Guerilla Career Development For Nurses, The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 31

Let’s face it, it’s a jungle out there in the the 21st-century nursing marketplace. Back in the old days, you just sent in a resume and a cover letter, and people actually called you back for interviews. Now, you’re lucky if the robot scanning your resume for keywords is having a good day and had his WD-40 before coming to work.

Nursing jungleBut seriously, folks, it is indeed a jungle out there, and the competition can be stiff, so special care to your career development strategy is called for.

Dig in; find the people in your tribe. By hook or by crook, find them. Be persistent. Dive deep into your contact sphere. Look beyond nurses and healthcare professionals—you never know who will know the key person you need to meet. In fact, your hairdresser’s cousin’s husband may be the DON of the facility where you’re dying to work. You just don’t know until you ask.

Foxholes are places that soldiers usually dig as they advance towards the battlefront. Career development should never feel like war, but it can feel like a dark field filled with unknown dangers and obstacles. Your metaphoric foxholes are places where you can rest during the fray: your coach offers sustenance and protection when you feel vulnerable, as do family, friends, pets, and other supporters. Bring your best friends into your foxhole with you; ask them for support.

I was speaking with a client the other day, and she needs to be very creative in “selling” herself to potential employers. With little clinical experience but a fantastic background, she’s ready to get back in the clinical game, and I told her to use every tool at her disposal to get in front of the movers and shakers who can get her in the side door, the back door, or maybe parachuting through the skylight like James Bond. I recommended using strategic language, savvy networking, and persuasion to get herself meetings with those who could make decisions about her next career move.

You have to use strategy and tactical thinking to go around the gatekeepers, right to the decision-makers. And I told her that if she couldn’t parachute in for an informational interview, she can dig a virtual tunnel by seeking out contacts who know the DON, CNO, CEO, or CFO of the organization where she’d like to work, and finding as much about him or her as she could.

In the foreword to my new book, “Savvy Networking For Nurses,” my RNFM Radio partner and cohost Kevin Ross describes how a young savvy woman who was determined to meet him and work for him went above and beyond to find a way to work her way into his busy schedule. On this episode, I share her story, or you can also read it in “Savvy Networking For Nurses”.

In this episode, I dive deep on your behalf in order to cajole and inspire you into novel and creative ways to get in front of the people who can help you to find remunerative and satisfying work.

The “experts” (like me!) tell you how to go about a job search, but if you find new and effective ways to move your career forward, please consider them with me and the Nurse Keith Nation; we all need support, so if there are powerful ways to empower nurses in the job search and career development process, let’s all pull together and make it happen.

The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by James Larson, and social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.

Please consider leaving a review of The Nurse Keith Show over on iTunes; this helps more nurses and healthcare professionals find the show and benefit from the information being shared. Just visit iTunes, click on the iTunes store, search for The Nurse Keith Show under podcasts, and leave a review, and voila. Thanks!

Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!


Nurse Keith photoKeith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews New Service,, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur.


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