Searching for jobs online can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Although upwards of 80% of jobs are found through networking, there are still a number of jobs that are found through applying to jobs that are posted online. As such, it is important that you include keyword job searches as part of your overall strategy.
Finding the Right Keywords to Use
The approach to finding the most relevant roles online is through using the right keywords in your search. Here’s the rub: determining the right keywords to use is a practice in trial and error. That said, there are a few steps you can take to find the most appropriate keywords:
- Think of the Job Ad – ask yourself what your dream job would look like and how would the job ad be written. Think of the keywords that might be found in the job ad.
- Start Broad, then Narrow – when starting your keyword search, start with using just the generic job title and see how many results are returned. If the search is too broad, add more keywords to the search string to narrow down the results. As an example, if you are looking for a project management role in construction for the mining industry, you may want to start by using the keywords project manager. Likely there will be hundreds of results, most of which would not be relevant. From there you can add the keyword construction. You will find more relevant roles, but they may not be industry specific. Continue adding more keywords to the search string until you find roles that would be of interest.
- Save your Search – once your keywords return relevant results, save the search. Many job boards have such a “search agent” functionality, automating your keyword search.
- Look for Themes – as you find relevant roles, see if you can spot themes in terms of the keywords used. Not only can you use these keywords in your future job searches, but you can also pepper these keywords (truthfully) throughout your resume.
There are more advanced techniques for conducting any sort of database search. Using Boolean operators, such as AND, NOT, and OR are examples of such techniques. Although it is out of the scope of this blog post, if you are interested in learning about conducting Boolean searches, there are numerous resources available online. The bottom line is that conducting a keyword search is not an exact science. Through practice and trial and error, you will develop this fundamental researching skill.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any additional insights, or would like to share your experience, I’d love to hear from you.
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Until next time, happy hunting!