What job websites work?

 In career exploration, jobs: preparation and placement, PhD/Postdoc Blog

I know that googling ‘Ph.D. Job Site’ can be a bit overwhelming. There are more than 500,000,000 results. I know I was utterly confused when I first started my job search.  So, dear reader, I tried to pull out some of the largest sites or sites aimed specifically at Ph.Ds. Some of them are a bit redundant, but more information hopefully leads to better decisions.

According to most job websites, the majority of jobs are not found by plastering your resume on the web. That does not mean that job sites are not useful. There are job websites that can help you decide what field you want to go into (shameless plug for NIH BEST), the culture of a company, and how much compensation you can expect.

Once you have narrowed down to the type of job you are looking for, job websites are helpful in tracking down companies that you find interesting. Job sites can help you find alumni at those companies. LinkedIn even has a ‘find an alumnus’ setting if you go to your school’s LinkedIn profile.  Once you have found an alumnus, shoot them an email. Worst case scenario: they do not respond.

While you are waiting for a response, research jobs available at the company, the company’s culture, and the compensation can be helpful to generate conversation when the alumni do respond.


Websites for career fields

I have found Versatile Ph.D. is a great place to start. It has a rundown of many different potential career paths, as well as examples of Ph.Ds. in different fields, resumes, and Q&As from different careers. The website covers humanities as well as STEM Ph.D. opportunities and is a useful website if you are not prone to resume envy.

Since you are already reading this, I do not have to go into depth about NIH BEST. A job site which gives a good rundown of potential jobs for Ph.Ds. They also have lists of job titles, which are very helpful when you begin searching company websites.

Websites for finding companies

Once you narrow down the field, the next step is finding good companies within that field. There are several websites that can give you an idea of the company culture and pay.

Glassdoor and Comparably are websites based off of user added comments and ratings of companies. They have salary info for just about any job. They both give a good overview of companies’ pros and cons. Glassdoor lists the most common pros and cons at the top of the company’s page, as well as interview information. If you are looking for more salary info, PayScale is another website that is useful and can help you decided what is a good offer.

If you are looking for a website that has more employer input, The Muse has detailed profiles on a bunch of companies along with employee interviews.

Websites with job postings

Networking and doing informational interviews is still your best bet, but all the websites I have listed have job postings. Companies will usually list jobs on their websites as well.

One of the largest job posting sites is Indeed, which has many Ph.D. level jobs. Indeed is a job board that combines data from a bunch of job boards. If you are looking for government positions USA jobs is the place to be. All federal jobs are posted there. Want government postdocs instead? ORISE has a bunch of postdoctoral STEM fellowships throughout the US.


Taking a step back, I only highlighted a few sites out of hundreds. I am probably missing more than a few. Take this list with a grain of salt. I would even go so far as to say, take all listicles with a grain of salt. No one person can catalog the best job websites for everyone’s job search. This is just a place to start.  So start, and good luck.


Current Position: 6th year Ph.D. Candidate, Materials Science and Engineering

Program Start Date: August 2012

Institution: Johns Hopkins University


If you’ve found this helpful, please share it with another soon to be gainfully employed friend and watch @NIHBEST on Twitter for more from my lovely colleagues and me.


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    • […] These are the websites for potential candidates to find and fill available job vacancies. Most job portals are diverse and offer a broad range of jobs in a number of fields including academia. I have found a few of them are specially designed for jobs in higher education (e.g., Higheredjobs, The Chronicle of Higher Education, etc.). These websites not only filter job vacancies according to the field of interest but also to geographical location, in case you are committed to a particular area. For more details about what job websites work read Erin’s recent postdoc blog. […]

    • […] have given you ideas for networking, informational interviews, useful job sites, along with other job searching tidbits. But knowing all the right things and doing them are two […]

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