My Guide To Job Searching Websites

It’s all fine and good to tell people to change jobs or find an interview but how does that actually go? I’ve tried a few different sites with varying experiences.

When applying…

Before starting make sure you have a resume written up, a list of 3 – 5 key skills you want to advertise, and (optionally) a headline or professional description of yourself. You will be copying this information across each website in one form or another. Once that’s out of the way, plan 15 – 30 minutes to set up each account. So much for the quick and easy job hunt these sites advertise.

The Sites

For each of the sites I tried, I’ll go over pros and cons specifically related to job hunting and getting interviews.

  • Indeed
  • Hired
  • StackOverflow
  • Glassdoor
  • LinkedIn
  • Technical networks

There are even more sites out there that I didn’t look out there are probably a few new ones since I started writing this…

Indeed

What makes Indeed stand out?

Indeed very much goes for simple job hunting. Basic UI with no popup notifications makes it less overwhelming to use, if you can handle the blue and white theme for more than 5 minutes.

Pros

  • No frills experience – purely job search and apply with some company information
  • Little to no spam
  • Offers Seen by Indeed if you want help from Indeed finding a job

Cons

  • Nothing added – yes, I put that as a pro too but if you change your mind later, you’ll need to start using a different site.
  • There are two ways to respond to messages: text (as normal) or they offer a special UI to give a canned response. If I used the provided responses, I couldn’t see what option I responded with so sometimes I responded twice accidentally.
options
What is the difference between “Your contact details will not be shared” and “I would not like my contact details shared with this employer”?
  • The overall user experience wasn’t great but if it gets you a job, does it matter?

Recommended?

I would use this site if I only wanted to apply to jobs and not sign up for social media accounts like StackOverflow or LinkedIn.

Hired

hred

What makes Hired stand out?

Hired stands out because they do the searching for you. Once you create a profile, you can sit back, relax, and wait for the interview requests to come in.

Pros

  • No need to search for jobs – recruiters will search for you
  • You can block former employers
  • Scheduling your first interview happens on the Hired website – no more awkward scheduling emails
  • Filling out your profile allows you to specify non-technical job search criteria like company culture, industry, and career goals

Cons

  • I got a lot of emails encouraging me to do skills tests, talk to career coaches, and improve my profile. I was emailed continually for months afterward asking about my experience.
  • I can’t see what’s going on with the job search. Am I not getting requests because it’s a low season or because I am not in demand?
  • The search will last 2 weeks and then it will stop… probably? Despite the notice they said they’d give, I didn’t see anything that would tell me I’m no longer being shopped around.
  • Along with most other hiring sites, Hired is not remote or alternative work arrangement friendly but you can’t really tell unless you do two rounds: one remote location search and one on-site search (as I did).

Recommended?

If you already have a solid background in your career, Hired is a good hands-off way to get interviews for traditional jobs. If you’re seriously searching, you’ll need to use another site as well.

LinkedIn

What makes LinkedIn stand out?

LinkedIn is a social media and networking platform in addition to a job search tool. This can help you get jobs in a few different ways. If you regularly add coworkers to your LinkedIn network, when they find a new job, they may reach out to you to see if you’re interested in working there. Similarly, if you liked working with them, you can ask for a referral to their company. This is a “passive” way of using LinkedIn, though you have to actively add people regularly.

The other way LinkedIn being a social networking platform can help is where recruiters can send you messages about job openings without needing to exchange emails or phone numbers. LinkedIn makes this a little less annoying by giving you control over whether to start a conversation with the recruiter or not.

Pros

  • You can be a passive or an active searching and able to hide yourself from recruiters in settings
  • You can see other profiles of people similar to you in your network to compare what is in demand at particular companies or what your competition is putting out there
  • You can use the site to build reputation by using their social media features as well as using the feeds or groups to keep up with where you need to go in terms of career development
  • If you want to give someone your contact information, LinkedIn is better than your personal email or phone number for work related networking

Cons

  • You can get a lot of recruiters messaging you for jobs you aren’t interested in because a word or two on your profile matches their search criteria
  • You need to put in more work on your profile and having a network on the site
  • Even though you can put a description on your profile about what you’re looking for, no one reads it and will message you anyway
  • It is really noisy at first with a lot of notifications, social media features, and integrations with other products like skills assessments, certification programs, etc.
  • You can definitely set this up to work well for you but, as mentioned above, it’s a bit of work

Recommended?

