Automate Job Listings: It’s All About RSS

Every morning, I browse through more than a hundred job listings from a variety of websites. When I first started out, the process could take me more than an hour: opening a whole bunch of book marks, sorting through emails and so forth. But I’ve got a secret weapon that drops that time down to under ten minutes (not including the time spent responding to ads that are worth my while).

It’s All About RSS

Most sites listing freelance projects these days offer an RSS feed: whether you’re look at Craigslist’s classifieds or bid sites like oDesk, you can take advantage of the way the site operates to make those listings come to you.

The first thing you’ll need is an RSS reader. While there are a variety of readers out there, I’d recommend Google Reader if you don’t already use another RSS reader. It’s one of the easiest to use and if you already have a Google account, (Gmail, Google Docs, etc.) Google Reader require minimal set up. Even if you don’t, the service is free and takes only a few minutes to set up.

No matter which RSS reader you’re using, though, there will be a button somewhere obvious that will allow you to add RSS feeds to your reader. In the case of Google Reader, the button is in the upper left corner and is labeled “Google Reader.” You can paste in a website’s address and, as long as there’s an RSS feed set up, the reader will make each new update (also known as a job listing) available.

For most job listings sites, you can get just one category through your RSS reader. On oDesk, for instance, plugging the address for just the writing jobs will allow you to just look through writing jobs — after all, browsing all of those other categories probably isn’t productive. The same is true of Craigslist — you can get just the writing gigs for a particular city with no problems.

Going Through Your Feeds

Once you’ve got your favorite job sites fed into your RSS reader, you only need to visit one site a day. You can go through all the new listings from a site, without having to sort them out from the older jobs. If you do find a listing that interests you, you can click through that particular listing back to the website it appeared on and apply for it.


  1. David Lechnyr   •  

    Not every job site is RSS enabled, usually due to the age of the institution. Most of the folks in charge have never heard of RSS and, sadly, see it as an unnecessary frill. At least, that was my experience while working for one Human Resources department. Upon implementing RSS for their jobs page (since made non-RSS I’ve found out), the reaction was little to mixed from the administrators. They figure, if they don’t use it, why would anyone else?

  2. thursday   •     Author

    @David, My experience has been that a lot of the sites geared towards full-time jobs haven’t made an effort to offer RSS feeds — but most of the sites that focus more on freelance work seem to have taken RSS feeds a little more to heart.

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