A lot of nursing students have those five-star resumes: Class valedictorian, honor society, tons of volunteer experience — the works.
Then there's Abigail Villoria.
The recent West Coast University-Orange County graduate might not have had the highest grades or the most experience, but by preparing for her job search and nailing her interviews, Villoria still landed her dream job at the hospital she wanted.
3 Tips to Get a Job
• Be proactive and organized
"I applied way in advance of graduation because I knew those applying periods were time sensitive."
• Look everywhere
"UCLA was my No. 1 hospital, but I had no problem applying to other ones because I knew that I can end up there in the future. It’s just a matter of time and experience."
• Be confident
“I’m not that confident but I knew that I needed to stand out in my own way, and if my resume couldn’t get their attention then my personality should."
"A lot of it is being yourself," Villoria said. "I don't have a very colorful resume. I wasn’t that active in extra curricular activities, I was a really average student so I knew that my personality really had to shine during my interviews. I was with hundreds or maybe even thousands of new grads who have the same background as I do, so I had to really push my personality without being too rehearsed and show them what I can offer to their unit."
Villoria spent months getting ready for interviews by practicing answering common recruiter questions until she was comfortable speaking about them. She knew that one bad answer during the interview could sink her chances.
"I just tackled it head-on. I gave it everything I could because I knew that if I didn't get the job, it was probably because I held back too much," she said. "I have no prior experience in health care so I had to pull all of the information I had leading up to that moment and compact it into a 30-second answer and make them realize I'm a good fit, because of my background and what I'll do for them in the future."
Villoria said she was also very aware of all the deadlines and dates in the hiring timeline. For her job, Villoria began the application process in September but didn't hear back about an interview until December. It took until January for her to get an offer, and in March she began working as a new grad in the Step Down Unit at UCLA Medical Center.
"I was fortunate to have a really supportive family and friends and they kept me on top of my work on my lowest days," she said. "West Coast University is an excellent school and if you're really dedicated about nursing you'll find ways to get over the humps and you'll end up where you want to be if you put in the work."