Graduation. It’s the day that all nursing students look forward to since the moment school started. But what happens after this highly anticipated day? The next steps you take will determine your success in the years to come, so no pressure. Here are some things to do to help guide your post-graduation plans! 

1. Celebrate!

Don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments! Give yourself a couple days to relax and spend time with your loved ones. If you jump straight into studying for the NCLEX, you may find yourself getting burn out, and you definitely don’t want that. Keep your mental health strong and make time for the things you haven’t had time for in the past.

2. Apply For Licensure 

In order to be eligible to take the NCLEX after you graduate from nursing school, you must first apply for licensure/registration with your state’s Board of Nursing. You will also need to register to take the NCLEX exam with Pearson VUE. This process takes time and money, so be sure to plan ahead financially and talk with your instructors about how far in advance they recommend you applying. 

3. Practice Interviewing 

You never want to “wing” an interview, so practicing and preparing for future interviews is a must. Start by polishing up your resume and make sure you have references from your last semester who are willing to be listed. You will also need a strong cover letter, so make a generic one that can be tailored to any position you apply for. 

The second part of being prepared for an interview is having the right clothes. Invest in a nice suit jacket and slacks or a business skirt and blouse. You want to feel confident and make a great first impression and this is a great way to do both. 

Lastly, you will want to practice answering questions that the interviewer might ask. Become confident and comfortable with speaking out loud by practicing with friends or family. 

4. Apply For Jobs

If you want to have a job lined up directly after graduation, you should start applying about 3-4 months prior. Applications take a while to be considered, so don’t let the fact that you don’t have your license yet stop you. If you have a job contingent upon passing the NCLEX, it will help relieve the stress of job searching while you are studying! 

Congratulations on graduating from nursing school! The best years of your life are ahead of you so grab the bull by the horns and get to work!