If You Build It, They Will Come: the story of a successful Boolean search string!!

If You Build It, They Will Come: the story of a successful Boolean search string!!


I talked about the importance of doing your homework before beginning your search in my blog posting titled "The Art of Resume Sourcing". Once you have clear understanding of the position including similar terms, competitors, associations and synonyms you are now ready to begin your Internet search. So…where do you start?


This is where the phrase "If you build it, they will come", comes in. Building a successful, top notch Boolean search string is the key to getting successful results. Although they may appear very complicated, they are actually rather simple. Using a well thought out search string directly in the different Search Engines or Meta Search Engines will result in maximum returns. To keep it simple, remember there are three crucial elements to every search string, two of which will rarely change. Let’s go over these three elements in more detail:


  • Identifying the Resume: Our goal is to find all of the homepages/web pages that give us resumes or give resume information. We can do this by telling the search engine to give us those pages that are resumes. How do we do this? First, think of all the terms one might find on a resume i.e. resume, CV, Curriculum Vitae, Biography, Bio, Profile Homepage, Objective, Education, Experience, etc. A web page is made up of several elements one can search on. The URL, Title, Links, Text and Images are among those elements you can search on. By specifying that you want those pages that have the word resume in the URL or text or title of the page you are increasing your chances of getting a resume. This part of the string might look like this:

(title:resume OR title:CV OR title:bio OR title:homepage OR url:resume OR resume etc..)


Of course, using this part of the search string alone would generate thousands of results so let’s continue to the next key element to your string.


  • Eliminating Pages That Are Not Resumes: Our goal is to sift through the millions of web pages, locate the ones that could be resumes and throw away the pages that are not. These pages are usually in the form of a job posting. Think of all the words that are typically on a job posting but NOT on a resume i.e. submit, “equal opportunity”, EEO, job, opening, send, apply, “your resume”, classified, "job description", requirements, qualifications, etc.. This part of the search string might look like this:

(job OR "career opportunity" OR "equal opportunity employer" OR "employment at" OR EOE OR "employment opportunity" OR opening OR "submit resume" OR "your resume" OR "sample resume" OR "career development" OR classified OR book OR books etc...)


  • Job Specifications: Last but certainly not least, you need to take all those key terms that was discussed in my "The Art of Resume Sourcing" blog and put them in the form of a Boolean search string. For instance, if you are looking for an Security Software Engineer you may use a string like this:

(Cryptography OR Biometric OR Security OR firewall etc...) AND (Symantec OR Microsoft OR Norton OR McAfee etc…) And ("Software Engineer" OR "Software Developer" etc...) And (C++ OR C etc...)


Your final Search String should look like this:


(intitle:resume OR intitle:CV OR intitle:bio OR intitle:homepage OR inurl:resume OR resume) AND NOT (job OR "career opportunity" OR "equal opportunity employer" OR "employment at" OR EOE OR "employment opportunity" OR opening OR "submit resume" OR "your resume" OR "sample resume" OR "career development" OR classified OR book OR books) AND(Cryptography OR Biometric OR Security OR firewall) AND (Symantec OR Microsoft OR Norton OR McAfee) And ("Software Engineer" OR "Software Developer" etc...) And (C++ OR C etc...)

Of course you can take this even one step further by adding delimators to help narrow things more such as;

AND (filetype:doc OR filetype:pdf OR filetype:xt OR fieltype:RTF etc...)

But keep in mind you will never be able to cover all the ways a resume/cv might be on the web. So in doing the above you might miss some. But it will help narrow down the junk.


Once you have an initial search string created, you can now continue to mold and form it to fit your particular needs as well as mix it up to get a wide variety of good results. Most Search Engines will want to see this string in different forms but the concepts are the same. Remember were ever you saw the etc.. that means there are other search terms than can be used. As I said in my " Words and Phrases to recruit by" blog posting go "beyond the basics." Remember, if you build it right, the results will come!

Views: 77

Comment by Dean Da Costa on February 24, 2010 at 1:58pm
That will be a subject of a future posting. Thanks for the imput.

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