Free or Inexpensive Job Search Resources Available to Job Seekers
A job search can often feel daunting, especially when on a budget. However, a successful job search doesn’t need to break the bank. With a wealth of free and inexpensive resources, it’s more than possible to enhance your job-hunting efforts without stretching your wallet. In this post, we’ll explore a variety of tools and platforms that can assist you in finding your next opportunity, crafting an impressive resume, and preparing for interviews, all without compromising on quality or effectiveness.
Identifying and Researching Your Ideal Job Targets
Before embarking on the application process, it’s critical to understand the roles you’re targeting clearly and identify a target company list. This will make your job search more focused and increase the likelihood of finding a job that aligns with your career aspirations and values. Here are tools and resources that can help you research and get clear on your future job targets:
Industry Research Websites
Websites such as Vault, O’NET, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics offer in-depth industry analyses, job descriptions, and future outlooks, which can help you understand the trajectory of specific sectors and roles.
Career Assessment Tools
Online assessment tools such as LinkedIn’s CareerExplorer and My Next Move can help you understand your strengths, interests, and values and how they align with different occupations. These tools can guide you toward roles that match your personality and career goals.
Target Company Research
If you are CLEAR on your next steps but need to conduct target company research, I recommend:
- LinkedIn Premium: You can sign up for a free month of premium, allowing you to conduct unlimited people searches and send InMails (or messages to people you are not connected to). In this article, we discuss simple updates that can be made to your profile to help drive results.
- Crunchbase: Crunchbase is one of our favorite websites for target company research. I created a video on how to leverage the site’s free version to find people of interest.
- PitchBook: PitchBook is a financial data and software company providing information on the private and public markets, primarily catering to professionals in venture capital, private equity, and mergers and acquisitions. It helps job seekers understand potential employers’ financial health, investment history, and market position.
By utilizing these resources, you’ll be better equipped to define your career objectives, tailor your job search strategy, and ultimately position yourself as a well-informed candidate ready to take on the challenges of your desired role. With clarity about your job targets, you’re set to use the free and low-cost resources detailed earlier to find and secure the position that suits you best.
Online Job Boards
While premium job boards exist, there are numerous free options that offer a vast array of listings to suit your needs. Sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn provide access to thousands of job postings, and they often include tools to help tailor your search based on industry, location, experience level, and more.
In addition to the broad-spectrum job boards previously mentioned, niche job boards are an excellent resource for tailoring your search to specific industries or individual needs. Whether you’re a logistics expert, an SEO guru, an aspiring architect, or a job seeker with disabilities, there’s likely a platform catering to your unique career path.
Niche Job Boards
For example, sites like JobsInLogistics.com specialize in opportunities within the logistics sector, while Moz’s job board is a hotspot for SEO-related positions. Archinect is well-regarded among architecture professionals seeking industry-specific roles. Moreover, platforms such as AbilityJOBS offer a dedicated space for individuals with disabilities to find employers committed to inclusive hiring practices. These specialized job boards not only narrow your search to the most relevant opportunities but also tend to attract employers looking for candidates with your particular skill set or qualifications, increasing the chances of finding a fitting match.
Networking can be a powerful tool in your job search, and platforms like LinkedIn allow you to connect with industry professionals and join groups without cost. You can also attend local or virtual networking events or workshops, many of which are free or require a minimal fee.
I encourage job seekers to complete four steps to grow and reach their network: optimize their profile, engage with content on social platforms, join industry and professional groups, and attend networking events.
Through these steps, networking becomes a powerful tool in your job search arsenal, providing potential job leads, support, advice, and a sense of community within your chosen field. Remember, networking aims to build reciprocal relationships that benefit both parties, so always approach it professionally and courteously, ready to offer your help and support to others in your network.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Headlines are the first thing people will see, so it is crucial to clearly state who you are and the value you provide to your target audience. Be sure to select the right keywords for your headline. Do your research and choose keywords that would show up in a recruiter’s search. A headline is NOT the place to try to be clever! For inspiration of attention-getting profile headlines that will help you stand out from the crowd, Sid Lipsey shares examples here.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget the text below the headline! On Linkedin, you have three to four lines of text preview from your ABOUT section. Try to entice people to continue reading beyond the preview by using a compelling hook.
