Evaluating online job listings

Sometimes job-hunting takes more than pounding the pavement or circling the “wanted ads” in the newspaper. These days, it takes Internet savvy.

“Social media is huge right now. It's about getting on Facebook. It's also about reading the newspaper. You need to use every tool that's available to you to get that perfect job,” Mike Erwin, a senior career advisor at CareerBuilder.com, said in an interview. “The health care industry really realizes that by going online, you're going to get the most diverse applicants."

People seeking careers as nurse practitioners or physician assistants may want to go directly to a potential employer's website, as most have job listings and an online application process posted. Many career websites also exist, with listings that are both specific to the medical area and more general.

Clinicians searching on Careerbuilder.com can search within the entire healthcare industry, or by specific job title. Similarly, Monster.com offers job searches by career title or key words. Both sites offer searches by city or state. Ontargetjobs.com allows the searcher to browse job listings by category, job title, city or employer. LinkedIn also hosts a job search site that users can search by position title or company name. Medhunting.com specifically caters to the healthcare community, with job postings spanning various locations around the nation that can be searched by title or region.

If you apply for a job online, there are a few tips to remember. Make sure that some of the same wording included in the online job posting is somewhere on your resume, Erwin recommended. This will increase the likelihood that your resume is noticed, as computers often sort through the applications submitted online.  Be sure to have information such as your previous employers' addresses and phone numbers, previous employment information, professional license numbers and school information ready to plug into forms.

Whether the posting is listed on an aggregator website such as Careerbuilder.com, or on the employer's website, it is important to read the listing carefully, according to Karen Bryer, director of human resources at Ohio State University Medical Center, in Columbus. “Many online postings are very basic and do not provide a lot of information. Do not apply if you do not have the education,  credentials or the experience advertised.”

Erwin does not think that is a hard-and-fast rule, though. He said sometimes it is all right to apply, even if the job seeker is not sure if he or she matches the qualifications exactly.

“I think that you really have to read the job posting because even when the listing asks for ‘two years experience,' it may say ‘entry-level position' somewhere below,” Erwin said. “My advice is to apply for everything within reason. Why not apply for the job? If you're not the right fit, the employer just may not call you back.”

Stacy M. Kess is a registered nurse and a freelance health and news writer based in Columbus, Ohio.

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