Ahhh…I can still remember those carefree weekends I experienced upon graduating from my nurse practitioner program. More drinking. Less studying. Falling in love. Outdoor concerts. Dive bars. Summer days at apartment swimming pools. I was also fortunate to land my first NP position at the age of 23. While I was certainly qualified for the job, my extracurricular activities and appearance weren’t so professional.

Finding a job as a young nurse practitioner can be tough. You are less experienced, not to mention baby-faced. Getting hired for a position requiring a high degree of responsibility and smarts isn’t easy when you’re still getting carded on your way in to ‘R’ rated movies. Here are a few tips and tricks for overcoming your age to help you land your first, or next, nurse practitioner position.

Look the part

When I was hired for my first NP job I had braces. Not exactly the look I was going for as I embarked on finding a job and a husband, but I wanted to eek out every last bit of parental support I could (highly recommended!). So, I had some major obstacles to overcome in regards to my professional appearance.

If you are looking for a job in your twenties, a strikingly professional appearance is a must. Wear a suit to your interview and don pumps with a little heel, even if the practice environment is casual. This helps you carry yourself more confidently adding to your career savvy look. Wear your hair down or half up rather than in a pony tail. Choose black, navy, dark brown, or other neutrals when it comes to your wardrobe. Bright colors tend to highlight youth. You don’t have to leave the house looking like your mother, a trip to J. Crew should do the trick.

Get your $&#*%* together

Employers can always tell when a candidate’s got it together. If you are young, it’s more important than ever that you show up at your interview prepared. For starters, be punctual. Carry a folio with you and have a pen handy for taking notes. Bring a few copies of your resume printed on high quality paper. Prepare a few questions for your interview ahead of time. Finally, don’t forget to follow your interview up with a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note. A put together, professional impression goes far in overcoming your inexperience.

Take stock of your relevant experience

If you are in your early twenty’s, chances are you don’t have a lot of nursing or nurse practitioner experience to flaunt to a prospective employer. As much as possible, try not to compensate by drawing on prior work experiences that highlight your youth. If you have most recently been employed as a babysitter accepting cash under the table, this doesn’t do a lot to build your professional profile. Rather than responding to interview questions by citing your work as a sitter, draw from your clinical rotations. Check out this post for more on ThriveAP’s method for answering¬†any¬†interview question.

Carry yourself with confidence

Have you ever met someone your age who just seems so…mature? Chances are this person conveys confidence with body language. Putting your shoulders back, your head up, and projecting your voice does wonders when it comes to putting on a professional air. Watch this TED talk featuring body languae expert Amy Cuddy for more.


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