Tips on how to use the Web to find your next job
By Edward Doyle
When it comes to getting help finding a job, business in cyberspace is booming. A growing number of Web sites offering everything from job listings to career counseling is turning the much-hyped information superhighway into a useful-and free-source of information for job seekers.
While there are plenty of sites to choose from, you need to find services that are worth the time and effort. Here are some tips to make the most of electronic job hunting.
Bigger is better. When perusing job-related Web sites, bigger is definitely better. After all, going online to look for a job is only worthwhile if you can tap into a large pool of listings; otherwise, searching online isn't that different from looking through multiple newspapers and magazines.
Most job-related Web sites for medical professionals claim to contain about 1,000 job listings, but not all those jobs are for physicians. A recent visit to some of the larger medical Web sites yielded anywhere from seven to 30 job listings for internists in a single state or region of the country (see list below), and plenty of Web sites run by recruitment agencies and hospitals offer even fewer listings.
One of the largest Web sites for medical jobs is MedSearch America, which claims to post about 2,000 job opportunities for physicians. David Rivera, MD, an ob/gyn who visited MedSearch when he was seeking a new job, said that on his first trip online he found more than 250 openings in his specialty. "It was a neat way of seeing what's out there and getting an overview of location, what they're offering, what kind of group it is," he said. After responding to some of the online listings, Dr. Rivera found a new job in about a month.
Search engines. Pay attention to the Web site's search engine-the software you will be using to maneuver through its thousands of listings. Web sites boast that online job searching is easier than browsing medical journals because electronic search engines allow users to find what they're looking for quickly.
Top-notch Web sites have search engines that allow users to type in a word or phrase and search the site's entire contents; even better services rank the results, also known as hits, so that you get the closest matches first. Others, like Physician RecruitNet, a Web site that is an offshoot of Today's Health Care magazine, allow users to search a job database by clicking on different sections of a U.S. map and then narrowing their choices down by clicking on a specialty such as internal medicine.
Still other sites are developing search engines that will allow users to search by salary range, subspecialty and years of experience. Keep in mind, however, that if your search is too narrow, you might overlook jobs of interest. A dermatologist who asks to see job listings in San Francisco, for example, might miss an ideal job in nearby San Jose. Or the physician who types in "internist" might miss a slew of job offerings listed under "internal medicine physician."
Your response. The fastest way to respond to an online job listing is to send a short message or even your entire CV via e-mail, options offered by most sites. Some services even allow users to post detailed information about themselves online. MedSearch, for example, allows physicians to post their CVs to a private database that can be viewed only by employers and recruiters who subscribe. The service is free for physicians; employers and recruiters pay $475 for three-month subscriptions.
So far, however, physicians seem to be reluctant to put too much information about themselves online. While MedSearch gets approximately 6,000 visitors a day-a mix of doctors and other health care professionals-it normally has only a few hundred physician resumes online. The consensus is that few physicians are ready to put information about themselves online until they have at least talked to the prospective employer. "If they find an opportunity that's good and exciting, they may send their resume out," MedSearch's Mr. Bouchard said, "but they may not want to put it out on a public database."
On some sites, however, providing personal information is not optional. To get to the 1,000 or so job listings on the Physicians Employment Web site, users must type in their name, address, phone number and specialty. Officials from the site say the information is used only to e-mail physicians about jobs in which they might be interested.
Other options. If these sites still leave you hungry for more information, try the online versions of traditional classified ads. Medical journals, including Annals of Internal Medicine, put their classified ads online before they appear in print, giving online job seekers an edge. Many large newspapers also post their classifieds on the Internet. (Six major newspapers including The New York Times and The Washington Post put their classified ads on the Web site CareerPath.)
In addition, a growing number of hospitals and a handful of large group practices have Web pages that give details about the practice, its location and sometimes even the physicians on staff. For information on a geographic area you're considering, look for the Web sites being created by states and cities that provide details about their area.
How do you find these sites? Web search engines like Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com) or Google (http://www.google.com) are easy to use; you enter a few keywords describing an employer or an area you're interested in and press the submit button. A word of caution: Be prepared to sort through a long list of results.
A physician's guide to the cyber classifieds
Just how effective is online job searching? A quick look at some of the biggest and best Web sites found that most-but not all-provided enough job listings for physicians to make going online worthwhile. All the sites have a search engine that allows users to narrow down their choices, but the quality varies. Here are some of the top picks.
CareerPath (http://www.careerpath.com) provides a collection of classified ads from a long list of newspapers that includes The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. Although the site offers a limited number of job opportunities in medicine, it is a good example of what the future holds for job-related Web sites.
MedSearch America (http://www.med search.com), which is part of the huge consumer online job service The Monster Board, lets physicians search for jobs by state, by entering keywords like "cardiology" or by choosing from the broad category "physicians/surgeons." Users can also search for jobs by employer name and enter their CV into an online database that employers and recruiters can access. A recent search of internal medicine positions in California produced 28 job listings.
Physicians Employment (http://www.physemp.com/physicians.html) requires physicians to register before browsing through job listings, but officials say the information is used only to send e-mail informing physicians about opportunities in which they might be interested. When searching through job listings, users can choose from 30 specialties. A recent visit yielded 10 internal medicine listings in the state of California.
Physician RecruitNet (http://physiciannet.com) gives users the chance to click on a map of the United States to choose the geographic area they're interested in and identify their specialty. On a recent visit, a search of internal medicine in the western United States yielded seven job listings.
PracticeNet , (http://www.practice-net.com/) the Web site run by the recruiting firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates, allows users to view listings by specialty only. Many of the listings do not reveal the name of the practice or its exact location; users must go through the firm for more information. A recent visit yielded 27 openings in internal medicine for the entire country.
For internal medicine only, try ACP Online, where classified ads from Annals of Internal Medicine (http://www.acponline.org/classif/clasmenu.htm) appear about a month before they appear in print. The downside: Users can search by specialty only.
The American Medical Association's (http: //www.ama-assn.org/) Web site contains job listings from JAMA and other journals it publishes.
The New England Journal of Medicine (http://www.nejm.org/) also posts its classified ads.
While not technically a Web site, SmartSearch software helps physicians create a polished CV and then match it to a database of employers. Users also have access to a special Web site that contains job listings. The software costs $89. Information: MediMatch Inc., 800-562-7123.
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