This is good for both passive and active job hunters but I’d mostly recommend this if you’re looking to get recruiters messaging you over time (i.e. passive) or if you want to build a digital network. You can use this as the simple search and apply but there are other sites that make it simpler if that’s all you’re looking for.

StackOverflow Jobs

What makes StackOverflow stand out?

StackOverflow jobs stands out because it offers a lot more freelance, contracting, and remote positions compared to the other sites. Several of the other sites had very little to offer in terms of these three “alternative” working styles. The downside is that you can see some sketchy job postings but nothing as bad as the freelance sites out there like Upwork or Freelancer.

Pros

  • Different types of work than on-site full time.
  • Similar to Github, you can use your StackOverflow account to show technical contributions in the community but it’s optional.
  • Some listings show expected salary, which makes salary comparisons a lot less work. This is also in Glassdoor but not the others.
  • Very little “stalking” – no notifications, no sudden change in my ads or popups telling me to reapply.

Cons

  • You’re not going to see many of the large tech companies here. For example, searching for “Amazon” has something on the other sites but not here.
  • Again, some listings might be for individuals or small companies looking for one off work that is more like a freelance task and these can be scams.

Recommended?

If you’re looking for alternative work or you want to work for smaller, non-tech companies, StackOverflow has more of those. It also has more contracts and “gigs” (for example, on-demand interviewers) for those looking for temporary work.

Glassdoor

What makes Glassdoor stand out?

Glassdoor has always stood out for showing data on company ratings and salaries. Ever since I joined the tech industry almost a decade ago, Glassdoor was referenced as the place to check for getting salary estimates. These days, other sites like Indeed above,are trying to catch up in this area but it will take a while to get the data.

Pros

  • Find companies that match your values and lifestyle needs in addition to having open positions.
  • Description of interview difficulty and interview questions.
  • If used in addition to other job search sites, can help you negotiate recruiter calls when seeing what to ask for in terms of pay.

Cons

  • So many notifications. Every time you do a search or you look at a job description, the default is to show a popup and an email asking if you’d like to go back and apply.
  • The data can be misleading. If you look into some of their charts and reports, there may be very little people reporting so it skews the result. All of this is self reported so you’ll need to take care with dishonesty or exaggeration in the information.

Recommended?

I can’t stand how many notification popups I see on this site when I use it but if I stay logged out and only use it to see the general company information, it’s okay. I think if you want to go all in on one site, this could be a good one to use – like LinkedIn, it can be the One Site you use with some effort.

Technical Communities…

…and in person networking

What makes technical communities stand out?

Technical communities can allow you to branch out beyond your current title and experience. You can go to one tech event and be a software developer looking for management positions. At another event, you can be looking for a startup co-founder. In each case, you can test out your pitch and gauge people’s reactions. This can help you find the right set of words to put on your online profiles or it can result in the partnership or job you’re looking for.

Pros

  • You don’t need to spend hours crafting the right phrases to fit perfectly on your one page resume – having a LinkedIn profile helps but isn’t needed.
  • You can find opportunities outside of what’s online. Some startups can’t afford posting jobs on LinkedIn or Glassdoor and only show up at networking events..
  • You can grow your network to find people who will help you get a job in the future, study interview questions with, or hang out and play board games.

Cons

  • Unpredictable results with a high time investment.
  • More costly considering event tickets and transportation costs.
  • Very draining if you’re an extrovert, though networking through Slack or Twitter can make this work a little better.

Recommended?

If you’re looking for startups or looking to found one, networking in technical communities is often the only way to find companies early on. Otherwise, this type of networking can be good if you’re just shopping around and don’t want to keep up an online profile. For those who want more dynamic careers, investing time in a specific technical community for a while will generate opportunities. This can mean becoming a contributor or maintainer for a GitHub project or a part-time instructor for boot camp classes, things harder to find on job boards.

What do I use?

As you might have gathered, I use a mix of sites for different things:

  • Glassdoor: for salary and company information
  • LinkedIn: primary professional profile and interacting with recruiters
  • StackOverflow Jobs: when looking for temporary work or gigs
  • Technical communities: keeping an eye open for trends and job postings I might not find otherwise

For the whole roundup: I don’t use Hired or Indeed because they have nothing new or convincing to offer. If I’m bored, I might do a round of Hired but as I’m in an “alternative working arrangement”, it isn’t useful.

Next Time

A lot of job hunting sites are offering skills quizzes. I’m going to run through some of these and do another post on how those go for a few sites that offer them.

Why Use LinkedIn?

