Advanced Searches Can Save Your Sanity

If you have ever been laid off, you may have had well-meaning, albeit misinformed, relatives and friends tell you to shop your resume around to local offices and employment agencies. Thankfully, this time-consuming and tree-killing way to job hunt is no more. Enter the job sites and job aggregators on the internet. Job sites are exactly what they sound like – sites that list all sorts of jobs. Job aggregators are like search engines that search job sites to bring you all the jobs in which you may be interested all in one place.

As a career consultant, I have witnessed job hunters give up on the job search before they even really begin because there are so many positions out there to which to apply. While some would debate whether or not all of these jobs are real jobs, the bottom line is that the quickest way to apply for a job is online. Time is critical when you have been laid off and you need that next job.

Boolean searches are one of the best methods to cut through the plethora of job postings and to find the ones you need. Don’t let the word Boolean make you nervous. It just means using some limiters in your search to make the results manageable. Most search engines, job sites and job aggregators have an advanced search function and how to use it to help you save time. Here are a few limiters that are easy to use:

*Double Quotes: Double quotes help you find listings with an exact phrase in them. For example, if you are looking for a position as a science editor, try “science editor” in your search. Not using double quotes might bring up something like science writer or business editor instead.

*NOT – The word “not” is a very useful limiter for those of you looking in career fields that have common job postings that are not quite what you want. For example, if you are interested in working in publishing, want to explore that field and know you do not want to do sales, try publishing and not sales as a search. Another way to weed out the publishing sales jobs is to use a job aggregator like with an advanced search function that lets you list words you do not want in a job posting.

*Root and Stem Words – There are many titles that consist of various forms of root words. You can capture all different forms of root words by using a single asterisk.. For example, if you are looking for all job postings that list the words editor, editorial, editing, try edit* as your search. A stem word search uses two asterisks to bring up alternate word forms. Write** might bring up written, wrote or writing in a search. Another way to run this type of search is to use a job site such as which allows you to do an advance search listing different forms of a word in the title and keyword fields.

*Compound Boolean searches – Once you are comfortable using simple Boolean searches, you can move on to using a combination of these searches to save you even more time. For example, the search “science writer” and chemistry may bring up just the chemistry abstract writer positions for which you are looking.

Advanced searches can save your sanity and time, freeing you up to prepare for those job interviews you landed by using Boolean searches. Good luck!


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