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Make the Most of Your Internet Job Search

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By Christina Orlovsky, senior writer

The future looks bright for college students and new graduates—especially in health care fields—as the time comes to begin their job search. In fact, recent statistics from Internet job site CareerBuilder.com report that 85 percent of health care companies are looking to hire new employees in 2007 and 80 percent are looking to hire recent college graduates.

“It’s an exciting time for nurses,” said Theresa Chu, career advisor with Career Builder. “For us, health care positions are always in strong demand, especially nurses, radiology techs, pharmacists, medical assistants and other support staff. Nurses should feel good about that.”

Similar findings from Monster.com indicate that 76 percent of more than 900 employers surveyed plan to hire new college graduates this summer, with 38 percent saying they’ll hire more new grads this year than last year.

Not only are the jobs out there, they’re also a lot easier to search for, thanks to the age of the Internet and the abundance of job Web sites that exist to introduce employees to future employers. More and more job seekers are going online to send prospective employers their résumé and to post their résumé on Web sites that can be searched by other companies in their field. The process of Internet job seeking has become so popular, in fact, that statistics from Recruiters Network, the Association for Internet Recruiting, reveal that on an average day 4 million people search out new job opportunities on the Internet.

But just because there are job sites aplenty, from large sites like Career Builder, Monster and Hot Jobs, to smaller specialty sites by occupation, it doesn’t mean you can throw all caution to the wind and abandon all good job-searching tactics.

“The Internet has definitely made it easier to find these opportunities, but the same challenges in job searching still exist—making your résumé and cover letter the best they can be, sounding professional and urging employers to call you,” Chu said. “Those challenges are all still there and you need to make sure you’re brushed up on your skills.”

First among those skills is creating a clean, effective résumé.

“You don’t know how many people you’re competing against, so you want to stand out and be unique, but also balance that with professionalism,” Chu recommended. “Keep the résumé simple, bold and professional. Instead of focusing on flashy formatting, employers appreciate a clean and polished document with simple headings and bullets.”

Also, be sure to use strong action words to describe your experience—even if you aren’t sure you have any marketable experience coming straight out of school.

“Do not take any previous experience for granted,” Chu continued. “While you may not think you have real world experience because you’ve been in the classroom for four years, you do; you just have to look for it. If you volunteered or were active in a student or professional organization where you had to manage a set of 20 volunteers or a budget of $10,000, you might take for granted that it was just a student activity, but hiring managers are looking for that, knowing you were in a leadership role.”

Because most job sites allow both employees and employers to search for each other, it is a good idea to not only be proactive and send your résumé to companies that interest you but also to make your résumé searchable to other companies as well.

“By allowing them to search for you, you’re opening yourself up to opportunities that you may not have found on your own,” Chu added. “For this reason, you really want to incorporate the hot words in your industry in your résumé—if there’s a certain software nurses are using that you’re proficient in or other things people are talking about in nursing—so that if an employer is searching for that keyword, your résumé will pop up.”

Finally, remember that your résumé and cover letter should not have a one-size-fits-all approach and that the Internet is useful for essential research as well as your job search.

“Customize your résumé for each job,” Chu said. “Look at the health care organization, do some research and find out what their company culture is and the size of the organization and then tailor your résumé to fit that sort of culture.”

For an even more tailored approach to job searching, visit NurseZone’s Design Your Ideal Job section to search for jobs that fit your interests.

© 2007. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.