10 Best Job Posting Sites of 2023 | ConsumersAdvocate.org (2023)

Getting a Job In The 21st Century

Even though the national unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 1969, for many it seems that finding a fulfilling and well-paying job has never been more difficult. Gone are the days of walking into an office, handing in your resume, and getting a call back the same day. The same goes for being recruited into a career straight out of college.

According to a study conducted by Burning Glass Technologies, 43 percent of recent college graduates are considered “underemployed” in their first job after graduation. That means that almost half of grads are working jobs that don’t require bachelor’s degrees and which often don’t pay livable wages. When you combine this reality with the heavy weight of student loan debt, the situation can be very frustrating.

Searching for jobs online lets you cast a wider net than ever before. But that has not always been the case. In an article published in 2002, Peter Kuhn of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Mikal Skuterud of the University of Waterloo found that, at the time, people who searched for jobs online tended to be unemployed for longer.

Kuhn told us that “it used to be the case in the early days that people looked on job boards sort of as a last resort. They didn't have a lot of informal contacts [and] they tried other things that didn't work.”

However, the trend has reversed in the last twenty years, and periods of unemployment were found to have shortened by 25 percent in 2011.

Kuhn added: “I think the technology has improved a great deal. [Searching for jobs online] has become a universal way to look for work. Even if you're looking for a job informally, by contacts or a job board, you're doing it with things like LinkedIn [so] you're doing it online as well.”

In this guide, we’ll talk about how job search sites work, what they do to attract the best applicants, and how you can optimize your application to get the job you want—whether you’re just out of college, switching industries, or re-entering the workforce.

The Low-Down on Job Search Sites

Job search sites get job information in two ways. Employers can post open positions on the website, sometimes paying a fee for every application received through them, or they can post the jobs on the company’s internal job board and allow the job search site to display the post. Sometimes, employers pay to give the post a prominent position in the search results. You’ll see these posts marked as “featured” or “sponsored”.

Almost every job search site allows candidates to browse job postings without an account, but you get additional perks if you log in. For example, many sites permit you to upload your resume to your profile so you can apply for jobs directly and quickly through the site. Once you find a job post you like, you can click a button to send your employment and education history, saving you time you would otherwise have spent filling in a lengthy application form.

With most sites, if you do create an account, you can also opt into receiving daily or weekly alerts for the same criteria you selected. Then, whenever a new job that checks all your boxes is posted, you’ll get an email so you can submit your application. By setting up job alerts on multiple sites, you can avoid having to search for new jobs every single day, which can go really far in keeping you sane during the job search process.

Finding the Right Job Search Site

Most companies will use more than one job search site to advertise their job postings. This strategy allows them to cast a wide net and reach more candidates. For job seekers, looking for jobs in more than one site also makes sense.

While most job seekers can find plenty of quality job postings by checking only the most popular sites, it’s good to remember that there are smaller job sites that cater to specialized industries. For a lot of people, looking for jobs on one or two of these niche sites might be enough to find really great prospects, especially for smaller companies that might get buried under the heavy hitters on other sites. For example:

  • If you’re interested in going into public service, check out USA Jobs for employment opportunities in the federal government, and Government Jobs for job postings at the municipal, state, and federal levels.

  • For jobs in technology, look on Dice, which focuses on jobs for web developers and engineers, and lets you search by coding language, software, etc. Another top choice for tech jobs is Hired, where you create a profile and companies reach out to you.

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  • Employment in non-profit organizations can be found through sites like Idealist and Encore. This last one stands out because its aim is to help the 50+ population get involved with volunteer work that can make use of the skills they developed during their career.

  • College students or grads have many sites to choose from, but two of the most popular ones are Handshake and College Recruiter, both of which list internships, volunteer opportunities, and entry-level positions.

  • People who are interested in remote work have Remotey and Jobspresso, which only post jobs that let you work from home or wherever you are.

  • For people in journalism, publishing, or media, there’s Mediabistro and JournalismJobs, both of which have been going strong for twenty years. Mediabistro also publishes industry news, so signing up for their newsletter is especially useful.

  • If you’re looking for hourly or minimum-wage work, try Snag, where hundreds of companies in food service, retail, and customer service advertise job postings from around the country.

These are just a few examples of the most popular niche job boards on the web right now, but you can find similar results for practically every industry out there. Try searching for “[your industry] + job site” and see which results come up.

