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How to Use ZipRecruiter for Your Job Search

Male professional in a suit sitting in a chair interviewing a female candidate with the ziprecruiter logo

You’ve probably heard ZipRecruiter’s ads on the radio or on your favorite podcast, or seen one of their millions of job listings. But is ZipRecrtuier a worthwhile tool for finding a job, or is it just another job listing site where you’ll be spammed with tons of irrelevant positions? 

Read on to find out more about ZipRecruiter, whether the site is legitimate and how to use it to find a job. 

What is ZipRecruiter?

ZipRecruiter is an online employment marketplace that helps companies find and hire high-quality candidates. 

For companies, it’s a one-stop way to post a job to more than 100 job boards and get recommendations for qualified candidates. For job seekers like you, it’s a way to get discovered by employers who are looking for applicants with your skills. 

Job seekers can browse millions of open positions and easily apply via their ZipRecruiter candidate profile. In addition to searching job listings, you can access the platform’s database of real salaries from real employers, which contains pay information for position titles in your specific location and the country as a whole. 

Is ZipRecruiter legit?

According to Consumer Affairs, a publication that vets companies and helps consumers make purchasing decisions, “ZipRecruiter is a legitimate, well-established hiring resource.” It has a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot and has been Better Business Bureau accredited since 2012. Its employer clients include recognized companies like Bank of America, Target, and Verizon. 

Founded in 2010, the company has more than a decade-long track record of helping employers and employees connect with one another. In 2021, the company went public and is now traded on the New York Stock Exchange, which means its financial records and market dealings are subject to additional scrutiny. 

It’s important to note that ZipRecruiter is not involved in the hiring process. Once a candidate matches with a company, what happens from there is between those two parties. 

ZipRecruiter isn’t entirely without problems, though. Some candidates have complained on Reddit and other platforms about the volume of emails they receive from ZipRecruiter and the relevance (or lack thereof) of the jobs they’re matched with. 

ZipRecruiter logo
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Is ZipRecruiter free for job seekers?

ZipRecruiter is 100% free for people who are looking for a job. Candidates can browse the platform’s job and salary database at no charge, with or without building a profile. 

ZipRecruiter makes money by charging employers a fee for the use of its services. 

Make your next career move with our extensive ZipRecruiter feed of open jobs

How does ZipRecruiter work for job seekers?

ZipRecruiter offers a number of useful tools for job seekers at various stages of the search process. 

When you’re just starting your search, you can look for open positions by title, industry, and location or view salary trends for your area. 

When you’re ready to start applying, you can create a free profile that allows you to upload your resume and apply for most jobs in a single click. You’ll no longer have to fill out the same information over and over again for every job you’re interested in, saving loads of time. 

Once you’ve created your ZipRecruiter profile, you’ll receive daily alerts of new jobs from an “AI recruiter” that uses artificial intelligence to match you with the best-fitting positions. If you’ve applied for one or more jobs, you’ll receive emails alerting you to application views, new messages, and status changes. ZipRecruiter will also “promote” your resume to employers when it thinks you’re an exceptionally strong candidate for their role. 

ZipRecruiter has millions of open jobs posted from all over the country, making it a good option for candidates looking to manage all their listings, open applications and job-related conversations in one place. 

How do I use ZipRecruiter?

Dashboard

When you log into your free ZipRecruiter account, you’ll be greeted with your dashboard. It contains your suggested jobs, which are picked for you based on your resume and prior searches; applied jobs, which shows the status of any positions you’ve already applied for; and saved jobs, where you can see all of the positions you’ve saved for later. 

You’ll also see your unread alerts, which appear with the bell icon in the upper right hand corner, as well as any necessary next steps to fully complete your profile. 

Profile

This is where you’ll fill in all of the personal and professional information that employers will see. It includes the basics: your name, contact information, skills, experience and education. There are additional sections where you can add an objective statement, certifications, licenses, professional associations, and achievements.  

You can enter this information manually, which is basically like building a fresh resume from scratch, or you can upload your existing resume and ZipRecruiter will fill in the necessary information for you, 

Upload resume

To upload your resume, navigate to the Profile tab of your Dashboard and click the ‘Add Resume’ option. You can upload an existing file in one of the following formats: .PDF, doc, docx, .odt, txt, .wps. .docm or .rtf. PDF is the preferred file option for the cleanest upload. 

