One of the most difficult aspects about finding a career after college can be battling through the frustrating requirements of would-be employers, such as needing “real world experience.” In southeast Michigan, though the economy is booming and jobs are returning, Detroiters cannot fill these open opportunities when employers demand experience as a requirement for hire. It’s a double-edged sword that often paralyzes job candidates into a kind of limbo.

Registered Nurse Kelli Hansen (photo courtesy of Kelli Hansen)

Registered Nurse Kelli Hansen (photo courtesy of Kelli Hansen)

READ MORE: Interest In Unionizing Grows Among Michigan Starbucks Workers

Kelli Hansen BSN, RN, CMCN, LNC graduated with a bachelor’s degree of science in nursing from Kent State University in Ohio in 1997. She went on to pursue additional certifications such as a certification in managed care nursing and certificates in patient advocacy and legal nurse consulting. Kelli experienced firsthand how difficult a job search can be without the required experience sought by employers, yet she succeeded. Kelli is also the chief nursing officer and founder of Advocate Nurses, LLC.

After graduation, how hard was it to transition to the actual working world?

“After graduation, locating a nursing job in 1997 was somewhat difficult. Every employer was requesting to hire a registered nurse with experience, but one can’t get on the job experience without being given the opportunity as a new RN. I started my transition into the actual working world in a difficult job position after nearly three months of applications. I started as a floor nurse on a step-down cardiac/ICU type floor at a local hospital. Nothing in college could have prepared me for the low pay out of college, nursing shortage, the difficult patients, low nursing morale, the challenging night shift hours and the lack of time to devote my nursing talents to my patients.”

READ MORE: Delta Unveils New Face Recognition Screen That Displays Personalized Flight Information

How important is a solid education within your field?

“Years ago, RNs could get a good job having only a diploma in nursing. Then as time progressed, it became an associate’s degree that was needed, then a bachelor’s degree became the minimum standard. Even now, the job market is competitive and many positions in my field often request additional education such as certifications in areas of expertise and master’s degrees.”

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?

“I would advise younger individuals to pursue your career goals and not to give up on yourself. If you have an idea what you want to do, find jobs, even if it’s part time, or locate a mentor in that area and seek advice along the way. Everything you do in your education and job search builds upon itself as you continue down your career path. Never ‘burn any bridges’ with any of your employers as you never know when you may have another opportunity to work with them or beside them in years to come. Pursue your career with your best foot forward and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”

MORE NEWS: Highland Park Shooting Suspect Bobby Crimo III Charged With 7 Counts Of First-Degree Murder

Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at