The Evolution of the Job Search

Job searching has evolved. Where we go to find a new job is not the same as it was even a year ago. It’s tough to keep up with the trends. If you haven’t changed jobs for several years, you’re going to find out that the strategy you used to find your last job is no longer effective. If you are a new grad who is beginning the search for your first job, chances are the well-meaning advice you get from your instructors is outdated.

So what has changed?

Some of you may remember the big “job boards” that were popular a few years ago. There were basically two kinds of boards. Specialty or “niche” boards existed primarily to host job ads for either NPs or PAs or both. Employers paid to post their positions, and job seekers could either regularly visit the board or post a résumé and wait for calls. The other type of board that was popular was what I call the “big box” board. These boards were not specific to our profession but were so big and had such high-name recognition, they had the capability of reaching more job seekers, because they showed up at the top of most search engine results. What both types of job boards had in common was that the job seeker actively had to seek them out. In other words, if you weren’t out looking for work you would never see the ads.

Now, most job ads come to you. One of the ways this happens is that the ads are placed on websites you’re visiting for other reasons. You may have noticed that many of your professional organizations are hosting job ads. Makes sense right? Now when you visit your favorite healthcare information site, you are likely to see ads targeted to you and your interests. Much like your favorite online retail stores, technology has evolved to have a pretty good idea of what type of job might catch your eye based on your browsing history and previous searches.

Direct email is another way to promote job openings. Again, the jobs are quite specific and may come from either an employer or as a mass emailing from an organization or staffing agency. I get several of these each week.

If you are opting out of these emails, you are making a big mistake. Just because you aren’t looking for work today doesn’t mean the emails and ads aren’t helpful. For one thing, they keep you up to date on market trends and salaries. You can use this information to renegotiate your current position, which is helpful. And if you do decide to seek a new job, your search will be more effective, and in general you will be better informed as you start your job search.

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