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The Latent Phase: Landing It

By Stephanie Tillman, CNM, MS

After the last entry’s list of job hunting strategies, are you ready with a list of postings? Does performance anxiety have you stuck at an open draft email screen with a blinking cursor? Here are the next steps to getting your first (or next) midwifery job.


When it comes to applying for midwifery jobs, competition is fierce. Your cover letter and resume market and advertise the things that set you apart from the rest of the pool, so spend lots of time making these fantastic!

Your resume should look clean and be easy to scan for the vital points. Write down a list of everything you think is important and unique about yourself – and I assure you, there are many things. Include anything and everything midwifery-related: extra trainings, doula work, workshops, Centering experience, clinical specializations you earned while in school that are outside the typical scope of practice (EMBs, colposcopies, ultrasound). For those who utilize a statement at the top of the resume, this is an opportunity to create a brief description about your personal approach in midwifery care.

If you need a starting place or suggestions for organization, I created an outline of my own resume.

Almost all of the job postings I see lately encourage inquiry over email. I found it most useful to use the email itself as a cover letter containing a reference to an attached resume. A cover letter should expand upon your resume in a narrative way, since resumes are limited to brief bullet points; this is your chance to elaborate and make your strengths shine. Make sure to detail why you're interested in the particular job posting or practice, and what drew you to apply.


Approach an interview as you might a birth: with deep breathing, a state of calm, and flexibility!

The list you created to screen job postings should also be on your mind, and can be used when you ask your own questions during an interview. Remember that every interview goes both ways! Specific topics to hit during interviews (first, second, or third round, depending on their importance to you) might include: orientation (especially for new grads), hours of call, hours of clinic, back-up, midwifery support by collaborators, length of clinic visit time, adherence to labor curves, TOLACs, inductions, post-dates, etc.

Perhaps this is my Type-A personality, but for every interview I also made a list of details about myself that I wanted to get across. Whether a place was or wasn’t open to new graduates, I was going to tout my skills and show what I had to offer. This included my personal midwife approach and whether it would be acceptable within the group, why I was a unique candidate, and why I was interested in their specific practice and patient population. Create your own list to check off throughout the interview, and make sure you say it all!

If you don’t get a position, seeking feedback regarding the interview can be incredibly helpful in preparing for other interviews. Always consider contacting your interviewer and asking for feedback!

Words to the wise

Midwives are a busy bunch, and interviews can happen on the fly. Sometimes I had a number of email-interview-tangoes before I was screened enough to be called for an official interview. Others called right away, sometimes in the middle of the night. Whatever the scenario, make sure you are comfortable with the interview approach - you always have the option of scheduling a phone call. Taking a new job (and, conversely, accepting a new midwife) is important, and should be done correctly.

I also learned that some midwives who own their practices and conduct their own interviews may not know the boundaries of legally appropriate interview questions. Questions about marital status, children or plans for children, or religious beliefs are all illegal to ask. Make sure that you stay within your own boundaries of comfort when answering any question, and do not feel pressured into answering illegal ones.

Finally, I encountered several “alternative” hiring options for new grads: shadowing midwives for three months and then reapplying for the job, "interning" for six months without pay for a chance at being offered a position, or working part-time for six months or a year before determining if I was a good fit for the practice. At first I thought these were great opportunities to be integrated into a practice, but I quickly realized they wouldn’t work for me. After so many years of education and preparation, I felt that I deserved to be paid for my work, that if I was a good fit and would care for a practice’s patients, then I should be hired and paid as a midwife. Midwifery school is expensive, and my student loans are only one of the bills I need to pay. I was only willing relocate my entire life (and my family) for a full job. I encourage you to consider your bottom line as well, because these offers can be hard to refuse.


Many schools have career support systems in place. Check with your school, program, or professional institution to find out if they offer resume review, practice interviews, or follow-up.

For those interviewing or conducting interviews, do you have application and interview advice? Any pearls for those ramping up to do this for the first time?

Stephanie Tillman is a recently-graduated Nurse-Midwife now practicing full-scope midwifery in the urban United States, at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and as a member of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). With a background in global health and experience in international clinical care, the impact of public health and the broader profession of midwifery are present in all her thoughts and works. Stephanie's blog, Feminist Midwife, discusses issues related to women, health, and care. Find out more at and follow her on Twitter at @feministmidwife.

Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 3/29/2013 10:21:38 AM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


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