What is an ATS?

Once your application is zooming across cyberspace to potential employers, it may find an Applicant-Tracking System (ATS) blocking its path. These systems, as the name says, help hiring managers and recruiters keep an accurate record of everyone applying for jobs with the company, who has been contacted for an interview, and other progress statuses leading up to hiring. In addition, the ATS has a key job at the start of the hiring pipeline: applicants who don’t have the qualifications for the job are filtered out of the pool.

The ATS scans your application for keywords that show you’re a good candidate for the job. For example, if you’re applying for a job as an Office Manager, the ATS may be programmed to flag you as a potential hire if your resume contains words or phrases like “managed schedule” or “budgeting”.

Of course, an ATS is unlikely to be as accurate as a human being who reads the application and catches subtle variations in meaning. For example, perhaps you’re used to referring to one of your duties as “calendar management” instead of “scheduling”. If the ATS isn’t configured to allow for regional or industry variations, your application may fall through the cracks.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your application land in front of the right people.

Optimize Your Application

Your Resume

Your resume is arguably the most important component of your application. It’s the first thing an ATS will scan and the first thing a hiring manager will read. Your focus should be on making it readable, comprehensive, and relevant. Beatriz Ferreria, a hiring manager at ConsumersAdvocate.org, put it succinctly, “if you don’t get a call back, it’s your resume that’s the problem. If you get an interview, but you don’t get the job, it’s you that’s the problem.” So, let’s focus on the first part of the equation.

Lose the Fancy Formatting

The more formatting your resume has, the more likely it is that it will confuse the ATS. Instead, use a simple text format that highlights your work experience, education, and skills. Only use fonts that are pre-installed on most computers. Some sources suggest that using serif fonts like Times New Roman and Georgia can trip the ATS up. To play it safe, stick to sans serif fonts such as Arial, Tahoma, and Verdana. Save it as a Microsoft Word document (.doc) or a plain text file (.txt). The file name should be simple too: just the position you’re applying for and your name.

Keywords Are Key

When you see a job posting you like, take a few minutes to identify its keywords. These are specific words that identify important roles or responsibilities for the job. Then, integrate them into your resume where applicable. If the job post is asking for “customer service experience,'' don’t just say that you “helped shoppers process their orders”. If you use the terms the company uses in the job posting, it’s more likely that the ATS will identify you as a good candidate and move you through to the next round.

New Job Application, New Resume

A typical mistake when it comes to applying for jobs is using the same resume for every application. Every company is different, from its culture and values to the specific qualifications they’re seeking in a candidate. To improve your chances of getting through the ATS and nabbing an interview, you should tailor your resume for every job. For example, if the posting says they’re seeking someone with “a proven ability to multitask”, you might emphasize that time you juggled three different projects and achieved excellent results for all of them. Identify what the company is looking for and show them you’ve got it. Which leads us to…

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Show, Don’t Tell

For every job on your resume, you should include a detailed (but not lengthy) description of what you were responsible for and what you achieved in that role. You can mention how good you are at multitasking until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t give specific instances of how that ability came into play in your previous jobs, the recruiter won’t necessarily take your word for it. Instead of writing, “Was responsible for managing client accounts”, say “Oversaw management of 52 accounts over three years, developed relationships with 5 new clients, and helped increased revenue by 45%”. Put numbers on your achievements whenever possible.

Describe Your Career Objectives

This section goes right under your name, and it’s your “elevator pitch” for the hiring manager; that is, a brief summary of why you’re the right person for this job. Here, you should mention your current position, how long you’ve been in the industry, the stand-out skills that make you a great candidate, and the kind of job you’re looking for. That last one should always be the one you’re applying for, of course. This is one more reason you shouldn’t use the same resume for every application—your objective should be tailored to each job.

How to Write a Cover Letter

The cover letter is quite possibly the most hated job-related document in the history of job applications. It’s tedious, and more than a little awkward, to write a letter to someone you don’t know about why they should hire you. To top it off, a 2015 study by recruiter software company Jobvite found that 65% of hiring managers think cover letters are one of the least important factors considered in the hiring process.

Of course, this doesn’t mean it won’t play into the decision at all. As Lisa Lewis, career coach and CEO of Career Clarity, put it: “if there's a 50% [chance] they won't look at [your cover letter], there's also a 50% chance they will look at it.”

