where should you look for jobs?

A reader writes:

I’m a PhD student (worked for a couple years before returning for grad school) and am now looking for full time employment. You mentioned in a recent post that you don’t advertise on “big job banks” because of how many unqualified candidates you get. I’m trying to find fairly specific positions, and the big job sites are pretty bare of positions that are a good match.

Could you advise on what you use, or alternate ways to find these postings? I’ve tried professional societies and the chamber of commerce for locations I’m interested in (but have no current connections to), but other suggestions would be great.

First and foremost, I’d look at niche job boards that are specific to your field — the ones run by professional organizations or publications in your field or that simply target a specific field. For example, look at DICE, TechCrunch, or GitHub for I.T., Public Relations Society of America for communications, Chronicle of Philanthropy for fundraising, Idealist and Bridgespan for nonprofit, Ad Age for advertising, Roll Call for politics, CreativePro.com for graphic design, and so forth.

If you have no idea what niche job boards exist in your field, google the name of your field and the word “jobs” and see what comes up.

In some fields, LinkedIn can be useful for job searching — both in terms of their actual job postings and by being active in groups devoted to your field.

And if there are particular organizations you might want to work for, look at the job listings on their own website; you may find jobs listed there that haven’t been posted anywhere else.

What other suggestions do people have?

{ 160 comments… read them below }

  1. RG2*

    Journalismjobs.com is great for, well, journalism jobs. Globaljobs.org also has a very well curated selection of internationally focused advocacy/policy/nonprofit/etc jobs. Rework has interesting jobs in the social impact sector.

    If you’re a student, I’d highly recommend seeing if you can get on your undergrad or current university’s job boards and email lists. My alumni network, for example, has regional listservs where I’ve seen tons of job postings for everything from entry level to C suite positions.

    You may also be interested in university administration or research jobs. Most major universities have fairly large job boards.

    1. gS*

      I found the university job boards are looking for someone with no industry engineering experience, so although I’ve gotten interviews, the positions and I aren’t a good match. I’d also prefer a smaller company, and since they don’t usually have a significant presence on campus, I’m trying to identify companies of interest and reach out directly.

      The alumni coordinators can’t give out contact information for specific alumni, so I’ve tried LinkedIn. Local groups are a really great idea. Not being individuals, I think I’d be able to get the email lists more easily. Thanks for the suggestion!

      1. RG2*

        Oooh, yeah, my suggestions are way less helpful for engineering. I’d still recommend looking at the types of companies and then checking their websites to see if they’re also hiring for other positions! With smaller companies, though, your best bet is probably general industry networking to identify places you might want to work and then check their websites to see if they’re hiring. If you have industry experience, you’re probably well positioned to ask: if I were this company, where would I go to find a candidate like me?

        My university had an opt-in alumni network of people willing to be contacted about their industry/jobs. Maybe something working looking into? Either your undergrad or PhD program may have something.

        With engineering, if you’re interested in the public sector, city job boards can also be helpful.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Can you ask some of the professors in your department if they know of some of the companies other students have gone to work for? Also, for my area, there’s a “Top 100 Companies in ____ County” that I would sometimes look at to get ideas where to apply. maybe you can google for something similar in your area?

        1. blackcat*

          +1 to this.

          Get in touch with recent graduates of the department who have left academia. Ask them for advise.

        2. College Career Counselor*

          If you’re trying to locate companies by field in a particular area (to scour their individual job boards), you can try programs like careersearch or careershift (which also can identify alumni of your program). Your career services office may have a login/subscription for you.

          I also second the professional sites and linkedin groups.

      3. Meg Murry*

        For engineering – if you are a woman, find out if there is a chapter of SWE (Society of Women Engineers) in your area or your desired area.

        Careers dot SWE dot org is a job listings board, most of which link back to the company’s application.

        If chemical engineering, look at AIChE or ACS. For other fields, search for “Society of [fieldname] engineering”

        The university job boards might not be as helpful but if you go to the college career fair you may be able to meet with HR reps there who would know if they hire PhD grads.

        How much smaller of a company are you looking for? I’m not sure many really small companies hire PhDs, unless they have a very specific need, or you are willing to work in a position (and pay scale) for a job looking for only a BS or MS, and you’d have to make a very strong case for why you aren’t overqualified and wouldn’t just leave in a year when something else comes along.

        Is there a trade organization for your field – or a subset of your field? I work for a small company that is technically a non-profit/trade organization, and we act as the research arm for small companies that don’t have an R&D department, or the R&D dept is very small. Something like “Widget Makers Research Group” (insert Widget of your choice here)

        You could also try the online classifieds section of the metro area’s newspapers, and Craigslist for that area. Again, you might not find jobs looking for PhD grads there but you might be able to make the case that x years work experience plus a PhD is equal to Y years work experience, or you may find companies there that sound interesting to you and/or an HR email to contact tbere.

      4. Sigrid*

        Can I ask what branch of engineering you’re in? My husband is a PhD in civil (subset geotechnical) and often knows of companies who are looking for civil engineering PhDs. They’re surprisingly hard to come by.

