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Job Search Website Guide

We read through job search websites reviews for four of the largest sites and explored their pages on our own. Indeed.com lands atop our list for its extensive postings, relative accuracy, and practical features.

Monster.com wins a second-place slot with its large database and a couple of unique features even as other elements clearly frustrate users. Despite some novel features, CareerBuilder.com sinks to last place due to user accounts of scam postings and too many others that are of no value. We also researched SimplyHired.com, which holds its own for ease of use and helpful information but is dogged by many of the same complaints that hover over this sector of the web.

Free job search websites have a lot in common. They contain filters that help users focus their quest, save search results, and send email alerts regarding relevant openings. Many also offer career tips, provide salary estimates, present job market trends, and/or host community forums. Special services, such as upgrading a resume or crafting a cover letter, invariably come with hefty fees attached. Job search websites reviews indicate that users consider a constellation of such features to be the bare basics -- what they crave are sites that are user friendly and serve as honest brokers.

High on users' wish list for free job search sites is what we'll call "truth in posting". This concept covers lots of ground, from timely postings and no duplicates to assurances that listings reflect actual openings and claims of having been posted "XXX days ago" literally mean XXX days ago. Users also desire protection against the spam that often shows up in inboxes after sharing email addresses and personal information with a website, and they welcome safeguards against scams hidden behind what seem like legitimate posts. And not surprisingly, they want access to the sites on the go, which means a mobile app for mobile devices.

The job search sites we researched satisfy some of these criteria and others, not so much. Indeed.com, for example, earns an 84 percent satisfaction rating in job search website reviews at Viewpoints partly for its function as an aggregator of job listings from company and other job posting sites. Nonetheless, users gripe about duplicate listings, postings that could be scams, and job notices that are woefully out of date. Job search website reviews for Monster.com are also mixed. PC Mag praises several features (e.g., you can block specific companies from seeing your resume) and dings others (e.g., ads and recruiters' postings pop up before your search results) while users blast customer service (e.g., can't get through to a real person). SimplyHired.com, another job search aggregator, provides valuable information about local job markets and a user-friendly interface, according to job search website reviews, but job hunters complain about ancient postings, occasional virus attacks that arrive via emails ostensibly sent through the site, and email addresses that seem to have been shared with marketers. The consensus opinion of CareerBuilder.com is decidedly dim. Comments posted at Viewpoints gripe about useless alerts and spam emails, the heavy presence in search results of what appear to be scams, and job postings that are generally worthless.

Each of these sites offers a mobile app but none seem ready for prime time. The app for Indeed.com fares relatively well in job search website reviews even though users grouse about out-of-date listings and the inability to apply for a job through the app. Monster.com's app seems to lack critical functionality, such as sorting search results by date. The app for SimplyHired.com hits a sweet spot with users who like searching and saving on the go but would like a filter for job posting dates. A consistent complaint in job search website reviews about the CareerBuilder.com mobile app is not being able to upload a resume or use it to apply for jobs even though descriptions of the app say you can; in fairness, though, both limitations pervade the job search mobile app universe.

Craigslist and LinkedIn are also well-known players but perform slightly different functions from those in our sample. Craigslist was a non-starter because job search websites reviews caution that the very low cost for posting an opening (free in many locales and no more than $100 in others) means scams are more likely to show up. Even so, reviewers stress that Craigslist is a valuable source for temporary gigs and jobs at start-ups that can't afford to advertise on the major job search sites. LinkedIn is a professional networking site with its own particular social norms and some fee-based job search functions that are all about network connections. This service is undoubtedly a boon for many job seekers but we deemed it too narrow a resource for the majority.

Bottom line: There's no easy or sure-fire way to land a job. Free job search websites can be helpful in terms of providing an overview of the type of positions available, and there's no harm in signing up with more than one. But a job search site is just one tool in your storehouse of job search tactics. Experts are quick to remind job hunters that networking -- with people you know and people they know -- is usually the most effective way to connect with a potential employer and garner an offer.

Review continues below

by Alyssa Goldman (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Websites, Work.
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In this review:
  1. Best Free Job Search Websites
  2. Discount Free Job Search Websites Features Comparison Table
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