She added that “if that's the thing that helps you tell your story and differentiate yourself, you would probably be really sad if you chose not to do it and it cost you the opportunity.”

The fact is, a cover letter can be a very effective way of crafting a narrative around your resume, especially if you’re switching industries or re-entering the job market after a hiatus, as in the case of parents who took time off to care for young children, people with chronic illnesses, or caretakers. Think of it as a longer version of your resume’s career objective.

To start, nix the “To Whom It May Concern.” Writing that ubiquitous greeting might be the easy way out, but it doesn’t say much about your care or attention to detail. Find out the name of the hiring manager who is responsible for filling this position and address the letter to them directly.

You might need to call the company directly to get this information. Not only does it show that you’re truly interested in the position, but you’ll automatically stand out because most people won’t do this. Remember to ask the hiring manager’s gender identification: you don’t want to address Taylor Smith as Mr. Smith when she’s actually Ms. Smith.

If you heard about the job from a friend or colleague, mention them by name in the cover letter. That could be the push you need to get your foot in the door.

In addition, mention the specific position you’re interested in and then tell them why you’re a good fit. Showcase your most notable achievements and skills by giving specific examples.

And last, but definitely not least, make sure to show the company what they can gain from hiring you and how your knowledge and skills could help them in the long run.

All in all, remember that the cover letter should never be longer than a single page.

Your Search

There are ways to make your search more efficient as well. For starters, avoid the impulse to apply to every single job and company you come across. Odds are you won’t get an interview for each of those jobs, so your time is better spent focusing on fewer jobs for which you truly believe you are well-suited and making sure you have a stellar resume and cover letter tailored for those jobs.

Ferreria went even further than that: “Make a list of the top ten companies you would like to work for and send the resume directly to them.” In other words, make a (realistic) wishlist of companies whose work is interesting to you, that are looking to fill positions whose requirements you meet, and with corporate values similar to yours.

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This also means doing research on potential employers even before you apply. Ferreria posed the hypothetical scenario of a candidate who does not approve of alcohol mistakenly applying for a job that would require them to work with whiskey distilleries. Researching the company before applying can save you the awkwardness of having to turn down an interview (or even a job offer) from a company that simply isn’t a good fit.

The research component of the job search will also help you later on when you are interviewed, because you’ll be in a better position to ask questions of the interviewer that show you have a genuine interest in the company.

Another tip Ferreria has for job seekers is to track your applications. “In my experience, [when I call] candidates who send out resumes like crazy, [...]they ask me, ‘What position was this for?’” She said she doesn’t mind answering the question, but it shows a lack of attention that can be an immediate turn-off. There are online tools available for this purpose, such as Huntr, which lets you add jobs to a board and sort them by status (wishlist, applied, rejected, interviewed), but an Excel spreadsheet is one of the simplest ways to do it. You can download our application tracker template below.

Finally, if you’re still using your silly email from freshman year of college, consider opening a new account with a more professional-sounding address just for job seeking. An address with just your name (and maybe your state, town, or profession if you have an especially common name) will look infinitely better on your resume. But remember to check it often! Potential employers are contacting you through that email, so make sure you’re monitoring it consistently and able to respond quickly should they email you.

Job Search Sites: An Employer’s Perspective

If you’re an employer, instead of a job seeker, you might be wondering how to find the right job search site on which to advertise your open positions. Many job search sites let you post positions for free, while offering a paid premium option that boosts your posts in applicants’ search results so you can have increased visibility.

Ferreria says the top feature she seeks in a job search site is to be able to “see who passed [the first round of consideration], and to rank them by stages, like, ‘I called them for an interview’ or ‘I hired them’.” In essence, she says, she’s looking for “a mini ATS to manage my candidates without having to invest in an in-house ATS”.

As your company grows, however, you should look into buying your own applicant tracking system. A good ATS lets you cross-post on several job search sites, view applicants from all those sites on the same platform, and classify each applicant according to their stage in the hiring process (considered, interviewed, rejected, hired, etc.) Having this software in-house saves you time and filters for higher-quality candidates.

But an ATS can only do so much, and your results will largely depend on the quality of your job post. A good posting can give job seekers a realistic idea of what you’re looking for in the ideal candidate and will attract people that meet at least most of your requirements. A bad posting, on the other hand, can either get you candidates that don’t fit the bill or no candidates at all. Here are some guidelines to help you write an effective job posting.