        I’d second asking your professors, as well. I wouldn’t say that for most PhD students (mine is in Microbiology and my professors were useless when I wanted to leave academia), but engineering is a different beast. Most of the PhD engineers my husband has hired were through recommendations from their professors.

        1. gS*

          I’m electrical, (optics/photonics). If he’s looking for anyone in photovoltaics, I’ve got good background for that.

          I find it hit or miss whether professors expect you to go into industry, so I’ve been playing the field with them.

          1. Sigrid*

            Eeesh, probably not, that’s pretty far afield for his work. But I’ll ask him. I’ll also ask him about engineering-specific job boards, etc., especially anything he knows for double-Es.

            And yeah, academia is like that. Sorry. I know the pain well. :/

  2. CMT*

    The last time this question came up, somebody in the comments said they couldn’t possibly just go look at individual company websites, but that’s exactly what I’ve always done, in combination with looking for postings on LinkedIn and my school’s (like, specific to the school within the University) job board. The last 3 positions (full time and internships) I’ve had I found directly on an organization’s website.

    1. Cruciatus*

      That’s exactly what I did. I had a “job search websites” folder in my browser where I bookmarked all the job opportunity sites of particular places I wanted to work (for me, usually universities), as well as a few other companies, usajobs, civil service jobs in my state, indeed, monster, etc. So when I was ready to search I would “open all in tabs” and then just look at each site one by one. It opened right up to each company’s career sites and looking to see if something new popped up took only seconds. I probably had 20-25 sites and I was able to do a quick run through in 5 minutes or less. If I found something I could go back to it later.

      1. EmilyG*

        This is also what I did when hoping to relocate, while working in a very specific field. I had some likely employers and some field-specific jobs sites. I’d open them all in tabs on a Sunday morning and sometimes there was nothing new to see and I could continue with my day. In fact I only ever applied to two things over 6-8 months of doing this, but it worked!

      2. SJ*

        This is what I’m doing now — I work in higher ed admin and I have all the local universities’ job pages bookmarked.

      3. Mirilla*

        This is fantastic advice. I never thought of putting all of them in a folder for easy searching. Thank you for this.

    2. Noah*

      Me too. However, in my industry (airlines/aviation) there are only so many companies and the FAA has produced a nice list of certificated air carriers to browse through.

      I’m also reasonably active on LinkedIn and my current job was found through a recruiter there. The company had not posted the job on their website yet, but the recruiter had already started looking. I interviewed a few days after the job was posted and was offered the job pretty much immediately.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Yeah, since I was last looking Linked in has become more popular for job searching. My BF got his last couple jobs through LI and continues to get contacted by recruiters regularly through LI.

    3. mittens*

      Agreed. In a university course I once took we had to compile a list of companies we’d like to work for. Then, we’d google the specific vacancies we liked to see where else they were posted online. It taught me about a few great job boards for my niche, but more importantly, it made me realise how many jobs are only listed on companies’ websites.

    4. T3k*

      For some fields, it’s easy to narrow down the companies. However, I’m in the boat where my field is so general, unless I have a few specific companies in mind, it’s impractical because almost every company and college employs those in my field. I could, for example work for a marketing agency or a local university or perhaps even a bank and honestly, I don’t have any particular preference (ok, yes I do, but video game companies rarely post new jobs in my field). So I use Indeed and AIGA (creative professionals site) which are pretty good at sharing listing from company sites, and some postings on AIGA may not even be advertised on the company’s site.

      1. Dan*

        If it’s impractical for you to go to a company website and apply for jobs because everybody hires someone with your background, what do you think is a more practical approach to your job hunt?

        1. Dana*

          Looking at aggregate websites, like T3k said.

          I’m in the same boat where I could work in communications anywhere, and I don’t really have a preference, so it’s just more practical to type “communications” into indeed.com and see what’s listed as opposed to choosing 1-20 companies’ websites to look at. But that’s a fantastic strategy if you know where you want to work.

      2. MissDisplaced*

        I still feel the mega job boards are useful in this case, especially if you’re looking for jobs within a certain region or commuting area. Also, Craigslist can be useful for local purposes and/or smaller employers that can’t afford the mega boards. Don’t rule any of them out, but rather make a mix of both niche and mega sites.

        I remember when Monster use to be THE job board… but I believe employers are not using this anymore (due to cost?) Personally, I’ve had better luck with Linkedin, CareerBuilder, CL, and various niche boards. My college board was pretty useless to me, being mostly internships, but again it really will depend on field and job type.

    5. mskyle*

      This is what I did when I was in academia. I was a health sciences librarian, and I wanted to stay in New England. Monitoring the websites of the individual schools I was interested in was not difficult!

    6. Ad Astra*

      It’s a great idea if you have an idea of which companies you want to work for, which means it’s more likely to help a passive job seeker who’s waiting for just the right opportunity. It doesn’t make sense for everyone, but it’s a good strategy to supplement InDeed and sites like that.

      I also recommend following interesting companies on LinkedIn or GlassDoor so you’ll see when they have an interesting opportunity posted.

      1. Honeybee*

        Yeah, I used it to supplement and not replace Indeed.com. There were certain companies I knew I really wanted to work for so I went to those websites. It worked for me.

