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Should You Pay to Use Job-Search Websites?

Premium job-search sites advertise a tantalizing opportunity to get a jump on the competition. But are they really worth the investment?
By Deborah Ng 

Many people who work from home are independent contractors or freelancers, who often need to rely on bringing in new clients in order to keep up a steady income stream. With so many people competing for the same clients, the job search can be a little frustrating. For those who are just embarking on a work from home career, a long job search can be disheartening. In hopes of getting a jump on the competition, many people are paying a fee to use certain job search sites in hopes of finding better opportunities that aren’t released to the masses. Are these “premium” job search sites worth it?

Premium job search sites can be helpful, but before opening your wallet, ask a few questions to determine if they’re right for you.

Are you receiving access to exclusive job opportunities?

When you pay to use a job search site, you’re probably doing so in hopes of having less competition for desired opportunities. However, the majority of listings in many paying sites feature the same listings you can find on job search sites such as Indeed, Skip the Drive, LinkedIn, and jobs posted on company websites. This isn’t to say that the premium sites don’t offer exclusivity, because some do. BUT only a small portion of listings are actually exclusive to the site. So while you’ll get access to some jobs that aren’t available to non-payers, the percentage of these opportunities might not make it worth it for you.

Now, if it’s worth it to you to have someone else do the searching for you, it might be worth it to pay the fee.

What are other perks offered?

Some premium job search sites offer perks that make the cost of a subscription worth it. For example, they post exclusive content of interest to job seekers. If you feel receiving interview tips, job search dos and don’ts, and other information is a good thing, it might be worth it for you to register for one of these sites. Again, though, you’ll have to ask yourself if the information they’re providing for a fee can also be found online for free.

Some sites also offer the ability to showcase your resume. Many free sites offer this service as well. So if you’re thinking of going this route it might be a good idea to investigate how often people are hired directly from having their resume posted at that website. Are hiring agents coming by every day to read resumes? This is important information to know before you part with your money.

Something important to consider is that the premium sites do weed out some of the more questionable opportunities. So it might be worth it to pay for a service that features better paying opportunities, or provides a spam- and scam- free place to browse listings.

Do the ends justify the means?

When it comes to pricing, job search sites run the gamut from $35 a year to hundreds of dollars a year. If you’re paying more money to find a job than you are earning, it’s not worth it. Moreover, if you’re paying for several months and you’re not landing any of the jobs you apply for, it’s probably not worth it. Mind you, job search sites don’t guarantee employment or clients, but you should be getting something for your investment. If you pay for a job search service, and you’re not receiving any interest, it could be that those listings are also generating a lot of competition.

Can you try a free trial?

Premium job search sites should offer a free trial, even if only for a week. “Free trial” doesn’t mean access to only a few listings while premium listings and blurred out until you pay, so don’t fall for that ruse. A free trial should include access to the entire site so you can get a feel as to whether or not it’s worth it to make the investment.

If a premium job search site won’t give you a free trial, do some research online. Find out who is using these sites and how much success they’ve had. Also, go to job forums like the ones found at and ask around. See if anyone there has luck with these sites. Ask peers who aren’t affiliates or advertising for one of these sites on their blogs.

Should You Pay to Use a Job Search Website?

Only you can decide whether or not a premium job search site is worth the investment. Before you pay, understand exactly what the job site offers, and whether or not you can receive a refund for a portion of your subscription if it’s not working out for you. It you can’t get a free trial and you still want to go for it, opt for the smallest amount of time commitment possible. Pay for one week or one month and see how it works for you. If you’re happy with the results, make the decision whether or not to continue with the discounted annual price.

There are so many options available for job seekers nowadays. In addition to online job listing sites, you can find work by joining job search groups on Facebook, taking part in offline networking opportunities like conferences and local business mixers, or simply spreading the word among your peers. You can also check with your previous employers if they offer outplacement services to assist you in your job search.

There are jobs out there that are right for you, and plenty of free ways to find them!

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