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How do I pick a job search niche? Use BLS. | The Man Who Sold the Web Blog

How do I pick a job search niche? Use BLS.

1 Jul

One of the most common pre-sales questions I receive for the 300K Page Job Search In-a-Box is:  How do I pick a job search niche? (That question’s followed with: how do I pick a domain name?)

Like with any site, picking a niche requires research.  In the case of job search, your research should focus on employment data.  And, what better source for that than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)?

A couple years ago, BLS published their projections of employment by major industry sector.  Check it here:

For each industry/vertical, BLS captured the employment numbers for 1998, 2008, and 2018; and then the average annual growth rates between 1998-2008 and 2008-2018.  We want to focus on the 2008 and 2018 numbers.  In honing in on an attractive vertical, there are 2 things to look for:

  • Large employment value – A large employment base means there’s a large target market for our job search site.  I’d say anything greater than 10 million is a winner, which leaves us with:
    • Manufacturing
    • Retail
    • Professional services
    • Healthcare / social assistance
    • Leisure / hospitality
    • State and local government
    • Financial services (this comes in close at 8.7MM employees)
  • Growth rate – A positive growth rate means this vertical is a growing area.  More and more people are looking to switch into it–and therefore will be searching for jobs in it.  A growing area usually also indicates higher ad CPC rates (for both Indeed and AdSense).   This is because a growing industry is fueled by fast growing companies that are willing to pay more for the top talent and also have more cash to spend.  I’d say anything above a 1.5% annual growth is fantastic, which include:
    • Construction
    • Professional services
    • Educational services
    • Healthcare / social assistance

Once you have a vertical picked out, you should drill down a bit further for your job niche.  For instance, if you pick “professional services” as your vertical, which has both high employment size and growth rate, your actual niche may be something like “management consulting.”  For your job categories, they can be “strategy consulting,” “marketing consulting,” “business process consulting,” “supply chain consulting,” “operations consulting,” “change management consulting,” “HR consulting,” etc.

BLS also provides some additional tools to dissect and analyze employment data at a more granular level.  These include:

  • Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey – By vertical, this allows you to see statistics for additional metrics, like job openings, new hires, quits, layoffs, and more.  Looking at these values gives you a sense of the vertical’s turnover rate, which is another great indicator of the attractiveness of this area for a niche job search site.

These 3 links should be enough to get your gears turning!

Now, for the follow-up question: how do I choose a domain name?  For a site like this that will be primarily driven by organic traffic, I always recommend choosing a domain name that includes your niche keywords.  For instance, if your niche is “management consulting,” domain names like,, or would all work.  Don’t go for the brandable, buzz-word domains like Google, Yelp, or Zynga.

Good luck!


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