    7. skyline*

      Yup, same here. I work in the public sector, so I look at professional association job boards in my field as well as the individual (often finicky, government-specific) job boards for different orgs. You only have to check once or twice a week to catch new postings in a reasonable timeframe.

  3. Mark in Cali*

    I find Indeed.com is consistently good.

    They tend to link directly to the company’s website’s posting, not a posting housed on some third-party site. More of a search engine than a job board.

    1. Cucumberzucchini*

      When I was hiring I pretty much exclusively posted on Indeed.com, and I’ve found some good jobs to apply to there as well. I recommend Indeed for sure.

      I also used to be able to find jobs on my local craiglist. You have to filter some of the nonsense but otherwise I actually got a low six-figure job off a Craiglists posting once.

  4. kac*

    I just want to reinforce the idea of looking at the careers page for specific companies. I’ve always had a lot of luck there.

    Also: update your linkedin profile. I recently polished mine, and I have received about one recruiter message a week. I’m not looking to move on from my current position at all, but it’s a nice confidence boost.

    1. Meg Murry*

      Yes – OP, did you work in your field before going to grad school? If so, reconnect to all your old co-workers on Linked In and send them messages saying you are graduating and wondered if they’d heard of any openings in XYX field or for ABC job title.

      Chance are they have either moved to other companies that you could work for, or know people that moved to or from somewhere you could look into.

      You can also look at their connections to see where other people they are connected to work, to find more small companies that you may not have otherwise heard of, and see if they are connected to any LinkedIn groups that are relevant that you can join.

      1. gS*

        I did work but in an industry where people who stay past about 25 are lifers. Might change companies but not industry. Since I knew I wanted to change, that’s one of the reasons I went back to school. I’ve been looking at who else has left early career, since they seem to have spread out, but I may be too geographically restricted in my searching.

  5. EmmaBlake*

    I’ve had the same trouble. Sites like Monster and CareerBuilder just seem to be nothin but recruiting firms. I’ll put in a resume and then suddenly, I’m getting contacted by either staffing agencies or sales positions. What part of my resume screams sales? Yea none. No thanks.

    1. Cautionary tail*

      OMG, exactly the same. I have vast and deep expertise in designing industrial strength teapots and I get messages from Monster affiliated recruiters/companies stating you are a match for selling insurance. WTF?!

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Oh yeah Insurance companies really use the flood the zone method don’t they. I guess people just aren’t seeking out work in that field or something. I barely use my yahoo account anymore because it’s flooded with those type of emails from insurance, staffing agencies, and even jobs two counties away even though I stopped all my auto email job alerts nearly five years ago!

      2. Helka*

        A lot of the insurance companies are straight-up scams. So really, it’s not so much that you’re a match for selling insurance, it’s that they hope you’re a match for “gullible and desperate for cash.”

    2. sjw*

      sites like careerbuilder and monster are worth at least looking, but I’d NEVER post a resume there. Too many insurance companies trolling for desperate people.

      1. stellanor*

        I signed up for some sketchy Monster-type job site because they had a job listing I really wanted to see but you had to log in to see the entire thing. A couple days later the soliciting calls started. They apparently sold my phone number to everyone under the sun. Never again!

    3. MissDisplaced*

      I’ve always had great luck on those sites, but I think you have to keep your resume PRIVATE to avoid being slammed by the recruiting firms. It’s what I’ve done, and I’ve only been contacted/called by 3-4.
      My husband left his public, and he is constantly badgered by pseudo-calls from temp agencies.

  6. Another*

    BradTraverse.com is the best for political jobs or jobs in Washington, D.C. in general. It costs like $5 a month to view the board, but its well worth the cost. It’s the only place you’re really going to find congressional or campaign jobs posted. It’s lobbyists and journalists and basically everything in Washington.

    I’ll echo JournalismJobs.com for reporters or other media. And MediaBistro.com is another, but more New York focused.

    1. Noelle*

      Second this. Brad Traverse has a lot of political/government relations/hill jobs that are never even posted anywhere else.

      Another good source if you want to work on the Hill are the Senate and House job list serves, which they send out about once a week. They’re not nearly as comprehensive as Brad Traverse, but they’re free.

    2. Bonnie*

      Does BradTraverse have a fair amount of Baltimore jobs? I see they mention it but don’t want to sign up if it’s not a fair amount.

      1. Noelle*

        There are a few, but it’s predominantly DC metro area. Baltimore is a little further afield than the jobs I usually see on there.

  7. Employee 427*

    I’ve found Glassdoor to be pretty useful. They have job listings in addition to company reviews.

    1. alexcansmile*

      I’ve found Glassdoor to be less useful for actually finding job postings that are relevant or recent. It is very useful for company reviews and finding out salary ranges though. My experience though, YMMV.

      1. K.*

        Agreed. I always check Glassdoor for company reviews (and have posted a couple myself, anonymously) but the listings are frequently irrelevant and/or old, in my experience – and I’ve usually seen the relevant ones on other boards anyway.

