Firstly, this title is misleading. As a nurse practitioner, life after graduation actually begins long before graduation. If you’re not already planning for the next step (employment), you need to be.

But what exactly does this mean to a neonatal nurse practitioner?

Here is what new nursing grads need to know about their job search.

1. The clock starts ticking — before you even graduate

Your goal is to be in the saddle of your first NNP job within six months of graduation.


After six months, any additional time spent unemployed can be detrimental. Employers will start to ask ‘what’s wrong with this person?’.

Here is what your potential employer is thinking:

This person’s skillset of procedural competency is a ‘use it or lose it’ skill set, and I don’t want to run the risk of hiring someone on the ‘waning’ side of that skill set

The 300 new grads and hundreds of experienced NNPs with razor sharp procedural skills currently in the hiring pool are much more attractive than someone who has been out of practice too long…

Employers understand that a six-month time frame will allow three to four months to obtain licensing, certification and credentialing, so this timeframe is understandable and no cause for alarm.

2. The best time to start seeking an NNP job is before your need for employment is urgent

Ideally, you have started your NNP job search three to six months before graduating.

By now, you have at least availed yourself of information on the availability of NNP jobs in your desired areas.

Life after graduation can and should be gratifying and productive, but if you are not prepared, it has the potential to be terrifying! Fortunately, the many pitfalls NNP grads fall into are avoidable with the right strategy.

As a firm that exclusively recruits neonatal nurse practitioners, one thing we so often see is a new or soon-to-be NNP grad living in one location graduate and then realize there are no neonatal nurse practitioner jobs in their locality.

At this point, there are often tears. What we try to do is help you avoid the tears, or at least shed them well in advance. We do this by acting as your personal coach, your advocate to potential employers, and your support system every step of the way.

3. It’s not too soon to get started

Here is what you NEED to do as an NNP before receiving your diploma:

  • Know what the NNP job marketplace really looks like
  • Know the clearly defined role, settings, and patient population you are seeking
  • Have your resume reviewed by a qualified professional with a hiring background
  • Be prepared for the interview process
  • Know what salary you can expect to receive

Candidates who use a recruiter are often viewed by potential employers as better matches for their positions than those who apply on their own. Employers know any candidate sent to them by a professional recruiter has already been screened to meet specific expectations.

Remember, no matter which path you choose, choose to plan for success in your job search.

Do you have new grad questions or tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

neonatal nurse practitioner job search