What's a job search
are instructions that attempt to specify and narrow down a list
of jobs you are looking for as in title, geographical area, and
industry. The search is dependent on "key words or phrases"
like project manager combined with [most times] a forced selection
of function, geography, industry etc.
What's a search agent?
Once you are happy with a search criterion, most sites will allow
you to save the search criteria permanently. They call this a search
agent and they allow you to name the agent any way you like. Some
sites limit you to some number of agents. Most sites will execute
these automatically based on timing instructions you provide - like
daily, weekly etc. They also allow you to specify things like new
jobs only since the last report (recommended), all jobs for the
past month or week etc.
It is the keyword
search that is truly user defined. How you structure it is critical
in getting the best results from job boards. Not all sites are created
equal when it comes to refining or defining your job search criteria
or for that matter how it applies your keyword(s) to the job description.
This writer has used
most job sites to search for jobs. The interesting thing I found
was the incredible variety of search results I got from the search
criteria I entered. Job boards are invented to provide the biggest
list of jobs to you so most automatically expand your search criteria
- whether you like it or not. Of course, if you like this, great!
Here's one example: I
entered Vice President without quotes, clicked on every Massachusetts
geographic selection and the information technology category in
Monster. It automatically expanded the search to include General
Manager, Business Development Manager, Project Manager, Vice President
of Marketing, Vice President of Operations, Director of Business
Development, Marketing Director, Vice President of Sales, and Chief
This broadening of the
search might seem great. You'll probably get a hit every time you
use it. And just as probably you'll toss it. The above search results
- Client Relations Representative
- Sr. Quality Assurance
- Technology Coordinator
- Technical Services
Clearly, this is not
what I wanted. How did Monster get this? Their automatic title additions
drove this as well as the unavoidable practice of searching for
the titles anywhere in the job description - like "reports
to General Manager".
A Primer on keyword search
Keyword searches are
generally processed against all job data including job title, employer
name, job location or job description.
Most sites have one or
two help buttons - "Need help searching" Here's how I
would rank the sites on their help text. (Links appear below)
and joboptions.com (couldn't find any)
Notes about Boolean
Searches: (AND, OR etc.) see below. Why would I use this? Say
your industry isn't specified or the one you're looking into is
a subset of the allowable selection.
Example: Keyword = (Vice
President AND Sales AND Printing) OR (Vice President AND Sales
AND "Graphic Arts")
"Printing is generally
a separate industry category. This will focus your search on senior
sales jobs in the Printing or Graphic Arts Industries. So with Boolean
searches you can drill down below fixed categories specified by
the job site.
- Periods (.) are ignored.
Don't use them
- Semicolons (;) and
colons (:) could block your search from being executed at all
- Don't use plus (+)
or minus (-) signs
- Skip using such common
words as a, an, as, the - these are usually ignored
If you get into using AND, OR and other functions you may need more
characters than the site supports. Here are a few examples.
- Don't use 'single'
- Don't use any quotes
for one word - Doesn't help
- "Double Quotes"
Enclose two or more words with " ". The job board will
search for that precise phrase.
your search will fail.
Extra spaces between
words: No effect.
Doesn't matter - no effect on search
happens automatically. The system takes your word (like program
and looks for any word with that word in it, like programmers or
programming. Wildcards do the same thing, but you have to direct
the system on what to do.
You can combine any number of words, phrases, with or without quotations
using AND, OR, AND NOT. However, sites vary in how you actually
do this. The operators can be upper or lower case..
- AND: Locates multiple
words or phrases. Example: visio AND C locates both of
those words anywhere in the job description. Both must exist for
a job to be selected.
- OR: Locates either
one word or the other. Example: visio OR C locates either word
separately or in combination.
- AND NOT: Locates the
first word on a page that does not include the second word. Example:
visio AND NOT C locates only job descriptions with the word visio
but without the word C
Site Specific Boolean
above. Do not use commas or the + and - signs
users to use different characters to indicate the same command as
- & is the same
- | (Hit shift \ to
get this) means the same as OR
- A comma means the
same as OR
- Parentheses: are
used to group where you want certain combinations to be considered
together. These are only used with Boolean searches.
programmer" OR "C programmer") AND (designer
OR "web developer") will locate visio programmer or
a C programmer in any job description that also has the
words designer or web developer.
- Wildcards: A
wildcard takes a series of characters and looks for those characters
in any word in the job posting. This is very similar to
MS Word Edit/Find function. It is unlikely you would use it but
if you want to there are two kinds:
- A few letters
+ and asterisk.
vis* locates "visio," "visual,"
"visualization" and "visor."
2. A question mark
followed by a few letters for a single-character wildcard
For example, ?ava locates
both java and lava.
Neither the asterisk nor the question mark works with parentheses
Site specific search
an excellent review see this link:
Boolean rules see
For other rules click
"Need help searching?" located next to the Get Results
button on http://jobsearch.monster.com/
Tip: Most sites
offer drop down boxes to select titles, locations, and industries.
Generally you can click on one or more items in the drop down box.
If the site allows you to select more than one item and you're using
a PC/Windows system hold the Ctrl key down and click on the ones
you want. They will be highlighted. If you want all items from here
to there as in a geographic search and you're using a PC/Windows
system, click the first item and go to the last one, hold the shift
key down and click it to highlight all in between.