    2. themmases*

      Glassdoor can be hit or miss for me because there’s not much control over the related terms it will use. For example, I get email alerts for jobs for “epidemiologist”. It also sends me biostatistician jobs, which is awesome! I am qualified for some of those but wouldn’t have thought to make an alert. But other weeks it inundates me with ads for research assistant/research coordinator jobs which is exactly what I went to grad school to not do anymore. Occasionally I’ll click through and “epidemiologist” or “epidemiology” isn’t anywhere in the text of the ad, the association is behind the scenes and not possible for me to turn off.

      It has done a great job of making me aware of companies in my area that would hire someone like me, though, even if the specific job is not interesting to me. Occasionally I’ll click on an irrelevant job out of interest in the company, and I’ll often find better listings at the company that way.

    3. xarcady*

      Glassdoor is a mix for me. Some of the jobs it highlights are very good matches. On the other hand, it also keeps sending me jobs that are located in the UK (I’m in the US) in a city with the same name as the city I live in, in totally unrelated fields.

  8. misspiggy*

    I’ve always found that Googling the name of a relatively large organisation in your desired field plus ‘jobs’ can get you an idea of what sites industry leaders advertise vacancies on.

    1. Felicia*

      Seconding Charity Village for those types of jobs, it’s really the best one by far.

      Also for jobs in the media, Media Job Search Canada, and for working in the arts, a lot are actually on Charity Village too, but there’s also WorkInCulture which is also good sometimes.

  9. Naomi*

    Also try and find out if there are local networking events or meetups for your industry. Besides being a good way to meet people who might be hiring, the people you meet there might be able to advise you on the best place to find job postings.

  10. TootsNYC*

    This is also a good question to ask any mentor, or any person that you go to for an informational interview (along with, what sorts of skills are most important in the beginning; what are the personality traits or soft skills that make the biggest impact; how will I know if I’m suited for this field; etc.)

    “Where do people like you advertise for people like me?”

  11. asl*

    Chiming in for looking at individual organization’s careers pages – I have a spreadsheet of places I’d like to work (based on my field and the cities I would be interested in relocating to) and check all of them every 2-3 weeks. If you have a list of URLs, it’s easy to just open them all and take a quick peek.

    For my field (archives), there are some great aggregate sites (Archives Gig, Going International Archives, LisList, ALA, ACA, and SAA). I use an RSS feeder to put updates from all of those sites, plus keyword search results from Monster, Indeed, and USA Jobs. This I check daily, along with RSS feeds from other interests, so it doesn’t feel like a chore :)

    Also, I get contacted frequently by recent grads who are looking for advice on the job search, and I gladly do informational interviews or answer questions over email. I get contacted sometimes randomly on LinkedIn, but appreciate when there’s a connection, like we went to the same school or a friend/colleague/acquaintance introduces us.

    Good luck!

    1. gS*

      I use the “page monitor” extension and get an update every few days of which of the career list pages I’m tracking have posted changes. Not as useful for results that are accessed through form data, but it does expedite the checking.

    2. Talvi*

      Oooh, I’m going to have to make note of these. I’m in the process of applying to library school, with an interst in pursuing an archives specialization, so this is extremely relevant to my interests!

      1. Katrina*

        Also check your state pages, or regional sections of Archival groups, like if you live in the northwest, check Northwest Archivists. But ArchivesGig rocks. I find INALJ a good resources but not great for archives and ArchivesGig is better.

        If you have any questions about the profession, I’d be more than happy to answer questions!

    1. Mozey*

      I found my job in higheredjobs.com!

      Also, if you find a niche company you like, you can always do a Google related search. Basically, you use related:website.com of the company. It really helps you find some companies that might not show up in traditional searches. Make sure to use the website.com, no www or http:// or anything for their main page.

    2. College Career Counselor*

      To that, I would add “Women In Higher Education,” which is wihe.com. Specifically looking for women faculty and administrative candidates.

    3. Libervermis*

      Thank you, I knew about the Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed, but the rest are new to me and excellent resources!

  12. Carrie in Scotland*

    I’m a bit strange maybe but in previous job hunts I have:

    gone to the specific company’s career page and if they have, sign up for job alerts
    google mapped my way around the area and seen what companies come up and then do the above
    when out, I’ve sometimes taken a photo of the building/company sign, if there is a list of several companies using the building so I remember to google them later
    lastly, it’s still fairly common to have job inserts in papers here, at least locally so I use those too

    not really applicable to me as such but I’ve heard good things about the guardian online’s job section (UK/EU – not sure about US)

  13. themmases*

    You might also want to look into your own school’s career services and alumni organizations.

    My university, and my school within it, have their own job boards which are populated by a mix of employers who sought us out directly, and career services staff posting interesting stuff. Many organizations, both local and not, recruit by posting to my school’s listserv as well.

    You could also reach out for examples of organizations where other alumni found jobs. You can find great stuff directly on organization websites, but you have to have heard of the organization first to know to go there. In my field everyone thinks of working for CDC, a local health department, etc. but there is a world of consulting organizations most of us never heard of before going to career events, and public health staff needed in places you might not think of (like Amtrak).

  14. LBK*

    I’m glad someone else wrote in about this – I had the same question after reading the comment being referenced.

