. Recruiter Jessie notes, “not all rates listed on job boards are universal. There are contingent factors which include: Are you considered local to the facility? Does that rate include the stipend amounts, and if so, do you qualify for stipends? Does that rate include overtime pay?” Rates also fluctuate depending on what is going on in the market at any given time. Lauren K. explains, “I wish applicants knew more about the changing market and what realistic rates look like now that COVID is over.” During the pandemic, crisis nursing rates were higher due to demand, but now that the COVID cases have fallen, contract nursing pay rates have reflected that.
We Actually Appreciate Your Questions
Asking questions is a crucial part of communicating with your recruiter, especially if you are new to the contract nursing process. “Interview the recruiter just as much as they interview you,” suggests Nicole, “this way you can give them parameters on jobs to apply for and get submitted within minutes of jobs opening once you have a completed profile established.” Getting to know more about your recruiter and their role is key to being successful in applying for contract nursing jobs.
Your Recruiter is Doing Their Best to Find You a Job! (Please be patient and kind.)
It is easy to get frustrated during the application process, but please remember that there is so much going on behind the scenes of getting you your dream contract, and those things tend to take some time. “There are often a lot of ‘middle people’ involved in the process,” explains Cailey, “the clinician communicates with the recruiter who communicates with the client manager who communicates with the client who communicates with the facility, and so on. Try not to get discouraged if it’s taking a while to get answers – there are a lot of people working behind the scenes to help you out! At Premier, there are many people advocating for you throughout the entire process – your recruiter, the client manager, the compliance team, marketing, and more!” Further, it is not fair to direct your irritation about the process at your recruiter. Hannah urges, “recruiters are humans – be kind.”
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