06/16/2010 11:32 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Online Job Search Tools

For those who may be reentering the job market after decades of employment, you should know that the rules have changed considerably since you were last looking for a job. Fifteen years ago, online job sites were in their infancy; now thousands of sites post millions of jobs every year and they are the most widely used and practical job-hunting tool available.

If online job searching is new to you, here are few hints for navigating the process:

Most large employers -- and many smaller companies as well -- post job opportunities on their own websites. Typically, you either submit your resume or fill out an online application and the company will reach out if you meet their qualifications. Many sites ask you to open an account so you can be contacted when appropriate jobs become available.

To broaden your search beyond individual companies, there are many job search sites from which to choose. Some target particular career specialties, while others post listings from broader categories. Some list jobs for which employers have paid a posting fee -- much as they used to do with newspaper classified ads. Others sites are job search engines that aggregate job postings from company employment websites, other job sites, newspapers, recruiters and other sources.

Features vary widely from site to site and may include tools that allow you to:

  • Search for positions by job title, career level, job type (full-time, part-time, etc.), industry, location, pay range, relevance, key words and age of posting.
  • Post your resume or create a profile outlining what you're looking for so that employers or recruiters can search the site's candidate bank and reach out to you.
  • Create and save custom searches. For example, you might create one search that looks for all jobs in a particular field, and another that targets specific geographic areas.
  • Set up alerts so you'll be contacted when new jobs meeting your criteria are posted.
  • Block your resume from being seen by particular employers -- for example, if you don't want your company to know you're actively looking for a new job.

Some robust job sites include additional services such as resume and cover-letter writing assistance, tips for conducting a job search, interview preparation and follow-up advice, salary and cost-of-living calculators and articles by career professionals. There may be fees for some enhanced services such as resume assistance.

Most job sites don't charge to access job listings since they cover their expenses with fees paid by employers or advertisers. However, some highly specialized sites, like those that target highly paid or senior positions, may charge a fee. Before paying such fees, read the fine print and make sure you fully understand which services are provided, since most job listings are probably available for free on other sites with a little digging. Also, beware of sites that make unrealistic promises or that lock you into a service agreement that's difficult to cancel.

Some of the more popular and user-friendly job search sites include:

  •, and -- three of the largest and most comprehensive sites. Note: was recently purchased by, but for now, it still operates independently.
  • -- the U.S. Government's official job site.
  • LinkedIn -- a professional networking site that also includes a job search engine.
  • -- primarily local listings.
  • TweetMyJOBS -- a site aimed at Twitter members that provides instant notification of job openings by text message.
  • -- shows jobs from employer websites only.
  • -- an aggregation site that posts jobs from thousands of company career sites and job boards.
  • -- targets technology jobs.
One final note: Be cautious when posting personal contact information (especially phone numbers, addresses and email addresses) on job sites because spammers and aggressive marketers have been known to troll these sites for leads. You may want to set up a dedicated email account to help weed out spam.

This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how tax laws apply to you and about your individual financial situation.

Follow Jason Alderman on Twitter: