Getting on with the job hunt

You need to be preparing your resume and getting ready to attend interviews. It can be a busy time as you will also be studying, but it is important to stay focused, organised and flexible. During this time, you need to:

  • Prepare a winning resume – a resume is a short written summary of your education, previous employment history and any additional (relevant) skills you may have. Sites may request you to bring a resume to interview, although this is not requested as part of your online application with GradConnect.
  • Practise and prepare for your interviews - set up mock interviews with your parents, tutors or career services
  • Spend time making your selection criteria perfect. Reviewing how you’ve responded in your application to selection criteria is how most recruiters decide who to interview or not.
  • Provide examples of situations where you have been able to demonstrate what the selection criteria are asking in relation to clinical tasks. Provide information on what you did (actions) and the response or outcome of what you did.
  • Interview questions are also based around the selection criteria, so think of clinical situations where you will be able to demonstrate your understanding of the selection criteria
  • Pre-register with Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) (external site).

Putting together your resume

In putting together your resume, carefully consider what employers might want from a graduate and the traits and abilities they would value.

Your resume is a way of marketing or selling yourself and telling your potential employer what you have achieved and what you can offer their organisation.

Here are some tips:

  • Include your transferable skills - those skills that you have gained through study, part-time work or volunteering. Transferable skills demonstrate your capacity to do the job and are important in the current job market.
  • Avoid words like innovative, dynamic, motivated, team player, fast-paced, or problem solver. Hundreds of other graduates are describing themselves in exactly the same way. Replace overused terms with descriptions of specific projects and outcomes, for example you could say:
    • As a volunteer, I did ......
    • As a student I experienced.....
    • I worked outside of nursing as a ......
    • In a school project I was responsible for ......
  • There are many resume styles but always use a specific resume if suggested by the employer.
  • Have a parent, career service counsellor or lecturer check your resume and application.
  • Be truthful and accurate and provide all information requested.
  • Emphasise how you intend to contribute to the organisation.
  • Ask permission of your referee before including their name and contact details in your resume.

The basic information required for your resume includes:

  • your personal details (make sure your contact details are current)
  • education and employment
  • skills
  • referees.

Professionalism and credibility can be measured by your attention to detail and following through on commitments. For example, if your letter of application or resume states that you have good written communication and organisation skills, then make sure that this is demonstrated in your application. Also make sure you include all of the information and documentation that has been requested.

Everyone hates interviews

Most of us find interviews stressful, but performing well at interview is a learned process and so practise will help.

  • Find out if the interview is one-on-one, panel or a group interview – it reduces the surprise effect when you arrive.
  • The questions are based on the selection criteria (which you have answered in your application) for graduate nurses and midwives.
  • Practise interviews by creating your own questions and answers. Set up a mock interview with a parent, career counsellor or tutor. Interviews are also about building a relationship with your potential employer. You need to demonstrate an understanding and interest in the profession you are about to enter. Interviews are not trying to make it hard for you to get a job, all they want is to understand what you are like as a person, student and colleague. They want to get to know you better.
  • Make a good impression – arrive on time and dress professionally.

We asked graduate recruiters what they are looking for and they said:

  • good interpersonal skills - a graduate who can discuss topics and demonstrate great communication technique and team work
  • graduates who show enthusiasm
  • graduates who have the ability to problem solve and discuss strategies to seek help when needed
  • graduates who have given consideration to their future nursing or midwifery career
  • graduates who display an enquiring approach to their professional practice and show initiative in choosing ongoing learning strategies
  • academic progress as undergraduate
  • graduates who don’t assume that they are suitable for employment based on the sole fact that they have been a great student with high grades – you need to demonstrate it!

Surviving group interviews

Group interviews usually take a couple of hours and are different to one-on-one interviews, which can be more personal. Group interviews usually involve having a small group of candidates carry out a series of activities, for example setting up an intravenous line or taking a set of observations and interpreting them. The interviewers observe behaviours and skills demonstrated to help them select the best candidates who will proceed to the next level of assessment.

Like all interviews, you are assessed from the moment you enter the room. The interviewers pay attention to everything. Here are some tips for group interviews:

  • When you have the opportunity to tell the group about yourself and your experiences, be confident, maintain eye contact and speak in a clear voice.
  • The group interview may include role-playing scenarios. Standing out during a group interview is important so you need to consider how you can impress the interviewers.
  • Try to discuss your experience and education whenever possible.
  • No matter how qualified or experienced you are, it's easy to get spooked at a group interview. Remain calm, take your time, and express yourself clearly.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Be on time for your interview and dress for success!

Getting registered as a nurse or midwife

Before you can begin to work as a nurse or midwife, you must be registered with the NMBA.

Many graduate programs in Western Australia commence in February, so it is important that you do not delay your application for registration. The registration process can take 1 to 2 months even if the NMBA has all of your documentation. The NMBA will review your application and the recommendation of your training provider - so make sure you complete all your assignments on time.

You are able to pre-register online (4 – 6 weeks prior to completing your program) but your application will not be successfully completed until you have passed your course and the NMBA has received and assessed all the documentation.

Find out more about the NMBA registration process (external site).

You cannot start your graduate program if you are not registered – no exceptions!

To ensure you are ready to start your graduate program you must:

  • complete all academic requirements by the time the academic progress committee at your institution meets
  • commence your online pre registration to NMBA at least four to six weeks before the end of the academic year
  • pay the NMBA application fee on time
  • ensure you have all the correct and complete documentation for NMBA, including evidence that you meet the English language registration standards.

More information

Find out more about nursing and midwifery graduate programs in WA or find us on Facebook (external site).

Produced by

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office