    As a follow up question to those advocating for individual company websites, how do you go about finding those companies? I obviously know of some of the big names in my industry (if nothing else because I see their names on the buildings downtown) but if I wanted to get into a smaller firm, I wouldn’t even know whose sites to look for to see if there were jobs available on them. Do you just google your industry + “companies in [city]”?

    1. Jake*

      I use enr top 400 (construction) contractors.

      Most industries have a publication with a “top” list.

    2. Meg Murry*

      My metro area newspaper also does a Top X Companies to work for list, and it has places on it I’d never heard of – might be another way to find some of the smaller guys.

      Sometimes searching Google Maps for your industry in your city is better than just Google.

    3. Elsajeni*

      I just saw Althea’s comment downthread where she talks about how she uses LinkedIn — looking up companies she knows about, then looking at their employees’ job histories to find other companies that might have openings — and thought it might be useful in this subthread as well. That seems like it could get you a useful list of related companies.

  15. Mabel*

    ATD (formerly ASTD) – Association for Talent Development (https://www.td.org) – is a good place to look for people in the learning and development field. There are also local chapters.

  16. Mabel*

    Also SHRM (shrm.org) – Society for Human Resource Management – is for HR professionals.

    Just remembered that the OP is a PhD student, so s/he may not be looking in these fields, but others might find this helpful.

    1. Mabel*

      Looks like my other comment is in moderation for a URL. This one was supposed to show up after that one. Oh well…

  17. AnonAcademic*

    I recently finished my Ph.D., and I got my job through an academic email list posting. Most disciplines have 1-5 of these and they are full of job ads. Often they are run by journals that also have a society of some sort.

    Also another great resource is your advisor/department – if you are looking for a postdoc/research type position many of those are “back channel” jobs where you essentially cold email people and ask if their lab is hiring. I got one interview, a few maybe’s, and several nice no’s from this approach.

  18. Turanga Leela*

    Local industry publications sometimes have help wanted sections that are very helpful. My local bar association puts out a weekly newsletter, and it’s the first place I would go for lawyer/paralegal jobs in my area.

  19. GS*

    I’m not so sure whether this is true for PhD level jobs, and it definitely depends on the field, but I found my last 3 positions (2 attorney, 1 senior level) on Craigslist. You have to wade through a lot of crap, but there are a few diamonds in there so long as you don’t fall into any traps: never pay anyone “to apply,” decline interviews if they won’t tell you who they are, and I tend to refuse working with the big 3 recruitment firms in my metro area (always have had bad experiences with them, but your mileage may vary).

    When I job search, I keep an RSS feed of government jobs (my state and USA Jobs have feeds) and other niche job boards that have RSS feeds that I skim quickly once per day, and I’ll glance through my category on Craigslist once per week. I also have “change notices” set up through http://www.changedetection.com for a ton of companies I’d love to work for so I get an e-mail any time their “Careers” page updates. (Though, this only works for smaller companies that literally have a single jobs page that gets updated. Doesn’t work quite right with companies who outsource their job listings to something like Teleo.)

    1. MissDisplaced*

      I also got a few jobs and freelance gigs via Craigslist, so it CAN work for certain local areas.
      I’ve often found though, that companies who advertise jobs on CL tend to be smaller as the posting fee is very low, thus it appeals to companies lacking $$ to post to the larger boards. That’s not always a bad thing, but keep it in mind. I think CL can be one of the best resources for PT jobs.

  20. mac n cheese*

    For government research labs – some labs are mostly federal employees, but others are mostly contractors. If you are interested in a particular lab/branch, it can help to find out what contractor companies/universities/etc they use, and then haunt the websites of those companies. IME the contracting companies are terrible at advertising open positions, at least in my field.

    Also, when visiting lecturers/speakers come to your department, arrange to talk with them for ~30 minutes about their research, your research, and their workplace.

  21. AnonymousaurusRex*

    I really like JobAware, which is an aggregator with an attached app for tracking job applications.

  22. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    Indeed.com: you can type in your desired role, and desired zip code. It also links to a variety of job company hyperlinks which helps
    ZipRecruiter: instantly apply to jobs
    USAJobs: for government jobs (but the backlog/getting rejected for every job/referred for other jobs but never being chosen) can be annoying at best, demoralizing at worst.
    Idealist: great for stepping into the city on a nonprofit internship (which I know was already mentioned)

    Also, if you’re busy waiting for USAJobs and nothing comes about, strongly consider working with recruiters in the area, friends’ referrals, consulting companies, and writer/editor/analyst-type roles that are industry-specific. Consider contract roles that will boost your career and allow you to get creative with unparalleled (at times) flexibility.

  23. phedre*

    If there is a local branch of a professional organization that’s a good place to start. For example, I’m in fundraising and my local branch of the Association of Fundraising Professionals has LOTS of job postings that often don’t make it to public listings.

    The other thing is to network, because my colleagues email out job postings all the time. A lot of it is word of mouth! Of course, I’m not in academia so it may be totally different.

  24. Anonyby*

    For those of us who don’t have a specific field to focus on—is it pretty much Indeed and looking at individual companies’ websites?

