Just typing “jobs” as your query in Google will give you nearly 3 billion results – a little time-consuming for you to check out each one, and not very practical or useful either.
[Google has changed, of course, so this article was updated October 16, 2012.]
So, you need to do three things to help you find the job postings you want:
1. Know the job you want.
An unfocused web search on Google is as useless as an unfocused job search, “IRL” (“in real life”). “Anything” seems easy to find, but it really is not because no one describes their job opening as “anything.” So figure out the job(s) you want to do next to have terms you can use in Google and also in your answer the next time someone asks.
2. Modify your Google search so the results are more useful to you (see the tips and example below).
3. Analyze pages like the pages you want Google to find for you. Look for terms that are repeated on those pages, and then use those commonly-used terms in your search to find similar pages.
Tips for Effective Google Searches for Jobs
If you are looking for a job, you must think like a recruiter or employer. You need to analyze what words people creating the postings you want commonly use in their postings:
Correct job title
Most job postings contain the title of the job, so those words should be used in your search. If you are searching for a specific job title, be sure to search using the most commonly used version of the job title.
Different employers and different industries use their own versions of standard job titles.
For example, perhaps your existing employer titles your job “member service associate” but most employers use the title “customer service representative.”
Searching on the term “member service associate” won’t get you the results you need if your target is a customer service representative job.
Appropriate location name
You probably want a job in a specific location, so the name of that location should be included in your search query. Use the words normally used to describe the location, and think about how the location is normally described. If you are looking for a job in eastern Massachusetts, south of Boston, try terms like “greater Boston,” “South Shore,” “south eastern MA,” “eastern MA,” “south eastern Massachusetts,” or a list of the city names.
Also try some of the tips in the Google-ize Your Job Search article.
Appropriate employer name
If you have target employers in mind, use those employers’ names in your search queries. When I worked for a company named Digital Equipment Corporation, the outside world often used the whole name in references to the company, or they used the initials, DEC. But, inside the company, we called it “Digital” or, less often, “DEC.” Which version of the name is most commonly used in the company’s job postings?
Job description terms
Some job postings contain the term “job description” and often offer directions about how to apply for the job (like “click to apply” or “submit your resume”), and then you can include those words in your search queries to find the jobs they have posted.
So, if you wanted a job as a “customer service representative” in “eastern Massachusetts” working for a bank, you could search for those job postings using this search query:
Often you will find developing effective searches is an iterative process. Looking at the results of the first search will help you refine the structure of the second search, improving your results each time. It shouldn’t take too long to develop the most effective search queries, and then you can turn those into Google Alerts to have Google run them for you on a daily basis.
For more information on appropriately structuring your search queries, read this article about how to structure your Google search.
Better Use of Your Time – Use the tips above to structure your searches on Indeed.
From a practical perspective, using Job-Hunt Sponsor Indeed.com is quicker and more effective than creating Google searches from scratch. Indeed also offers Alerts, and will email job search results to you!
© Copyright, 2011, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.