Job-hunting apps make it easy to hunt for your next opportunity from anywhere, day or night. You can sign up for alerts when new positions in your field are posted and you can even zap your résumé to a hiring manager straight from your device.
The big players in the area of online job boards are CareerBuilder and Monster, and they've been around for many years. But there are several free up-and-comers definitely worth considering. Here's a look at nine of them:
1. Facebook Jobs
We think of Facebook as a social place to connect with friends, but it has a huge jobs board as well. The Jobs link is on the left column of your desktop or laptop Facebook home page, under the Explore section. You can comb it using the Facebook mobile app, downloadable from Google Play for Androids or iTunes for iPhones.
If you find a posting that appeals to you, tap the Apply Now button. This takes you over to the employer's Facebook page. Hit Apply Now again, and up pops a page with your name and any education or employment history that you've made public on your Facebook page. There's also a text box where you can Introduce Yourself in 1,000 characters or less. When you hit Send, the information goes to the employer as a Facebook message.
Best feature: The ability to send an employer a minisummary of yourself based on your Facebook profile, rather than having to create a new profile and upload a résumé.
2. LinkedIn Job Search
LinkedIn, the online networking site, has an app for job hunters called LinkedIn Job Search. A Jobs link also appears on the header of your profile page. Click on the icon and you'll be transferred to a page listing jobs the app believes may interest you, based on experience listed in your LinkedIn profile and companies where you have contacts. This makes LinkedIn a leader in working your connections for a referral.
Under the Update Preferences tab, you can check a box to let recruiters know you're on the market. You type in a short (no more than 300 characters) introduction laying out what you're pursuing. This feature is meant to be private, meaning no one in your public connections is to know you're engaging with recruiters. But the site does warn: "We take steps to not show your current company that you're open, but can't guarantee that we can identify every recruiter affiliated with your company."
While the basic LinkedIn Job Search is free, the site also offers a premium subscription for a monthly fee starting at $24.99 with features that evaluate you against other job applicants for the position, provide specific salary information and bump you to the top of recruiter lists as a featured applicant.
Best features: That heads-up to recruiters that you're on the prowl. And alerts about which LinkedIn connections have contacts at a company where you'd like to work.
The app's search filter scans through millions of listings on the site to find potential jobs for you based on location, salary, company size and job title. Find something you like? You can apply directly from the device. Those are standard features in job apps, but Glassdoor goes further than many in helping you understand a company that has an opening that interests you.
For a start, you can peruse reviews of the company by current and former employees, and the numbers are enormous. When last checked, the Home Depot entry had 13,578 employee reviews, which gave the company an overall rating of 3.5 stars (out of five) as a place to work. There's data on such things as how many employees like a company's CEO and how it ranks with others based on employee benefits. Curious about the look and feel of a particular workplace? You can browse for snapshots from employees' cameras.
You have to keep in mind the limitations of online reviews about anything — people tend to go to the trouble of posting a review when they want to gripe, not sing praise. Still, the review feature can give you an insider's peek at working at a particular company. And Glassdoor maintains a policy of not allowing employers to delete or alter reviews.
Best feature: Standout tools for researching a potential employer.
4. Indeed Job Search
The Indeed Job Search app gathers job listings based on your settings — industry, salary and more — from all the major online job boards, newspaper classifieds, associations and company career pages into one location for you to access. You can find openings in towns nearby based on your device's GPS telling it where you are. Set up email alerts to be dinged when new jobs pop up in a certain category.
When you find a job you like, you can save it so you can apply later when you've got time to focus. Or, if you have uploaded your résumé, you can send it in straightaway with a customized message attached. The app keeps a record of each job you apply for.
Best feature: Vast listing of potential jobs.
Snagajob specializes in connecting you with hourly employment. You'll find a range of jobs such as cashier, delivery driver, restaurant greeter, security guard and more. Click on links to Houston or San Francisco and you'll find by-the-hour opportunities in those cities.
You can search for local job openings and have Daily Job Matches updates sent directly to your phone or tablet. You can filter positions by schedule (part-time, seasonal, summer) and type of job (automotive, construction, food and restaurant) and distance from your home. The app has a map function to show you the company's location. While Snagajob lists many jobs that require just a tap to apply, with others you have to go through the longer process of applying on the company's website.
Best feature: Local, hourly jobs take center stage.
The big job board Monster scooped up this fast-growing start-up tool last June. It works like a hip dating app. After you set up a profile and upload your résumé, you type in the kind of job you're looking — sales, say — and your location to get rolling. As potential jobs land on your screen, you swipe left to dismiss and move along and swipe right to apply — as you would a potential romantic match.
You'll do well to go slow, however. If you swipe left, you may never see the job again. If you swipe right, you may be applying for the job prematurely without really considering if it's up your alley and how you might make yourself stand out. To help you navigate, the app provides a virtual career concierge that answers your questions as you go.
Best feature: Speedy results, and quick answers from that concierge helper when you get tripped up.
7. ZipRecruiter Job Search
ZipRecruiter Job Search started in 2010 as a platform where small businesses can post jobs, but has grown considerably and now aggregates listings from more than 100 job boards.
The app has you complete a profile on the site and upload a résumé and cover letter, which you can edit as you go along, to customize to the needs of particular employers. You're able to bookmark a job that interests you, and then apply for it later once you're on your home computer. You can also set custom alerts for up to 20 types of jobs, with daily notifications sent your way.
You can opt into a database of active job seekers through which thousands of employers and recruiters can search for people with your skills and (you hope) designate you as one to be contacted. That's different from job sites' usual model in which you approach the employer. You'll get status updates, such as when your résumé has been viewed, which can give you important impressions for how your résumé and experience are playing in the market.
Best features: A wide range of flexible kinds of work, and ability to get noticed by recruiters.
LinkUp lists jobs that are found only on company websites. This helps you get an uncluttered look into what's sometimes called the hidden job market. The fact is that the major job search engines rely on employers to provide them with lists of jobs they're trying to fill. That means the engines don't have jobs that are "hiding in plain sight" on the websites of employers who for whatever reason don't want to list with the big engines. LinkUp is updated daily and currently has more than 3 million jobs.
Best feature: Access to jobs that may still be under the radar.
Switch is an up-and-comer, but still specialized in scope. It primarily matches job seekers in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area with employers offering tech- and media-related jobs. But it's expanding to other industries and cities.
This app encourages you to upload your LinkedIn profile and your résumé. Once you're on board, daily Switch recommends jobs based on your background and location. As with JobR, you swipe right to show you're interested in a job and left to pass.
But here you're anonymous. If you express interest, hiring managers see only your professional profile — not your name or contact information. If they like it, you're instantly connected with them so that you can do a virtual chat about the opening.
Switch's discreet platform generally allows you to be "on the market" without the concern that a current employer or client will hear about it (though you can never be 100 percent sure word won't leak). Your profile is automatically excluded from being sent to companies that are on your profile.
Best feature: Anonymous matches without the fuss of cover letters and applications.
Kerry Hannon is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her latest book is Getting the Job You Want After 50 for Dummies. She has also written Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness and Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills. Find more from Kerry at Kerryhannon.com.