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4 Ways to Stay Competitive Throughout Your Nursing Career 

nurse working at her desk

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the job outlook for RN’s is growing 7%, faster than average. There might be plenty of nursing opportunities available, but it’s crucial to ensure you’re maintaining—or striving toward—one that matches your career goals. 

The demand for nurses could be unevenly distributed across geographic locations; the most desired positions may be limited or face fierce competition. 

It’s easy to become comfortable in your nursing role, but these four ways can help you nurture your nursing career and be prepared for new opportunities. 

1. Showcase Your Skills

When’s the last time you took a look at your resume or reviewed your social media accounts from a hiring manager’s perspective?

You never know when an unexpected opportunity could arise. Many nurses set their resumes aside until they’re ready to look for a new position. Keeping your resume up-to-date and utilizing your social media accounts to your advantage could help you stand out from the competition to land that desired position. 

Refresh Your Resume

The ease of online applications can make applying quick and painless. This can result in sharing a resume that is outdated or unprofessional or hiring managers receiving many similar resumes. Don’t wait until an opportunity presents itself and rush to make your resume shine. Be first to apply with a pre-polished resume. 

A few ways to make the most of your resume include: 

  • Keep your resume updated as you gain increased responsibilities, or learn new skills.
  • Be sure to highlight your resume’s skills so that it catches the human eye and doesn’t get overlooked if it goes through an Applicant Tracking System. 
  • Update your contact information and present relevant information in a format that’s professional and easy to read. 
  • Display how your skills match the job description, so it doesn’t read like a template.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile in addition to your standard resume in case someone looks you up.

If you don’t have the skills you need for the job you want tomorrow, start building upon that today. Healthcare facilities value training and continued education. 

Clean Up Your Profiles & Shine on Social Media 

Ensure that your social media accounts don’t have information or content that you wouldn’t share with a potential employer. Google yourself to see what recruiters will see, and remove unprofessional details from your social media sites, or lock down your privacy settings. 

That doesn’t mean social media can’t be beneficial. Utilize social media to your advantage to:

  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals on sites like LinkedIn. 
    • Go to the LinkedIn search bar and type in #nursing and the topic you’re interested in, such as jobs, career, education, leadership, or simply #nursesonlinkedin and choose groups or individuals to follow.
    • Share articles you’re interested in, comment on others, or write your own LinkedIn blog post to display your expertise and understanding of topics relevant to nurses today.
    • Change your profile status to show recruiters that you’re open to job opportunities.
  • Learn from the best. Visit social media sites of nursing thought leaders, nurses in leadership roles, or other nursing roles you aspire toward and review their biography, who they follow, and what they share to gain perspective on what to include on your professional sites and profiles.
  • Stay abreast of what’s new in healthcare by following healthcare professionals on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

2. Industry Knowledge Will Help You Stay Relevant

It can be difficult for even the most seasoned nurse to keep up and be ready to adapt to the continuous changes in healthcare. The good news is that technology offers various ways to stay abreast of the latest changes with little time or effort. Pick your social media solution of choice, such as:

  • Nursing apps can make it convenient to gain information or education.
  • Nursing journals are often still available as a physical copy; otherwise, many are online. A few examples include: 
  • Podcasts are available to help you catch up on your commute, while exercising, or completing daily tasks. A few examples include: 
    • Notes on Nursing Live offers multi-person discussions and interviews with industry specialists.
    • Nursing Today is a lecture series in podcast form with a focus on evidence-based nursing.
  • Set a Google alert to be delivered to your email if you want the latest news on a nursing or healthcare keyword topics of interest 

3. Nurture Your Network 

Networking should be done concurrently with your personal and professional life. Some jobs are never advertised, and candidates may be promoted internally or through referrals and recommendations. 

Other ways to grow your network include to:

  • Seek a mentor for professional growth to explore career options, and make professional connections—or become a mentor yourself. 
  • Join a committee to help grow your communication and leadership skills and use this opportunity to make a positive impression on others in your organization.
  • Increase your knowledge base for personal growth and professional development— education can help you expand your resume, increase your network, and maintain relevance with the latest healthcare trends.

4. Never Stop Learning

Increasing your education can open the door for promotions, higher salaries, and rewarding opportunities. Education is something you maintain no matter what nursing job you choose in your future. In addition to increasing your expertise, you might gain greater respect, recognition, job security, and enhanced career satisfaction.

Online education has made it convenient and affordable to fit in with your busy lifestyle with flexible educational paths. This can allow you to continue to earn while you learn. Consider your career goals and examine different nursing roles and responsibilities to determine which path suits you best.

  • Ask to shadow a nurse in a specialty you’re considering.
  • Complete nursing continuing education courses online, with written booklets or materials, or at an in-person conference.
  • Return to nursing school for your certification, BSN, MSN, or DNP to increase your career opportunities and align your education with your career goals. 

Prepare Today For Tomorrow’s Careers

Stay competitive in your nursing career, so you don’t get stuck in a rut, or risk burnout or boredom. It can help you reach your goals, excel in your current job, or strive toward the job you want tomorrow. 


Maureen Bonatch MSN, RN, draws from years of experience in nursing administration, leadership, and psychiatric nursing to write healthcare content. Her work has appeared in numerous health system websites and healthcare journals. Her experience as a fiction author helps her craft engaging and creative content. Learn more about her freelance writing at CharmedType.com and her fiction books at MaureenBonatch.com

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