Optimizing your resume for the Internet

Resumes remain an essential calling card for job seekers, but the Internet and social networking websites have redefined the way resumes are disseminated and shared.

When preparing to post a resume to an Internet job site, jobseekers must keep a few things in perspective, according to Robbie Sewell, MHS, the president and CEO of Saddlebrook Associates clinical management recruitment firm in Englewood, Colo.

“The Internet is just a super highway. It's not a person-to-person venue,” Sewell explained. “You still ultimately end up in a person-to-person relationship.”

If you see a position you want, Sewell advises avoiding revising your resume to fit the job description. Instead, focus on who you are because it is unrealistic to expect to match a job description perfectly. Sewell says that a good candidate will match at about a 60% level.

“You want to know very clearly who you are, and what you want. That's what you want your resume to be,” Sewell says. “If you're trying to be too many things to too many people, you're going to be nothing to nobody.”

When searching for appropriate sites to post your resume, Sewell suggests that PAs and NPs look at both local and national association sites, job boards that are specific to PAs and NPs, as well as subsections of general job sites and targeted employer web pages. The best means of finding a reputable site is to ask others in the profession.

But avoid posting your resume on too many job sites, Sewell advises. “Employers like to know you're a pearl of great price, a hidden treasure. If you're on every job board in the country, you're not as valuable, and if you're currently working, your employer may find out you're looking,” she says.

Also remember that the skills, experience and positions listed on a resume become keywords that are searchable by prospective employers and third-party recruiters.

Online social networking venues such as LinkedIn or Facebook are quickly surpassing job boards as the best way to search for work online. Sewell encourages jobseekers to seriously consider online networking to find positions.

“Everybody understands the value of social networking. If you put out a respectable request to talk or meet online, you'll be treated cordially, and you'll extend your network,” she says.

And remember that maintaining the right online reputation is essential. Many employers Google job applicants' names, so it is important to keep a professional Internet presence.

“You have to be who you want to be known as professionally on all websites,” Sewell says. “You can't be professional on LinkedIn then be in a bikini on Facebook.”

Susan Schooleman is a freelance medical writer in the greater Denver area.

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