Sarah Gaines
Sarah Gaines
March 26, 2019 - 3 min read

5 Tips on How to Land a Travel Nurse Job

I’ve been a travel nurse for over 3 years with 14+ contracts under my belt. But, I learned some lessons the hard way on how best to land a travel nursing job. Below are five tips from building your resume to interviewing with the hiring manager that helped me get multiple travel nurse contracts.

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Your resume should highlight skill set not just years of experience

As I’m sure you know, 1-2 years experience is needed to become a travel nurse. But, there’s one more thing that’s much more important than experience. Once I discovered this, I was able to land a job over another travel nurse who had twice the experience as me. What is it? Your skill set.

Travel nurses are expected to start working on a new unit with minimal training (usually 1-3 days max), so the first thing hiring managers will want to see on your resume is what you can do, not just how long you’ve worked. For example, if you’re an ER nurse with 2 years experience in a Level I trauma center, you’ll likely get the job over another nurse with 4 years experience in a Level IV trauma center, because you’ve probably seen more patients and learned more skills in a shorter period of time.

Pro tip: Add your skill set to your resume, so the hiring manager can compare more than years of experience.

Be prepared to interview at any time

Now that you know how to build a better travel nurse resume, you’re more likely to get a call for an interview. But, don’t miss the call! This was a painful mistake I made as a new traveler and it ended up costing me a job. A hiring manager called once while I was driving. I decided to call her back when I reached home and had reviewed my prepped interview notes. When I called back an hour later, the manager said, “According to your resume you were the perfect fit for the job, but I called another traveler after I couldn’t reach you and she was offered the job.”

I was heartbroken — I lost a contract I really wanted due to a preventable mistake. The travel nurse industry moves really fast. If you’re submitted to a job, make sure your ringer is on ad you’re ready to interview at any time.

Emphasize your flexibility in the interview

Pro tip: Be confident! If the hiring manager is calling you, then your resume fits what they’re looking for. All you have to do is reassure them that you’re the perfect fit for the position.

Once you receive a call from the hiring manager, remember to emphasize that you’re a team player, quick learner, and easy to work with. And most importantly, mention that you’re flexible. The mistake many travelers make when interviewing is bringing up their vacation requests too early in the interview. Yes, vacation time is something you want to confirm in your interview, but mentioning it first thing is the quickest way to bomb your interview. Travel nurses are hired to fill a staffing need — you don’t want the hiring manager to think you’re more worried about your vacation than the role.

Do your research on the facility

Also, make sure to let the hiring manager know that you’ve done some research and know what you’re getting into if you accept the contract. As a labor and delivery nurse, I personally love high-risk units that are busy. For one interview, I told the hiring manager, “When I heard that there’s over 600 deliveries per month on your unit, it immediately put a smile on my face. As a travel nurse I look forward to working on busy units with high-risk patients, because I love a challenge.”

A little bit of research on the role or facility lets the hiring manager know that you’re not intimidated by the job and you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Ask for the job

Last but not least, if you think you’re the right fit, then always ask for the job at the end of the interview. A hospital hiring travel nurses is most likely short staffed and needed you yesterday — there’s no sense delaying the process further. I personally ask for the job at the end of each interview and I’ve always heard yes!

Ready to start traveling? Get connected with a staffing agency now!

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