Travel nursing is an exciting and rewarding career, but it’s also a competitive field. You need more than just experience on the job to land your first travel nursing gig (and to continue to get the contracts you want most).
Travel nursing is a great way to gain experience in different areas of nursing, explore new places, and get paid really well to do so. And, as a travel nurse, you have the flexibility to choose the assignments that best fit your lifestyle.
If you’re ready to dive into the world of travel nursing, here’s everything you need to know to get that perfect job you’re dreaming of.
Types of Travel Nursing Jobs
Travel nursing jobs can range from short-term assignments lasting a few weeks to long-term contracts lasting several months.
The most common contracts are 13 weeks long, but longer contracts are possible because many hospitals will be happy to extend your contract for up to one year (if you’re interested in staying, that is).
Some travel nursing assignments require you to be on call while others require you to be on-site for the duration of the assignment. Depending on the assignment, you may need to be willing to work nights, weekends, and holidays.
Some travel nursing jobs require specialized skills and certifications. For example, if you are a nurse practitioner, you may be able to find a travel assignment in the specialty you are certified in.
You may also be able to find travel nursing jobs in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, critical care, and mental health. It all depends on what you have experience in and what you’re interested in doing.
In most cases, you’ll need experience in those areas to get a job as a travel nurse doing them, but some facilities will make exceptions — your recruiter will let you know which is which.
Power Up Your Resume for Travel Nursing
When applying for travel nursing jobs, your resume is your most important tool. Make sure that your resume is up-to-date and includes all relevant work experience, certifications, and training.
Also, be sure to highlight any special skills, such as language fluency or computer proficiency, as that can help you stand out from the crowd.
Another great way to stand out is to include any awards or recognitions that you’ve received. While travel nurses are still in high demand, there’s a wide range of contracts out there, and some pay better than others.
To get the best-paying contracts at the most desirable locations, you’re going to want to do everything you can to show why you’re the best — awards from units you’ve worked on will do just that.
Finding the Right Travel Nursing Agency
Once you’ve updated your resume, it’s time to start looking for travel nursing jobs. You’ll want to start by searching for the right travel nurse staffing agency.
Finding the right agency and the right recruiter is key to success in this industry. You want to find an agency you feel really comfortable with, that you trust, and a recruiter who you feel is going to take care of you and find you exactly what you’re looking for (and not just send you tons of jobs you’re not interested in).
There are many travel nursing agencies out there, so don’t be afraid to vet them. They’re interviewing you, but you’re also interviewing them. Remember, travel nurses are in high demand — you don’t have to just jump at the first agency you talk to.
It’s also a good idea to network with other travel nurses. Ask them about their experiences and find out which agencies they recommend.
Make sure you research the agency you’re considering. Find out what kind of support the agency provides and read reviews from other nurses who have worked with the agency.
It’s also important to make sure you understand the contract and any other requirements. Ask lots of questions — a good recruiter will be more than happy to answer them.
Tips for Applying to Travel Nursing Jobs
Once you’ve found the right agency and recruiter, it’s time to start looking for your first contract. Tell your recruiter where in the country you want to work and what kind of jobs you’re looking for — they’ll find options that are a good fit for you.
Sometimes you’ll need to tailor your resume and cover letter to the position you’re applying for, but your recruiter will tell you if that’s necessary.
Also, make sure to follow up after submitting your application — recruiters tend to be very busy, so it helps to remind them.
Travel Nursing Interview Tips
If you’re invited for an interview, congratulations! This is your opportunity to make a great impression and show the hiring manager why you’re the best fit for the position.
Make sure to do your research on the facility so that you have a better understanding of what they’re looking for — your recruiter will also help you prepare for the interview.
When you’re interviewing, be ready to answer questions about your experience and qualifications. It’s a good idea to have one or two stories ready to go about something impressive you did at a job or a challenge you dealt with positively.
It’s also a good idea to have questions prepared to ask the hiring manager — it shows you’re interested and have taken the time to research the facility.
Once you’ve successfully completed the interview, it’s important to follow up with your recruiter if you don’t hear back. Hiring managers can have tons of applicants and be overwhelmed, so sometimes they forget to let you know where they’re at in the hiring process.
Preparing for a Travel Nursing Job
Once you’ve secured a travel nursing job, it’s time to start preparing for your assignment. Make sure to research the area and find out what you need to do to get settled, like finding temporary housing.
It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the hospital or clinic where you’ll be working. Read up on the policies and procedures and make sure you know what kind of equipment and supplies you’ll have access to.
This will help you hit the ground running when you arrive at the facility. Remember, as a travel nurse, you’re expected to have very little training and to just be able to jump in and start working. That’s the big benefit you bring to the table, so be ready for it.
Ready to Get Started?
Ready to start traveling across the country?
If you’re looking for your first travel assignment — or if you’re looking for your next assignment — we’re here to help.
Apply here to get started today!
Apply Here to get started today!