Do Jobseekers Need Search Strings?

Kelly Dingee Job Seeker Advice, Kelly Dingee

Welcome back from the Memorial Day weekend. Let’s take a break from our usual and not jump into recruiting and HR talk so quickly and focus on the job seeker for a bit. A few weeks back, someone asked me at a conference if I had created search strings for jobseekers. I haven’t. You certainly could, I’m just not sure that it’s necessary.

Not necessary? Well, here’s the thing of it, if I do a basic keyword search string like this:
(jobs OR careers) recruiter virtual

…I can get up to 3 million search results on Google. If I add a state… like Maryland… I cut my results in half. But they’re generally cluttered with job boards and aggregators as well as totally unrelated results like “Virtual Admin Assistant” jobs. Seems like a rather frustrating way to do it.I could try XRaying a company site… Bechtel is near my home as is Sodexo. But guess what?  When I try either of these search strings:
site:bechtel.com software engineer
site:sodexo.com (vp OR vice) (“talent acquisition” OR hr OR people OR “human resources”)

I get nothing useful. Why? Because the url of their careers pages are just slightly tweaked so you need to know those before you start down the path of XRaying the domain. In Sodexo’s case, if I want to capture the new VP of HR job they have available in my results, I need to use the sodexousa.comdomain.And then I started to think about search strings related to social media. I could do that. Personally, for viewing opportunities on Twitter, I like to use their search interface (particularly the advanced search options) or Topsy, to attempt to do a more all encompassing real time media search.To me, all those activities I mentioned? They are absolutely secondary to addressing the four key items to kicking off your job search:

  • Resume.  Most people don’t constantly maintain a resume, not even me.  But if you talk to any recruiting professional these days, you’ll probably be referred to building a LinkedIn profile as you start your job search and to build your online referral network.  It’s a great place to jump start the resume building process and incredibly easy to do.  Several months ago LinkedIn introduced functionality to help you import all your profile information into a resume format of your choosing, and it’s editable.  Find out more about LinkedIn ResumeBuilder here.  Not jobseeking yet but want to be “findable”?  Test out the LI ResumeBuilder anyhow and see where the gaps are in your profile, what keywords, skillsets, accomplishments have you failed to promote? LI ResumeBuilder lets you see clearly what would be great to add to your profile.
  • Location.  I’d think hard about location and develop a strategy to look for jobs within a certain commuting distance, unless of course virtual/remote/telecommute is an option.  Many of the mass aggregator job sites, and traditional job boards, allow you to search by location, having that ironed out from the get-go is important. And if telecommunting is the route for you, also keep in mind that no one is consistent in how they refer to virtual work, so use a variety of terms as you search sites to cover virtual work if that’s your preference.
  • Automate.  I like StartWire, that will connect my LinkedIn network with job postings powered by Indeed and I’ll be able to start using this referral base I’ve built to get my new gig.  I’d also fold Indeed and SimplyHired into the mix and I’d target companies in my local area and create RSS feeds of their job posting sites and have all that funnel into my email account.  And yes, I’d probably create a separate email account for my job search, just so I don’t miss any important emails in the mass amount of stuff I get in my regular email account.
  • Network.  I would reach out to my network, selectively, looking for referrals.  I can’t imagine spamming my entire LinkedIn network with the message that I’m on a job hunt, but selectively, and over a period of time, that could work for me.  And no mass messages, they should be individually crafted and addressed appropriately.

Search strings, if necessary, can come last in your job search strategy. There’s far easier ways to get a handle on the job market via automation and your network. Doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile, just not the best use of your time in the beginning of your search. In some cases, it’s helpful to know a bit of Boolean to get the results you’re looking for… out of job boards and search engines. Monster did a nice write up a bit ago just for jobseekers on how to do so.  If you’re interested in honing that part of your strategy, check it out here.

Recruiters – what else would you suggest?