LAS VEGAS — An aging population and a shortage of primary-care providers have boosted nurse practitioner job rates across the country, but this increase doesn’t make it any easier for nurse practitioners to find employment, according to information presented at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners 2015 meeting.

Self-assessments, behavioral interview preparation, and networking are just three techniques that can be used in search strategy that yields benefits for nurse practitioners (NPs) searching for new career opportunities.

Before a new resume is even created, both new and experienced NPs should evaluate their requirements for a new position. “First of all, nurse practitioners should identify what they think they want,” advised Susan N. Van Cleve, RN, DNP, CRNP, of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA.

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“Secondly, when interviewing, [NPs] should ask themselves, ‘does this help support my strengths or my weaknesses?’”

Once these priorities have been identified, NPs should then find positions that compliment those requirements. For new students, it is especially important to recognize strengths and weaknesses, noted Van Cleve, because graduates “need a period of honest self-reflection before they find a job so [new NPs] can seek a position that is well-fitted for them.”

Although new graduates may have access to their school’s career counseling program, new nurse practitioners should still join professional organizations because many of these associations provide both in-person and online networking opportunities.

Once job seekers settle on a location for their new job, joining local associations to set up informal networking opportunities also helps job seekers find a position. “[NPs] can contact people that they find through professional organizations and talk to them about possible job opportunities,” said Van Cleve.

Becoming active in professional organizations benefits more than the job search, it can help NPs impact the profession on a national scale. “It’s important to support the profession in terms of what NPs do, as well as any kind of advocacy work that NPs may need to do on behalf of the profession,” stressed Van Cleve.