How to Use Help Wanted Ads to Job Search

Man reading a newspaper
••• Fabrice LEROUGE / Getty Images

Do you use the help wanted ads in newspapers to aid you in your job search? If not, you should. Local and regional employers don't always post on major jobs sites like Monster and Indeed. Instead, they might advertise in the local newspaper to avoid being overwhelmed with too many applicants.

Employers also post jobs in local newspapers when they don’t plan on paying for relocation costs and want to hire only local applicants.

If you’re looking for a job in your local area, the help wanted ads are a great place to begin your job search. Similarly, if you’re planning to relocate, you can check out the help wanted ads in a newspaper in the area where you’d like to live and work.

How to Find the Right Newspaper

If you’re looking for a job in a specific town, state, or region, check out that area’s local newspapers. You can find directories of newspapers, both national and international, available online, which will help you save time searching for newspapers in locations that interest you.

For example, you can search for free on the Library of Congress website for both historic and current newspapers. Search by state, county, and/or city, depending on how narrow you want your search to be.

You can also check your local library for either a newspaper directory (which lists newspaper titles by region) or an online collection of newspapers. Your local library is a great resource for getting newspapers without paying for each copy, and most papers have help wanted ads online.

In addition, CareerBuilder.com lists the classifieds for many newspapers. Many other job search sites similarly draw on classifieds when listing job openings.

How to Find Help Wanted Ads

To check out help wanted ads, you can read the printed paper and look for the “Classified” or “Help Wanted” section. However, you don’t need to run to the store to buy the latest edition of your local paper if you don’t want to. Most newspapers have online editions of each issue. These online editions should contain the classified ads.

These ads are typically searchable by date, category, keyword, and location. You may also be able to upload your resume and apply directly online for jobs that interest you.

Some papers include even more extensive job search information for readers, such as local salary information and local career resources. Other newspapers conduct live job fairs attended by the employers who advertise with them. Check in your newspaper for upcoming fairs or look on the newspaper’s website.

You may also be able to set up a job search agent to notify you when new listings that meet your criteria appear. A job search agent is a common resource on many online job sites. All you have to do is to provide information on the type of job you’re looking for, and you will receive regular emails (typically daily, weekly, or monthly) with information on all the new job listings that fit your interests.

Tips for Using Local Job Ads in Your Job Search

Check regularly. Be sure to check out the help wanted ads on a daily, or at least weekly, basis to ensure you are applying for every potential job available. With every new issue of the paper comes new job listings, so stay on top of your reading.

Use multiple newspapers. Look at more than one newspaper from the region to increase your chances of finding all the job listings that fit your interests. This is especially so if you’re not from the region, as you might not know which newspapers are the most popular and therefore the most likely to have more classifieds.

Do further research, if needed. Often, help wanted ads are very short, in large part because newspapers often charge employers by the word or the amount of space their ad takes up. Therefore, there may not be a lot of information about the job or company in the listing. If you want more information, check out the company website. If there’s a contact for the listing, reach out to him or her with any specific questions you have about the job.

Continue your online search. These days, so many jobs are listed on job enginesjob boards, and company websites such that you don’t need to rely solely on newspaper help wanted ads. Don’t stop checking those other websites while you read the classifieds. A mix of help wanted ads and online listings will help you get a sense of what jobs are out there for you.

Use Local / Regional Job Sites

Local and regional job sites can be effective in finding a job in a specific location. Again, many of these sites include listings from local employers who may not be inclined to post on major job sites.

For example, check out this list from the National Labor Exchange of available jobs organized by state. Click on the state where you’re searching and use the search bar to find jobs within that state. You can search for jobs throughout the state, or in a specific city. The site also contains links to other sites that provide more information about job searching in that area.