Finding job vacancies

Explore the different ways there are to look for a new job. Choose which ways suit you best and find more opportunities.

Job boards

Job boards are websites that list job vacancies. Some boards advertise a broad range of jobs. Some only advertise jobs in a specific industry.

Most of these websites allow you to apply online with a copy of your CV and cover letter.

Popular job boards include:

Sign up for alerts

Most job boards let you sign up to receive email alerts when an organisation publishes a new job vacancy.

You may be able to personalise these to match your location, skills and experience or the type of role you're looking for.

Search for jobs online

You can use the government's 'find a job' service to search and apply for jobs.

For tips on which jobs are currently in demand you can visit Job Help. You'll also find information about:

  • local recruitment events
  • training schemes
  • companies you may be able to contact
  • retraining to work in roles where there are skills shortages

Search and apply for jobs on GOV.UK

Check an employer's website

Many employers still recruit through their own company websites.

Look at their careers pages and follow them on social media to check for vacancies.

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies help organisations find the right people to fill their job vacancies. They can help you to get full time, part time or temporary work. 

Agencies are useful for connecting you with jobs that are not advertised online or in the press. Some specialise in particular industries, like healthcare or engineering. It's worth checking their website first to see what kind of jobs they advertise.

Recruitment agencies know what employers are looking for. You can also register with more than one agency at a time. This increases your chances of finding a job.

Tips for using recruitment agencies

When using an agency, you should:

  • ask if they deal with vacancies in the type of work you're looking for
  • treat an interview with the agency like an interview with an employer
  • let them know when you're available and keep in regular contact
  • ask for feedback if you're not placed in a job
  • be open to temporary work, as this often leads to permanent positions
  • tell them about any specialist skills you have, for example, languages or computer coding

Search for recruitment agencies in your local area on websites like Agency Central.

Networking sites

You can search for advertised job vacancies on networking sites like LinkedIn. You can apply through your LinkedIn profile or upload your CV.

Recruitment consultants often use networking sites to find suitable people. Keep your profile updated and make it as appealing as possible to recruiters.

Local council websites

Local council websites list jobs in the council and other local authority organisations. 

They may also tell you about recruitment events and companies hiring in your area.

Hidden job market

The hidden job market includes the jobs that are not advertised. In some industries, this can be as high as 70% to 85% of all vacancies. Sometimes vacancies are only advertised within the company.

To make the most of these opportunities, you may be able to find a job by networking.

You can also use social media to find hidden work. For example, someone you know in an online community might direct you to a job that's not advertised.

Speak to employers directly

Going straight to the employer can also be very effective. You can contact them by email, phone or visit in person. This gives you the opportunity to make a good impression.

Make an appointment before you visit, if you can. This might be with a supervisor, manager or human resources (HR) officer. Sometimes this is not possible and the only way is to stop by and ask.

Ask the person about potential job opportunities and training schemes. They may also ask you questions. Have some answers prepared and be ready to hand in your CV if they ask for it.

You may find that the person you need to speak to is not available or they may even reject your approach. This can be difficult to handle but try not to take it personally. It may be that they’re too busy to see you at that time. You can always try again later.

Job fairs

Job fairs are events where recruiters come to meet potential employees. 

You can find out about job fairs through school, college, university, careers service, Jobcentre Plus, training organisations and charities.

It’s also worth searching online for upcoming job fairs. Some of these may take place virtually. You can also check our advice on how to make the most of virtual job fairs.

Magazines, journals and newspapers

You can find advertised jobs for your area of work on specialist industry websites. 

You'll also find vacancies in printed and online journals and trade magazines, which:

  • you can find in larger newsagents and libraries
  • are often free to subscribe to if you're already in the industry
  • include news on companies that are expanding and what skills they need

Look out for job vacancies near you in your local newspaper.


Libraries offer internet access, which can help you with your job search if you don’t have the internet at home. 

Your local library may also run careers events and offer help with job hunting.

Get support with your job search

Find out about childcare support or get help looking for work if you're disabled.

You can also talk to our advisers to get help finding vacancies near you.

Related content

Networking advice

How to write a CV

Interview tips

Speak to an adviser

You can call 0800 100 900 or use webchat to speak to an adviser.

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