How to find job vacancies

There are lots of ways to look for a new job. We describe some of them here. Choose the ones that suit you best.

Jobcentre Plus

Please visit Job Help for tips and guidance on your job search.

You can also find information about:

  • local recruitment events
  • training schemes
  • companies you may be able to contact

You can also find out about childcare support or get help looking for work if you're disabled.

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, using a digital version of your CV. You can also include a digital covering letter to support your application.

Many job boards also let you sign up for email alerts that tell you when an organisation publishes a new job vacancy. When you sign up for an alert, you may be able to state what you're looking for, such as:

  • full-time, part-time or temporary work
  • work in a particular location
  • jobs that match your skills and experience

Networking sites

Networking sites like LinkedIn let you search for advertised job vacancies. 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 bulletins

Local council online or e-bulletins often include information about companies that are hiring in the area. You can use this information to:

  • approach an employer with your CV
  • look for advertised vacancies
  • apply for vacancies online

Recruitment agencies

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

Agencies are useful for connecting you with jobs that are not advertised online or in the press. Some agencies specialise in particular industries, for instance healthcare or engineering. It's worth checking their website first to see what kind of jobs they advertise. You can register with more than one agency at a time. This increases your chances of finding a job.

When using an agency, you’ll need to:

  • 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
  • keep in regular contact with the agency and let them know when you're available
  • ask for feedback if you're not placed in a job
  • be open to temporary work, as this often leads to permanent positions
  • let the agency know about any specialist skills you have, for instance touch typing, languages or computer coding

Use sites like Agency Central to search for recruitment agencies in your local area.

Hidden job market

The hidden job market is the jobs that are not advertised. In some industries, this can be as high as 70% to 85% of all vacancies. Our networking page has advice on how to find jobs like this.

You can also use social media to look for hidden work. For example, do you know someone in an online community able to direct you towards a job opportunity not yet advertised?

National Careers Service

The staff at the National Careers Service offer careers advice and guidance. You can contact them by phone or webchat. You can also make an appointment to see an adviser face to face.

Advisers have information about which employers are recruiting in your area. They can also tell you about job vacancies, training schemes and apprenticeships.

Job fairs

Job fairs are events where recruiters come to meet potential employees. You can find information about job fairs through:

  • school
  • college
  • university
  • careers service
  • job centre
  • training organisations
  • charities

Direct contact with employers

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

If you are going to visit, first make an appointment to speak with the most appropriate person. This may be a supervisor, manager or human resources (HR) officer.

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

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, as it may be that they’re simply too busy to see you at that time. You can always try again later.

Industry magazines and journals

You can find advertised jobs in industry journals or trade magazines for your area of work. With these publications you'll often find:

  • subscription is free if you're already in the industry
  • larger newsagents and libraries stock them
  • they include news on companies that are expanding and what skills they need

Industry publications are not restricted to magazines and journals. Many organisations have industry-specific websites. You can use these to find and apply for vacancies.


Newspapers advertise local and national jobs. Your newsagent can tell you which newspapers are available in your area. You can also find a selection of newspapers at your local library.

Speak to an adviser

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

  • 8am - 8pm Monday - Friday
  • 10am - 5pm Saturday