November 17, 2020
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How to Get Your First Job as a Nurse Practitioner

If you’re reading this article, congratulations! We’re so happy that you finished NP school. We’re also glad if you haven’t finished, but want to get started with job seeking. That’s good thinking!

Being out of NP school means you now have to work on getting your certification, your license, your DEA number, and a job on top of that!

This guide will show you how (and where) to get your job search started:

Don’t do anything before updating your resume

Even if you think your CV is just fine, it can’t hurt to give it a look before you go searching for a job. You might find something that happened recently that you forgot to add, or something that you need to remove.

Since you are just graduating, you might think that you have nothing to add. However, as a fresh NP graduate, you now have lots of clinical hours that translate into experience. That’s what you have to highlight to get your dream job.

Updating your resume might also mean getting rid of any previous job experiences that don’t have to do with nursing. That’s a common suggestion. However, if you think they might come in handy, keep them, but don’t put them in the same place as your clinical experience.

You should also make sure to match your resume with your LinkedIn profile. Nowadays, LinkedIn is one of the best ways to connect with colleagues and potential employers.

Having a robust LinkedIn profile can be very useful when applying for a job online. It’s also a great place to present more details and explain some of the things that you might have to delete from your physical or PDF resume (so it isn’t too long), but we’ll get into that below.

The resume you should have as a nurse practitioner

Ideally, you should have 3 versions of your resume:

  1. A printable version that you can take with you.
  2. One that’s a PDF file to share online.
  3. Your LinkedIn profile.

Your printable CV

For the printable version, make sure to stick to one page. You’ll want to be able to print as many as you need. You’ll also need to make them easy to read.

It’s not necessary to include a photo of yourself anymore (it could depend on the preferences of the hospital/clinic you’re applying to), but if you really want to, it’s okay. It might take valuable space that you could use for text, however.

In any case, your printable resume should have:

  • Your header
  • Where you acquired your clinical experience
  • College education
  • Volunteering experience (optional)

Your header should include your basic contact information: full name (with your credentials), your phone number, home address, and email address.

You should get yourself a new email address to avoid using one that’s very old or personal. It isn’t very professional to use the same email you’ve been using since high school. Create one that’s related to your name and profession.

A professional email doesn’t just look better. It’s also great to have a separate place where you can see all the work-related emails that you’ll get during your job search.

If you feel like you need a little help designing a printable resume, you can use a resume building service like

The PDF version of your resume

Many people currently use resume building services like Canva to create their online CVs. You can print the designs you make on Canva, but they’re usually colorful and contain even more text than printable resumes.

Also, the best thing about a PDF resume is that you can add links to it. These links will work for anyone who gets the file. You can add links to the websites of the places where you got your clinical experience, to causes that you’ve supported, or to your LinkedIn profile.

Since the idea is to upload them to websites, send them as attachments on emails, etcetera, you can go a little bit crazier with them than you would with your printable CV.

Your LinkedIn profile

Here’s how to create a kick-ass LinkedIn profile as an NP student.

Where to start looking for your first NP job

It’s not a really good idea to go walking into clinics right now, so you should start your search online. Below are the first websites you should look into for your first job: This is the one that comes at the top of most search results. It is not always the most useful, but it’s a good place to start. Upload your PDF resume to Indeed, try to create a good profile, and set a search area.

They will send you new job alerts via email constantly (which is why you should have a work email).

Ziprecruiter: This site is very much like Indeed, you upload your PDF resume and your info, and you’re good to go. You will also get a lot of emails from them, and it’s easier to apply to the job postings.

Glassdoor: Many people know this website as a place where you can post reviews of the places you’ve worked at. If you apply to a job on this page you can see how good the employer is. Also, it’s easier to see salary and benefits information here than in Ziprecruiter or Indeed.

CareerBuilder: Same deal. It looks a little bit older than the three previous options, but there are available job postings for nurse practitioners, and it seems a little easier to contact potential employers on this website.

Linkedin: There’s more to LinkedIn than just having a great resume. This platform has become a great place to network, to meet other professionals and potential employers.

Aside from using keywords on your profile and trying to contact recruiters and employers, you can join groups on LinkedIn. A good example of this is the American Nurses Association LinkedIn group. Click here to see another good example.

Other common alternatives

Your latest (or previous) clinical sites: The places where you gained your clinical experience might offer you a job, put you in touch with a potential employer, or at the very least keep your resume. It won’t cost you anything to at least try.

Go back to the sites where you did rotations or contact your preceptor. If these sites have websites, they might have a “Careers” section where you can see available jobs.

The ENP Network: Great to find preceptors, and even better to find yourself a job. Once you sign up you get access to dozens of job postings. The way they present them is really good and informative. They are on a par with Indeed, Ziprecruiter, and Glassdoor.

The AANP or the ANCC: Believe it or not, the place from which you got your certification can come in handy. Both the AANP and the ANA (the organization behind the ANCC) have job banks that you can use on your search.

Here’s the ANA Career Center.

And here’s the AANP Job Center.

They are both mostly the same, so you will have no trouble signing up and looking for an NP job on both websites.

Federally Qualified Health Centers: These are small healthcare facilities that provide medical services to underserved communities. Looking for a job there might require you to move somewhere else, and the pay will probably be a little less.

However, FQHCs can provide you with much-needed work experience in a relatively stable environment. You could find a great entry-level job.

Another thing to point out about these centers is that they might be able to help you pay back your student loans. However, you will have to work in a given facility for at least two years. That might seem like a long time, but it can be very beneficial for you in the long run.

See this Loan Repayment PDF Fact Sheet for more information.

The NP or nursing association in your state: Every state has at least one nursing association. Some states have one for RNs and another one for APRNs. It’s very useful to find out which one you’re supposed to be registered with as an NP.

These associations often offer resources to help you with your career, including places where you can ask for a job. However, this is not true for all of them. If you can’t find those resources within said organizations, don’t get frustrated.

What to do after someone replies to your application

Start preparing for a possible interview. Here’s an article we wrote on that.

Was this guide helpful to you? If so, please share it with your NP friends. Chances are if you’re needing help finding your first NP job, they’re needing it too!

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