      1. Anonyby*

        Yep, that’s the boat I’m in. Currently a receptionist, but wanting to move away from “company face” roles.

    1. Mozey*

      If you are comfortable with it, Craigstlist has a lot of real jobs that smaller offices looking for help utilize.

      Also, believe it or not, a lot of small law firms post on Craigslist for attorney positions.

    2. Ad Astra*

      Some cities/areas have active Twitter hashtags for jobs, but YMMV considerably. If you’re not looking for jobs in a specific field, you’re going to have to wade through a lot of irrelevant or uninteresting ads. I would also recommend LinkedIn and GlassDoor.

    3. Burkleigh*

      If you’re in the US, try Governmentjobs.com. You can find all sorts of city/county/state jobs there.

    4. Lauren in Ohio*

      You can also target companies that have a good reputation. For example, most cities have a “Best Places to Work” contest. You can also spend some time reading local business publications (bizjournals.com will link you to local sites) to get a sense for companies that are doing exciting things.

  25. Stan*

    I’ve had really good luck with the Career Services Dept at my alma mater. They have email distribution lists you can sign up for based on field and they push out job postings. The only downside is that the majority of jobs are in the same geographic region as the university, but since I happened to stay in the area, it’s been very helpful.

  26. LaurenR*

    I don’t know what other’s experiences are, but I find that these field-specific sites are just so much better if you live in a big city. I usually get no hits on any jobs within an hour commute of my small town on these sites. So I find that going directly to local company or organization websites (tends to work better/get more responses than larger national corporations that have offices in the area) and Indeed works a lot better. Most companies around here do seem to use the big general sites and Craigs List to post their openings.

  27. Christy*

    I always find that working with staffing agencies or recruiters is helpful. Most of them offer different types of staffing options such as temporary, temp to permanent and permanent placement. Within my current organization, we use several temp/staffing agencies to find employees and head-hunters for executive level placements.

    Also, temp work is a great way to earn some income and get exposure to different companies (and give them exposure to you) while on the job search. I can’t tell you how often we have brought in a temp to work for a week at a very simple job, but been so impressed with them that we have found a permanent place for them on our staff. As a matter of fact, my first and only temp job was here – it was supposed to be one week of data entry and I ended up with a full time job. I started out doing entry level work but am now working in the executive office.

    I encourage anyone who is searching for jobs to contact a few different staffing agencies to get their name out there and gain additional contacts.

  28. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

    I’m finding LinkedIn less and less helpful these days.

    My LinkedIn job search is flooded with volunteer opportunities and even with premium there is no way to filter these out.

    1. I still need a name*

      I have to say, I agree with you there. I just signed up. I thought it would open a whole new world of job postings I hadn’t seen. Instead, I am getting matches no better than CareerBuilder provides, along with the flood of volunteer opportunities, and hardly any connections. Wanting to help out is one thing, but I would prefer to separate out a volunteer search from paid work. Between that and signing up for Upwork, I feel like I really just wasted time that could have been better spent on a targeted search.

      1. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

        They must have recently changed/relaxed that rule because in the last six months the volunteer position have grown tremendously.

        And sadly, I have heard that because these orgs pay for the postings just like regular jobs, LinkedIn has no motivation to change it

    2. Althea*

      Personally, I wouldn’t use it as much for searches. I look at interesting companies, then I look at the employees at the company, find where they used to work, and make a list of companies likely to have good openings. Then you can keep track of those places, network with people there, look for jobs, etc.

      1. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

        I think I’m just so disappointed because it used to be a fantastic job board that, at least for my industry, was the only place where companies would post besides their own website.

        But, since I’m geographical stuck these days, it’s a really good way to keep track of potential openings as people change jobs.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah, I’ve noticed they somehow manage to subvert the search keywords. And mine is very specific.
      Used to not be the case. Now I see many unrelated jobs being returned.

  29. littlemoose*

    I’ll second the university alumnus job boards – our career center itself wasn’t that great, but the school’s job board is where I found my current position.

    One other suggestion I haven’t seen mentioned yet – check the jobs listings in your city’s business journal, if they have one. I used to find a lot of professional-level jobs listed there that I didn’t see anywhere else (and I was looking a lot of places). Just Google your city’s name and “business journal” and see if they have any online job postings.

    1. Ad Astra*

      My university’s alumni association allows us to update our alumni profiles to reflect that we’re “actively looking” or “casually looking” for work, and to specify the field and locations we’re interested in. I’m not sure how many hiring managers search the database, though.

  30. Sans*

    Does anyone know of a niche board for a copywriter who does not want to work at an ad agency? I’ve had a variety of jobs in corporate advertising/ marketing depts, but I’ve never really found a board that focuses on what I do.

    1. College Career Counselor*

      I’d look at some of the freelance and other stuff at mediabistro, maybe adage.com (although maybe agency-focused)…?

    2. Macedon*

      What kind of copy are you looking to do?

      Gorkana’s p. great for writing/journo jobs, some PR, some copy editorial. Mixed bag, but my go-to for writing roles.

      1. Sans*

        What’s Gorkana? I’ve done writing for print and web. Brochures, fliers, email, newsletters, DM, web pages. Not interested in radio/tv or pr.

