During episode 39 of The Nurse Keith Show, holistic career coach Keith “Nurse Keith” Carlson discusses how to leverage your accomplishments and successes in the interest of your nursing career development.
When you’re making a concerted effort to move your career in a positive direction, there are plenty of things you can do, like updating your resume, spiffing up your LinkedIn profile, and making sure your shoes are shined and your teeth are brushed for job interviews.
However, there’s more to it than just doing the basics, and many nurses and other job-seekers forget to quantify their accomplishments and boldly share those successes with others.
When I work with my career coaching clients, I often ask how they can quantify and qualify their accomplishments, successes, and professional activities. Quantification is especially important, because it puts a number behind your claims and stories, giving more weight to what you’d like to share about yourself as a professional nurse.
If you’re writing a resume or cover letter and trying to describe a position you held, you could say, “Supervised CNAs and LPNs on busy long term care unit.” That’s fine, but there’s so much more you could say. Try this on for size: “Supervised team of six CNAs and four LPNs on 27-bed long term care unit. During my tenure as Director of Nursing, rates of urinary tract infection decreased by 56% and rates of pneumonia decreased by 32%.” Do you see the difference? Numbers speak volumes.
On LinkedIn, you have much more space and breathing room for the telling of salient stories about your accomplishments, so use that space to your advantage; tell a story, document a success, and use real-world statistics to speak for you. In fact, if you’re good with images, create a graph that you can upload to your LinkedIn profile.
You can also use this tactic in job interviews. Let’s say you’re applying for a position in an ICU, and you’ve been a critical care and ICU nurse for many years. What can you quantify that’s worth communicating? How many patients have you served? How many infections did you catch before they took hold? If you were a supervisor, how many direct reports did you have? What happened under your watch that is valuable enough to share and boast about?
In speaking with several clients recently, I learned that they had each been involved in a several committees at their respective facilities. Volunteering for committees and research at your workplace is a smart career development strategy, both for the learning that can occur, but also for the experience. So, if you are indeed getting your hands on any research or other initiatives at your place of employment, get your name on any papers, reports, or charts that are created from that work. Having your involvement documented in writing on facility stationary or publications is huge, and you can leverage that experience in so many ways.
Also, when you’re diligently involved with a piece of research, committee work, or other projects, ask your supervisor or the lead person for a written testimonial about your contributions. If you can have that testimonial written on LinkedIn, that’s great, but having it written on facility stationary is also a real coup. Don’t be shy; ask!
Finally, consider this type of documentation like a bank account of your successes and accomplishments; you’re squirreling away kudos, praise, testimonials, quantified results, and recommendations for a rainy day, and you can pull those supporting comments and data out of your career toolbox when you need them most.
There’s nothing wrong with tooting your horn, and I’m just reminding you to toot it with quantifiable, qualifiable, documented accomplishments, praise, and data that will serve your career mobility in myriad ways.
The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by James Larson, and social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.
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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, 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 Nurse.com.
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, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, 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. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.