Members of networking groups often share job openings within their organizations before they’re advertised publicly. This can give you a unique advantage in the application process. Additionally, referrals from group members can significantly boost your chances of landing an interview.
Looking for a job can be an isolating experience. Networking groups offer a sense of community and support, reminding you that you’re not alone in your job search. They can offer encouragement and motivation when you’re faced with challenges.
By engaging with these groups, you can expand your professional network, stay informed about industry trends, and uncover new career opportunities. Make sure to actively participate in discussions, offer your knowledge and assistance where you can, and attend events to make the most of your networking group membership.
Job Search Tracking
Networking can help you connect with potential employers and learn about job openings that may not be advertised. Opportunities for networking included: attending job fairs, joining professional associations, and connecting with people in your industry. If you are in the networking stage of your job search, I recommend you leverage a job search tracker.
Track Your Progress
You can either use an spreadsheet – I have a free one available in the course files of my LinkedIn Learning Hidden Job Market course). Teal’s FREE job search tracker is a Chrome extension that allows you to save jobs you are interested in directly in your browser. Teal also offers a Contacts Tracker and Company Tracker to help people stay organized in their job search end-to-end, almost like a CRM for your job search!
When doing outreach it is helpful to know if your email was received and read. I am a big fan of Mailtrack. It’s a Gmail extension that tells if your emails are being opened.
PSA: With any tool, if it becomes a distraction to your job search or impedes it in any way, don’t be afraid to pivot to something hat may be more helpful.
Free and Inexpensive Resume Writing Resources
Crafting a professional resume is essential for catching the attention of potential employers. In this video, Andrew Seaman and I discuss best practices for writing a resume. The best place to start your resume writing process is with JOB DESCRIPTIONS. If you go to min 8:43 of this video, you’ll see me walk through a simple exercise of using a JD to create strong resume bullet points.
Resume Writing Courses
LinkedIn Learning is a wonderful place to explore expert insights on resume writing best practices. My LinkedIn Learning Course, Resume Tips for Leaders and Managers offers a guide to writing a modern executive resume.
There are many other great courses available on LinkedIn Learning from other industry experts including Jenny Foss‘s Resume Makeover, Sho Dewan‘s 30 Minute Resume Makeover and Stacey Gordon‘s Writing a Resume.
Job Search Journey Resource Marketplace
If you are not confident in your resume writing ability & cannot afford to hire a professional resume writer, I highly recommend the website Job Search Journey. I co-founded this website with two of the best in the resume business (Adrienne Tom & Virginia Franco). We no longer own the site— we passed the torch on to industry veteran Joel Mason this summer. Joel & his wife Hannah Mason are curating some of the best resume templates designed by professional resume writers with an average price point of about $15.
Using AI to Write a Resume (Don’t do it!)
I don’t recommend using AI tools to create a resume, however I do feel like there are ways to leverage AI to enhance your career documents. Due to the limitations of resumes created with ChatGPT and other AI-powered tools, the process of creating a resume using them is not recommended by recruiters and hiring managers. While hopping on ChatGPT and prompting it to “write my resume” is discouraged, there are some time-saving ways to allow ChatGPT to enhance your resume.
Additional Resources to Maximize Your Job Search Efforts
There are some great courses out there for free that can really help you take your job search to the next level.
I have three courses out of the LinkedIn Learning library: executive resume, navigating the hidden job market, and executive interview techniques. In addition Austin Belcak, Dawn Graham, PhD, and Jena Viviano Dunay (I’m Hiring) also have excellent job search courses.
YouTube is a surprisingly good place to find career content. I am a big fan of Andrew LaCivita‘s work.
Lastly, my newsletter, The Briefs, trusted by 20K rising leaders & executives seeking thoughtfully curated career content.
Finally, remember that job searching can be a challenging process, but don’t give up. Stay positive and motivated, continue to put in the effort, and eventually, you will find the job that’s right for you.