This post will be about how I’ve used LinkedIn in my career and how recruiters on LinkedIn or otherwise can be used as a tool as well.

What Is LinkedIn?

If you are a working professional, you’ve probably heard of LinkedIn. At least for the English speaking, North American job markets. Like other professional job searching sites like Glassdoor, Hired, and Indeed, LinkedIn allows you to upload a resume and makes it searchable by companies and recruiters. Similarly, you can search and apply for jobs. It’s different for its social networking. I think of it as “Facebook for work “. It’s a lot less awkward to share your LinkedIn details than your Facebook profile. LinkedIn is a Microsoft acquisition. Back when that happened we bemoaned the data they’d be taking from us. Now, we’ve more or less forgotten.

Using LinkedIn To Your Advantage

Fishing For Jobs

By frequently updating your profile, you show up in more search results. This will boost you in “recently updated” results. The other way you show up in search results is keywords in your descriptions. Make sure to put a buzzword filled description for your work histories.

A “Living” Resume

Several companies often take a snapshot of your LinkedIn profile instead of a resume. This means you don’t need to spend time fiddling with font size and margins to fit that extra internship on one page. This is another reason to make your profile detailed. Since there aren’t any length restrictions on your LinkedIn profile, it’s a good opportunity to add more information about your past work.

Following Up

When a prospective recruiter, manager, or client meets with you, get their LinkedIn details. This is a great way to follow up because you can stalk them to get a better picture of the company they work for and their work history. Just a reminder: following up is a great way to improve your chances of landing a a client or job.

Other Uses Of LinkedIn

Recruiting

You can use LinkedIn to recruit old coworkers or find people to be your referral bonuses but I don’t. Occasionally if I know a position will help someone, sure, I’ll shoot them a message. I don’t want to turn into a part-time recruiter.

Job Searching

For a site that’s strongly advertised as a job hunting tool, it’s not the most diverse. You can only search for on-site, full-time positions. You can search for jobs in Remote, Oregon but not remote working positions. Sites like Remotive and We Work Remotely are better for jobs you can do anywhere. Even Remote, Oregon.

Watching Companies Or People

Watching people or companies is useful if you track company performance for investments. You may also be looking for information on lay-offs or massive hiring initiatives. You could also follow business leaders that inspire you for opportunities to hear them speak or read books they’ve published. This is a way to understand trends in your industry and adapt to them… only if they’re a large enough company to spend money on social media specialists.

Getting Industry News

Like watching companies or people, you can get news digests for your industry. Sometimes I’ll take a look and get a simple digest of information. It’s a mix of study results, platitudes from leaders, and gossip. This is a good source of water cooler topics.

Joining Groups

Half the time I forget this is a feature because of how hard it is to make use of it. There are alumni groups for schools and companies. The idea is to be able to refer jobs to group members and potentially mentor people. As with any internet social media groups, they vary widely. Group conversations are more fun on a casual forum like slack so I use that instead.

How LinkedIn Is Getting Me Closer To My Dream Job

LinkedIn can help get you a dream job. It’s not the best fit because I’m looking for remote, part-time, or freelance work. It can still be useful. Some of those irritating features helped connect me with work I wanted.

Following Up

Following up is really important. I think this is the third time I’ve said this in this post but it’s worth reiterating. Your potential clients aren’t going to contact you if they’re busy (which they often are) or maybe they a client for a few months down the line instead of today. LinkedIn in as a great way to take a name and turn it into a picture of a person or company along with a way to contact them and see what they’re putting out there. It also allows you to see their connections and find more potential clients. Typically, people in similar business or career stages cluster. So, what if this person was a “miss”? You can also check out their company to see what things you should avoid.

Call My Bluff, I Dare You

Recruiters are like a fungus: they bloom, you wipe them out, they lie in wait, and return with equal or greater power later. At first, I ignored them or declined connections. After a while, I wondered what they would do if I asked for a part-time, remote contract. When I did, a lot of them backed off and didn’t come back. However, there were a few who started a discussion.

I think of these as the “good” recruiters. They didn’t give up when I gave them these difficult requirements, they started to ask why I needed them and what types of negotiation I’d be willing to do. I started building potential work schedules in my head: 20 hours per week onsite, 30 hours per week remote, or fully remote 3 month contract. Surprisingly, they went out and came back with jobs meeting these criteria. Not only that, they frequently followed up to tell me how the search was going and which companies were interested in my work proposal.

The takeaway: if you can come up with a job worth talking to a recruiter for, they might find it for you.