        1. Macedon*

          gorkanajobs.co.uk/jobs — primarily UK and US roles, though also some positions outside the region. It’s not exclusively for copy writing, but it’s all writing and editing-based roles.

  31. AMT*

    Sometimes, Facebook groups for professions in a certain city, or for alumni groups from a certain program, can be great for jobs and networking. I’m a member of a couple of social work Facebook groups in my city and I see jobs there all the time.

    1. T3k*

      +1 I forgot about this. My first job out of college I got because someone posted it on our school major’s facebook group. Sadly, it’s not as active as it used to be.

  32. C*

    Mediabistro.com for media and publishing jobs; publishersmarketplace.com and bookjobs.com for book publishing. Ed2010.com is pretty good for magazine jobs but tend to skew more towards the entry-level side. Nyfa.org for predominantly NY-based arts jobs.

  33. AllieJ*

    Listservs! A lot of listservs for professional groups (Colorado Evaluation Network, Young Nonprofits DC for example) are free to join and if you can put up with all the non job related stuff, you’ll get job postings as well and potentially good information about networking events etc.

    1. Nynaeve*

      Yes! This is particularly helpful for library sciences. I think so many job postings get posted there more so than other places.

  34. Brett*

    For local government jobs, you pretty much have to track the individual city postings. I have tried to get our unfilled positions posted on industry niche boards before, but it is impossible to get the posting costs approved.

    In our county, though, there are over 140 different local governments, and about 30% of those do not have a website… you have to go in person to look through their paper listings.

  35. tango*

    I’ve also looked at industry publications – they might have an online presence and have a job listing section or forum but if nothing else, just reading the publications in hardcopy can give me plenty of company names by looking at the advertisers and articles. Or your city/state weekly or monthly Business Review. Might not narrow it down to your specific industry like Oil & Gas, but if you’re in a job where needed in many type of industries like you’re an accountant, that can be a great way to find companies. Especially for the new businesses expanding or coming to town can help you figure out what companies might be expanding their workforce locally and therefore looking for employees.
    And don’t forget state job boards. Yes, they can be truly hit or miss but some state agencies only list there so it’s easier to go to the that board to get all state jobs listing for multiple agencies then to visit each individually online. Plus other private industry jobs can be listed.

  36. Jubilance*

    I’m a fan of Indeed – it overwhelmingly links to the company site, as opposed to a hosted listing like Monster.
    When I use Indeed, I don’t search by job title, I search by type of work or even specific industry terms. For example, in my current search I use terms like Six Sigma, DMAIC, and SAS because I want to find job listings with those terms. I wouldn’t search by a title like “analyst” because titles are so variant across companies, and you could miss out on a great job solely because of the title.

  37. J*

    This would be a good ask the readers post, like when we shared our salaries and benefits. We could have a thread for each field and recommend job search sites.

  38. Althea*

    Devex.com for international development.

    But, I find it’s easiest to compile a personal list of companies in the area for whom you’d like to work. LinkedIn is useful for this because you can follow those companies/orgs, see where their staff have typically worked in addition to the current place, and look up those companies, ad infinitum.

    That being said, my last job was found via devex, so…

  39. S*

    If you are in communications, I find professional associations useful like International Association of Business Communicators and Canadian Public Relations Society.

  40. Lizzy*

    For nonprofit professionals, I also like npo.net. I went on a massive job hunt last year and most of the interviews I landed were from openings listed on that board. I will through caution to the wind that they only recently started expanding their reach to other parts of the US, so some areas will be lacking in postings than others. However, if you are in the Midwest region, specifically Illinois/Chicagoland area, they are a great resource.

  41. Chocolate Teapot*

    I used Monster, plus a local job website to get my current position. There were some duplicate postings on both, but the local site seemed to have more suitable openings.

  42. just laura*

    Why not create an ask-the-readers post similar to the “What do you make?” one a while back? We can post industry, region, where we found candidates/a job, etc. Might be a great resource for seekers and hirers alike!

  43. Jason Cavness*

    I just completed a job search after retiring from the Army. Two places I found useful were Google alerts and Twitter. For Google alerts I set it up to send me alerts whenever a HR job was posted. For Twitter I followed the twitter jobs of companies I was interested in working for after my Army retirement.

  44. Ghost Umbrella*

    ClearanceJobs.com is good for cleared government contracting jobs. I’ve found several jobs off of there.

  45. AW*

    I’m going to mention Stackoverflow Careers. I haven’t used it myself but it is a niche job board specifically for developers. There’s also Smashing Jobs, at Smashing Magazine. Any sufficiently large IT site probably has a job board, actually. That may be a good place to look in general: If there’s a site that’s big/well known in your industry, see if they have a job board.

    Even if you don’t like using LinkedIn to find jobs, you can use it to find employers whose job sites you may want to look at. Since you can see where they are located and how big the company is, it can be a way to find employers near you or companies you may not have heard of before.

    Someone’s mentioned Facebook but following companies and individuals in your field on Twitter is also a way to hear about job openings. I’ll see people tweet or re-tweet that a company is looking for a Writer/Developer/etc. occasionally. It’s definitely not something to rely on heavily but it can bump up the number of openings you hear about.

