By Sarah Wengert
It’s the time of year when many travel nurse’s thoughts turn from pumpkin spice to turkey and tinsel, from hitting the open road to being homeward bound, and from grinding hard to taking a little time to relax. It’s totally understandable to want to take a break and visit loved ones during the holiday season, but many travel nurses make the mistake of waiting until January to secure their next travel nurse job, leaving them in a less than ideal situation that could have been easily avoided. Don’t be that traveler! Read on for some key tips on how to beat the January travel nurse job rush.
Knowing is half the battle, so first it’s important to understand that you are not (by a long-shot) the only travel nurse who wants time off over the holidays and a fresh new assignment in early January. Staffing agencies typically get a bum rush of applicants in the first couple weeks of each new year, and that means an increase in competition for each job opening. Seeking a job during this hectic time means competing against more applicants for the same pool of jobs and sometimes communicating with overburdened recruiters. All of this introduces stress and uncertainty that you just don’t need in your life — nor is it any way to christen a fresh new year!
If you know what you want from your next assignment, go ahead and plan for it now. Just because you don’t want to actually start your next assignment until January doesn’t mean you can’t get the ball rolling now and lock in your next fabulous career opportunity. In many cases you can even get a contract signed several weeks ahead of your start date. Set it and forget it, as they say! That way you can enjoy the holidays secure in the thought that your next assignment is waiting in the wings.
Above all, communicate with your recruiter early and often. Throughout the year you should be in touch whenever you have an inkling of your next move. This will help your recruiter better partner with you to land the jobs you want in the locations you desire within the time frames that work best for you. And even when they can’t guarantee you that perfect Goldilocks assignment, having a comprehensive understanding of your needs will help them get as close as possible. When it comes to avoiding the January job rush, one good tip is that wanting time off for the holidays doesn’t necessarily mean have to mean taking a break between assignments. Working with your recruiter to put specific days off in your contract is one approach — but it does take planning ahead! For example, it could mean having the foresight all the way back in August to request Thanksgiving off as a condition of your contract. Or, if you know you simply want to start a job in early January, you should still let your recruiter know as soon as possible. It’s never too early to communicate your needs and the earlier you do so the better odds you have of getting placed in your dream job.