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When you’re on the hunt for a job, it can be hard to know where to look. You can almost feel afraid to start looking because the second you type in “Jobs for fill in field here” you know you’re going to get flooded with spam pop-ups and messages about jobs that aren’t real. Or job sites that are predatory. How did they even get your contact information?

Looking for a job can be a full-time job – in fact, it has to be if you want results soon – so it can be frustrating to feel that you’re traveling down a dead-end road. And that’s what can happen often. You take so much time creating a profile for a job listing site, then after weeks, realize that they don’t get listings. Or they don’t get good listings. Or they get the same listings that pop up on Craigslist, so were they really as exclusive as they said they were?

Then there’s the dreaded issue of paying for job listing sites. When is it worth it? When you’re looking for a job, you’re not exactly in a position to throw around money. You understand needing to invest in your career. And many predatory job sites both know that, and prey on that mentality, using terminology like, “Doesn’t finding the right job matter to you?” or “How much is your career worth to you?” It could make your skin crawl. So how do you know where to look? We’ve researched some of the top job listing sites out there. Each of these has free membership levels, and most have premium paid levels, should you decide that’s right for you.

advice job search

Source: FreshSplash / Getty

Job boards vs job search engines

Before we dive in, it’s important to differentiate between job boards and job search engines. Job search engines pull information from job boards. On a job board, you should find current openings that have been posted either by recruiters or the hiring party. When you find a job listing on a job board, the employer themselves or a recruiter likely posted it, intentionally, on that site. Meanwhile, job search engines search the entire web for keywords to pull those listings, from job boards, and aggregate them all in one place for a job seeker. That’s why they’re often called job search aggregators.

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