If your resume is missing any of the recommended information, like a headline, ZipRecruiter will prompt you to fill it in or skip it.

Related: Sample resumes and recommendations

Change resume

Once you’ve uploaded your resume, ZipRecruiter may ask you whether you want to include or delete certain jobs and/or information by clicking Yes or No. You can also make changes manually at any time. Do this by clicking the ‘Edit’ button next to any section of your profile. 

Add cover letter

Unlike many job application systems, ZipRecruiter does not require a cover letter to apply for jobs. In fact, you can’t add one until after you’ve applied for a position. Instead, the platform advises candidates to focus on optimizing their resumes, which is what determines whether you match with a particular position. 

Still, a cover letter can be useful in setting yourself apart once your resume makes it through the screening process to an actual human hiring manager. To add a cover letter to any job you’ve applied for, navigate to your Applied Jobs tab from your dashboard. Click Add Cover Letter on the desired position, then copy and paste the letter into the provided text box.

Message management

Messages are how you communicate with hiring managers. If you’ve used the messaging function on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, you’ll find the interface on Ziprecruiter similar. 

All of your conversations are displayed in chronological order. You can also search for conversations by name or by job title. 

Applying for a job

ZipRecruiter bills itself as being the easiest platform to apply for a job, and for most jobs, that’s the case. When you see a job you’re interested in, you’ll see one of two buttons: Apply or 1-click apply. If 1-click apply is not available, you’ll be taken to the company’s website or third-party service to complete your application. 

1 click apply ZipRecruiter

One of ZipRcruiter’s major selling points for candidates is its 1-Click Apply feature. It’s just what it sounds like: you can apply for jobs with a single click using the information in your profiel. In some cases, you’ll be prompted for additional information requested by the company. 

That’s it! As you can see, ZipRecruiter makes it easy for candidates who need to find a job ASAP to apply for multiple jobs quickly and get instant updates on their application status. 

Who are ZipRecruiter’s competitors?

ZipRecruiter vs CareerBuilder

Like ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder lets candidates create a profile, browse and apply for jobs. One unique CareerBuilder tool is its ‘CoLab’ feature, which allows you to enter a position title and get recommendations for similar roles. This is useful if you have an industry in mind but aren’t sure which positions to pursue, or if you’re looking for a job that leverages similar skills in a different field. 

ZipRecruiter vs Glassdoor

While Glassdoor offers job listings, its primary value proposition for job seekers is its employer reviews. On the site, you can read reviews of companies from employees who have actually interviewed and worked there, which can be a gold mine of useful information when job searching. 

ZipRecruiter vs Indeed

Indeed is the most similar platform to ZipRecriter on the applicant side, allowing job seekers to create a candidate profile and find jobs. However, ZipRecruiter has a leg up when it comes to ease of application. On ZipRecruiter, you can apply for most jobs without leaving the site, while Indeed will often take you to the company’s website or another platform where you’ll need to enter all your information from scratch. 

ZipRecruiter vs LinkedIn

While LinkedIn offers a robust set of tools for job seekers, including job listings, it’s primarily a professional networking platform. It’s a good option if you’re looking to connect with a human recruiter, who can share their clients’ open positions and keep you abreast of new jobs. Like ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn also offers the option to apply for many jobs from directly within the app. 

ZipRecruiter vs Monster

Monster.com offers job and salary databases that are similar to those of ZipRecruiter. You’ll often find different jobs listed on each platform, so it can be useful to browse both. Where Monster.com shines is its resources for job seekers, which include helpful career advice articles and fee-based resume-writing service. Monster is also very active on social media, so they’re a good account to follow if you’re looking for a job. 

ZipRecruiter vs Workable

Whereas ZipRecruiter is a tool for both candidates and employers, Workable is a recruiting platform geared mainly to employers. It helps hiring managers find great talent, but it’s much more focused on recruiting functionalities like sourcing and screening candidates than it is on job-seeker functions like new job alerts. 

So, is ZipRecruiter worth it? The bottom line is that if you’re in need of a new job fast and want a tool that helps you stay on top of your search, you’ll find ZipRecruiter useful. And, at a cost of $0, it’s definitely worth trying out.