Healthcare Professionals

How to stand out as a Traveling Nurse.


September 14, 2022

Working with recruiters can seem daunting when so many are fighting for your attention! Who should you listen to? Which one should you build a relationship with? What agencies offer the best contracts? The best perks? Who will be around for the longevity of your career? What recruiter understand your specialty? How many recruiters should you work with?

Plenty of items to consider when searching for a recruiter. But what are recruiters looking for in a great travel nurse? Knowing how to stand out and present yourself professionally will directly impact how successful you are as a Traveling Nurse. Don’t forget that you’re not their only option either.

Experienced Recruiters can quickly recognize a top tier Travel Nurse.

Their job is to find the best fit for the openings they have. And quickly. Spotting a tire-kicker is a red flag, and recruiters will also quickly notice when you’re not doing your part. It takes effort from professionals like us to build these relationships. A solid relationship between you and your recruiter is well worth the investment. We often forget how much a strong recruiter actually does for their nurses and how crucial they are in a successful travel nursing career.

Here are the steps to present yourself as a strong Travel Nurse candidate.

First, do a self-assessment on what you want in a Recruiter.

It’s important to do a self-assessment. What drives you? Be honest with yourself, so you can have a productive relationship with your new recruiter. If you can give them an accurate understanding of what you want, they can more accurately search for opportunities that meet your needs. A strong recruiter that understands your passions, hobbies, and interests can often discover unique contract opportunities that you’ll find enticing.

Consider things like:

  • What do you want from your employer?
  • Higher pay
  • A solid support system
  • The best possible benefits
  • A broader network of facility options

And get more granular:

  • Who are you as a healthcare professional?
  • Where is your career heading right now?
  • Where do you want it to take you?
  • In what type of company culture do you thrive?

Recruiters want to find you the best contract they can. So, help them (and yourself) by being clear and honest right out of the gate. The better you know yourself, the better they’ll know you.

Next, keep your nursing credentials organized.

How swiftly (and accurately) you can submit and onboard with an agency will dictate if you get that awesome contract, or someone else does. Be a proactive traveler and make sure your professional portfolio is together and ready to present in a clear and organized way. Because when you’re able to apply and onboard swiftly, you’ll give yourself the best chance of being first on the list for those hot contracts.

Recruiters are busy! Respect their time.

Just like you, recruiters are professionals and goal-oriented. You should be self-aware with your questions and interactions with them: respect their time, remember their schedules are (very) hectic, keep your communications direct, and group your needs / thoughts in cohesive messages.

Meaning, don’t send them 10 messages with one note in each — send them one organized message with your 10 notes/questions together. This way they can serve you swiftly, and you can keep their workday more efficient.

Transparency is critical in Travel Nursing.

Recruiters understand that you’re searching for the best contract. Be honest with them about the other recruiters you’ve engaged with. Being honest and communicative will help the current recruiter ensure they’re not wasting or duplicating their efforts. It’ll also help avoid being double submitted by two agencies to the same need, which can result in losing the opportunity entirely.

Healthcare staffing is a small world — don’t tarnish your reputation by treating recruiters in disrespectful, misleading ways. It’s their responsibility to return the favor!

Establish good communication.

You and your recruiter should be on the same page about communications. Find what their preferred method is, and tell them yours. Figure out the right ways the two of you should be communicating.

Side note: There are ways to send your personal data securely, and ways you shouldn’t. Be sure you’re protecting your privacy using best practices.

Build a strong Traveler-Recruiter relationship.

Everyone thrives when strong relationships are made. Recruiters and their staffing agencies are no different. In fact, they need your support — and work hard to earn it. So once a solid relationship is established, nurture it, even if you’re not on contract with them. Because you never know when you might need them again!

Stay connected.

Connecting with your recruiter took effort. Building that relationship took effort, too. It makes the most sense to stay connected, especially if you’re planning on taking another contract in the future. Staying at the front of your recruiter’s mind will ensure they’re thinking of you / remembering you for applicable contracts.

Consider connecting with your recruiter on social media platforms so you can be relevant in their daily activities, without taking the effort to send personal, update-driven emails to “touch base” with them.

When your recruiter rocks, let them know!

A thank-you note never hurt anyone. As we’ve mentioned: it’s about relationship building. Your recruiter worked hard to get you that/those contracts. Ideally, they’ll be securing more contracts in your future. Let them know you’re grateful with a simple note or message thanking them for their time, energy, and guidance.

Now go be your Recruiter’s favorite Travel Nurse.

It’s easy to find a recruiter — they’re everywhere. But as a professional you want quality, not quantity. Remember that good recruiters get noticed, and they attract good talent quickly. They have limited time and resources to allocate to their candidates and will give the best contracts to the ones with whom they have strong and long-term relationships.

A little effort goes a long way.

John Modica, RN

John is a career travel nurse and co-founder of Kamana. He has spent over a decade working in healthcare, specializing in ER and PEDs.

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