  1. Talk about your company and the work you do. This goes far in letting job seekers know whether they will be a good fit, culture- and skill-wise.

  2. Provide contact information. Always include a website and an email or a phone number. It lets applicants know that you’re a real company and gives them the information they need to research you. The email should always be tied to a company domain (so no Gmail or Outlook accounts).

  3. Describe the position in detail. List the daily responsibilities the work requires. Think about what a typical day at work looks like for someone with that job title.

  4. List the skills the position requires. Considering what the employee needs to do on a daily basis, compile a list of the skills or proficiencies they need to do their job efficiently.

  5. Consider including salary information. If the job you want to fill pays below market value, consider including a salary range, which will give candidates fair warning. That way, you’ll avoid interviewing candidates who won’t agree to the pay cut.

  6. Don’t advertise for a unicorn. Be realistic about what you need and what you’re likely to find in a candidate. Don’t ask for eight years of experience in a coding language that was developed three years ago. The perfect candidate doesn’t exist, so keep that in mind while writing your job post.

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  7. Avoid discriminatory language. Anything that mentions the candidate’s race, gender, nationality, physical appearance, etc, should be avoided at all costs (unless it’s a bona fide occupational qualification).

Ferreria says that a well-crafted job posting doesn’t have to go into great detail, but it should cover all the points listed above. “A good job description[…] will bring you the right person because they know what you’re looking for [...] And you’ll create branding in the process because you’ll make your company known in a positive way.”

Nuggets of Wisdom from Career Coach Lisa Lewis

10 Best Job Posting Sites of 2023 | ConsumersAdvocate.org (1)

Lisa Lewis, CEO of Career Clarity. (Courtesy of Lisa Lewis)

Setting out to find a new job can be akin to putting yourself through an emotional gauntlet. During the course of our research, we spoke with Lisa Lewis, career coach and CEO of Career Clarity. Her career coaching business was established in 2015 and she has helped over 500 people reach their professional goals. Here, she gives us a few tips to help you start your job search off on the right foot and get better results.

On whether you should solely rely on applying online:

Don't let that be the only way you try to get in front of a hiring manager. If there is anythingyou can do to develop a relationship at that organization so that you can mention a person in a cover letter or you send them your resume and see if they can forward it on to their employer, the better off you are. The more coveted the employer is [...] the less likely it is they will hire an external candidate or an online candidate without also having an accompanying internal referral. So, the number one piece of advice is, do not only apply for a job online if you really want it.

On the importance of speaking the employer’s lingo:

Typically, when [employers] are setting up an applicant tracking system, it's looking for specific keywords that give a hiring manager the confidence that you can do the job they're hiring for. [...] Something as simple as [seeing that] they want to see experience in “project management” and you have been talking in your resume about experience in “project direction”. Changing “direction” to “management” is a tiny tweak that can have a big impact on whether you make the shortlist for interviews.

On what you can learn from rejections:

If you're applying for ten jobs and you're not hearing back from at least three of them, you're either applying for jobs that are not a good fit for you or you're not doing a good job at showing your future employer how this would be a good fit for you via your resume or any other professional materials you might be submitting.

On how to know if you’re a good fit:

In the private career coaching work that I do, I talk about four elements of ideal job fit. (1) Does this role look like a good fit for your strengths and gifts? (2) Does this role seem to align with your interests? (3) Do this organization and this team seem like a good culture fit for your personality? (4) Will this opportunity give you the kinds of benefits and compensation that fit your lifestyle? [...] If you don't know what the answers to those four questions are, it's going to be really hard to strategically pick jobs that are going to be a good fit and it will be very easy to apply for jobs that are a poor fit without knowing it.

On why you shouldn’t disqualify yourself for a job:


Job descriptions are typically written to find a unicorn, not to find a strong-fit candidate[…] For most employers, hunger and enthusiasm trump perfect experience every time. And it gives job seekers a lot of hope, I think, because there is no such thing as a unicorn candidate out there who fits a job description perfectly to a “T” [...] who the company can also afford. Typically, if you are a 100% fit for a job description, you are applying for something that is too junior for you, and they're not going to hire you because you're going to want a salary that's higher than what they've budgeted for this position.


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