  46. Cucumberzucchini*

    also co-signed following on social Agencies/companies you like. Sometimes they post there before ever advertising a position.

  47. Susan the BA*

    If you can come up with one reasonable-ish job posting at a reasonable-ish employer, you can use that as a breadcrumb to backtrack to other job postings via Google.

    For example, I just picked out an IT position that’s posted at a large employer in my city and put the title and institution into Google. That led me to other places where that employer posts that type of job online (in this case, higheredjobs.com was one of the first), and I could use *those* results to find similar jobs. You still have to know a little about what you’re looking for to find that first ‘breadcrumb’, but it’s easier than trying to individually search every single institution’s job postings.

  48. StillLAH*

    For Arts non-profits:
    League of American Orchestras (for orchestral staff jobs; $ wall)
    Adapstistration Jobs
    Americans for the Arts
    Regional/statewide/town/community arts agencies or councils in the area you’re searching in
    Sometimes Musicalchairs.info also lists orchestral staff jobs

  49. Ultraviolet*

    The Versatile PhD has some job listings and is a really good resource in general. I think some of the content is only accessible if you’re affiliated with a school that subscribes though.

  50. Jo*

    If you are looking for jobs relating to science at all (you mention a PhD but not subject so I appreciate could be history or some such) but I find the Nature jobs site good.
    Not just post docs and so on – includes “proper” employment for want of a better term. Good luck!

  51. Rye-Ann*

    If you’re in the US, your state may have a “JobsinXX.com” website (where XX is your state’s abbreviation). For me, JobsInME.com and Indeed were my favorite sites to check while I was searching for jobs. I definitely found stuff on JobsInME that I didn’t encounter on other websites.

  52. LD*

    I had a list of search term combinations I would use on indeed.com and check on a daily basis. It would generally take me directly to that company/organization’s website. That’s how I found my current job, actually. I had a couple of niche boards I’d supplement with, but Indeed.com was incredibly helpful.

  53. Lizzie*

    You know, I still have no idea where to look as a non-clinical social worker. I kind of fell into my job by dint of being really good as an intern but I have no idea what I’m going to do when I finally decide I want to leave.

  54. In Boston:*

    Learnlaunch, young ed professionals, young nonprofit professionals network, mission-based mass – all are job/event/networking listservs. (Ynpn and yep are both in other cities too.) And check out the City Awake festival for social impact orgs to follow.

  55. EK*

    Some is also dependent on the area you are in, and if you are looking for a job in a particular city. For example, in my previous city, both the local paper and Craig’s list were worthless places to post jobs, and idealist was the way to go. In my new, smaller city, Craig’s list brings us great candidates, and idealist pretty much none.

  56. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you!

    I tried out a view of the sites listed by Alison and commenters and have found a ton of jobs I had been missing in my field that are close.

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

  57. copperbird*

    For engineering jobs, I always had best results going via specialist engineering recruitment agencies. Not all the consultants are good at their jobs, but generally they get to hear about jobs which aren’t always advertised more widely.

  58. super anon*

    I have a custom search saved on Twitter that I used when I was looking for jobs. It is:

    hiring OR #job OR “opening for an” OR “opening for a” near:”City You Live In” within:15mi

    The nice thing about a custom search is you can modify it however you want. You can add specific role titles or other variations of hiring that you can think of. In my area a lot of what is posted is by recruiters, a lot of customer service/client facing positions, and a lot of jobs in tech, development, and start ups. But, it’s another avenue to search and it’s easy to scroll through once a day.

    To set up a custom search you log in to your twitter account and then type in whatever you want to search in the upper right search bar, at the top of the results page click on more options, and then “save this search”. it will come up in the search bar as a drop down after it’s been saved.

  59. Quirk*

    For software in the UK, Monster and Jobsite are absolutely the way to go once you have a couple of years of experience – put your CV up and wait. Github is perfectly reasonable if you’re still at the very start of your career and trying to get your first role, but once there’s enough experience on your CV recruiters swarm like mosquitoes and if you want to get a run-down on pretty much every job going in the local area you just need to signal your availability on a big job site to get the job specs in your inbox. My top tips would be: don’t publicise your phone number, and make a new email address. Recruiters will be using that contact info for years. Most companies in software use third-party recruiters to hire, and while some of the biggest tech companies have dedicated recruitment departments, they check the job sites for available CVs too.

    The only reason to consider a more niche approach (beyond the struggle of the first couple of years) would be the hope of having a smaller number of better recruiters pick your CV up, reducing spam at the possible cost of losing some good opportunities.

  60. Emily*

    Echoing PP’s versatilephd (dot) com suggestion. It is a great resource for altac positions. Some parts are restricted to members, but if your school doesn’t have an institutional membership, I think you should be able to sign up as an individual (I’ve been following, passively, since it was an actual listserv so membership requirements may have changed)

  61. Kay*

    I got my last job directly from the organization’s website. What I do is find organizations I want to work for and then create a page monitor for their employment page using changedetection.com. That way, I get emailed any time the page changes. It’s like a DIY job alert for all the organizations you want to work for.

Comments are closed.