TAPPING INTO the Internet can give you enormous amounts of information from all over the world in just a few seconds-which is both a blessing and a curse if you're searching for a job in a field with as many opportunities as nursing. Try entering nursing jobs in a popular search engine. In just 0.14 seconds you'll get almost 100 million entries. How do you begin to narrow them down?
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This article will help. You'll learn the steps to follow to find the job that's just right for you. If you're willing to relocate, see Where in the world should you go?
Step 1. Prepare your resume
Before you begin your search, write or update your resume and file it on your computer. (For more about how to write a resume, see "Resume Do's and Don'ts," Nursing2006 Career Directory.) Many sites will have you copy and paste sections of your resume into their database.
Because employers will search for key words, you should use specific terms in your resume to list your skill sets and job titles. For example, use terms such as infusion specialist or ACLS provider.
Step 2. Start your engines
Search engines streamline access to information available on the Internet. Some of the most common search engines include http://www.google.com, http://www.search.com, http://www.yahoo.com, and http://www.ask.com.
The key to finding the specific information that you need is in the words you choose to put into the search engine. To refine your search, narrow the options, and identify the most important aspects, use the "advanced search preferences" option that most search engines offer. Putting quotation marks around two or more words means that the search engine will look for only those sites that have these words together. For example, if you enter nurse manager instead of "nurse manager," you'll retrieve every site mentioning nurses or managers. Using quotes around the phrase will give you only sites that mention both.
You can also mix it up and get different results by inputting different search terms. For instance, try "nursing employment Web sites," "nursing job postings," "nursing jobs," and so forth.
The best search engines present all the content of the Internet with the most-visited sites listed first. The first few sites that appear aren't necessarily the best ones, so explore farther down the list. Sites noted on the side or highlighted at the top of the list are links from paid advertisers.
Step 3. Look into a Web site
For some specific Web sites to try, see Check out these nursing job sites. To connect with potential employers safely, see Sidestep identity theft.
When you visit a site, it may ask you to register before you can access information. If you do, you may end up getting a lot of unsolicited e-mail, also known as spam. One way to deal with this consequence is to set up a specific e-mail account that's just for job searches rather than your regular personal e-mail address. When you create a screen name for a job search, choose one that sounds professional, not cutesy, and that doesn't use someone else's name. After you find a job, simply delete this e-mail name.
Step 4. Research your options
When you're deciding which job openings to pursue, look at the health care facilities and not just the specific jobs available. For example, in a nursing shortage, you can take time to research different hospitals in the area you like in order to find the best fit.
You can find information about hospitals online, or send an e-mail to ask about the retention rate for both the hospital and the unit for which you're applying. The human resources department should be able to tell you about any accreditations and awards the hospital has received, turnover for nursing management and senior nursing leadership, and current nursing and hospital initiatives. You can also ask the hospital's marketing department for its annual report for nursing, which most hospitals publish. Or look on the hospital's Web site-it should be trumpeting their awards and other achievements.
Many Web sites ask for payment for this information, but you can usually find the data you want online without paying a fee. For example, try the U.S. News & World Report directory of American hospitals, where you can find the information you need without registering or paying a fee. (See http://www.usnews.com/usnews/health/hospitals.) On this site, you can learn whether the facility is for-profit or nonprofit, total number of beds, and accreditations. Click on "About This Hospital" to get more information-from outpatient visits to the number of part-time nurses, from the number of births to a detailed list of services provided. A link to the hospital's Web site is also provided. Many hospitals are now listing their benefits online to help with their recruitment efforts. This information can help you compare jobs' overall value to you.
The Uniform Resource Locater (URL) is the line you type in at the top of the page to tell your Internet service provider where you want to go on the Internet. Creating your own URL and putting it on your business card is an excellent way to direct potential employers and networking contacts to a current copy of your resume.
Getting the most out of an online job search will save you much time and effort. If you're not used to using the Internet, looking for a job online can seem overwhelming. But once you get comfortable with it, the Internet can be a powerful tool-and it sure beats pounding the pavement!!
Where in the world should you go?
If you're open to relocating, begin your job search with the area in which you want to live based on what you value. But what is that? You might choose an area for its safety, cost of living, or cultural opportunities-or its number of golf courses. Access http://www.bestplaces.net to contrast and compare various locales or use http://www.usacitylink.com for information about specific cities. Use the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site for employment and salary figures at http://www.bls.gov.
And now there's a fun option to explore a new city you might be considering. A new organization called Career Tours will send you on a free tour to a city where sponsoring hospitals are offering a weekend for you to learn more about opportunities in their organization and within their city. For more information, see http://www.CareerTours.com.
Sidestep identity theft
Identity theft is a serious problem. If a Web site asks you to give personal information, always use caution. Sometimes the page asking you for information looks like a credible Web site but isn't. Don't just plug in information wherever it's requested. Some experts recommend not posting your resume online at a site like Google, because many people would have access to your personal information.
How can you protect yourself and your information? When you register, you can omit your street address or use a first initial instead of your full name. Be wary of "background checks." Never provide your Social Security number or bank account information to a potential employer. If contacted by e-mail or letter, look for typos or poor wording. Beware of e-mail addresses that don't seem to go to the right company. Don't be in a hurry to reply, and use common sense. For more information, see http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft.html.
Check out these nursing job sites
http://NursingCenter.com, from the publisher of Nursing2007 Career Directory, offers a free online job search plus career-related articles and lists of organizations. You don't have to register or provide personal information to access the jobs available.
http://Healthjobsplus.com, a brand-new site that's also from the publisher of the Nursing2007 Career Directory, features free registration, easy posting of resumes, and simple, intuitive searches. This site makes it easy for nurses and other health care professionals to apply for jobs. Partnerships with major agencies will let you tap both local and nationwide opportunities. Look here for career advice and clinical updates.
http://Careerbuilder.com will let you post your resume in one of three levels of accessibility. You can post it in the standard way, which lets employers search for your data; you can post it anonymously; or you can post it privately, which means you can submit it online to only those employers you select.
http://Nursingworld.org, the American Nurses Association site, provides ads about job openings for members and nonmembers.
http://Hospitaljobsonline.com lists a host of specific nursing positions by state and specialty, from nurse educators to transplant. The only data it requests to enter this site is your e-mail address, job title, and primary language.
http://NSNA.org is the site of the National Student Nursing Association, whose career center lists hospitals with internships, externships and preceptor programs.