Posted August 19, 2014 by

How Google Search Operators Can Help Your Job Search

Close up of search home page on computer with silhouette of man's head out of focus in foreground

Close up of search home page on computer with silhouette of man’s head out of focus in foreground. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The job market can be a competitive place, and smart job seekers use all the tools at their disposal to gain an edge. Google, the search engine giant founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, is one of these tools and should be used in the most effective way possible.

Search engines can help you find job listings in your intended field based on keywords and algorithms, but sometimes Google and other search engines pull up results that aren’t as relevant as you would like. Maybe the job listing is several months old, or the listing isn’t actually located in your area because it was misclassified. Google might pull up a page that has your keyword, but isn’t even a job listing.

Many people don’t know about Google’s advanced search commands, but these commands can be a powerful job-hunting tool, helping you zero in on the most recent and relevant job listings and weed out the other stuff.

Here is a look at several advanced search commands to try:

inurl: This command tells Google you want search results that contain your keyword in the Web page’s online address or URL. For example, if you want to find Web pages with the word careers in the URL, you would type inurl:careers (no space between inurl: and careers).

intext: Similar to the command above, intext: tells Google you want your search term to appear only in text, and nowhere else on the page. The typing convention is the same as inurl: (no spaces).

site: If you want to limit your search results to a single web domain, use the term site: before that web domain. You can include a keyword or phrase before or after the site command.

“”: Using quotes tells Google you want search results that contain that exact phrase instead of having those words sprinkled separately throughout the page.

In addition to Google, some other search engines support these commands as well. Here are two examples of how these search commands can help you find a job:

Example 1: public administration careers versus public administration careers intext:openings

If you type public administration careers into Google, you get a lot of general information about public administration careers but likely few (if any) actual job listings. Adding intext:openings tells Google you are specifically looking for pages that have openings for public administration careers. This is likely what you wanted to find in the first place.

Example 2: Marketing Coordinator BA in Marketing versus “Marketing Coordinator” “BA in Marketing” inurl:careers

The first search phrase may bring up pages that have marketing and coordinator somewhere on the page but not next to each other, which could mean something completely different from what you intended. They might also bring you to other search engines such as SimplyHired, Indeed, and Monster.

By putting quotation marks around marketing coordinator and BA in marketing, Google will show results that contain those exact phrases. Also, adding inurl:careers generates results that are more specific and are filtered to meet your educational background.

Master these simple search commands and you will be well on your way to a more efficient and productive job search.

Adam Levenson is the community manager at UNC School of Government’s online MPA@UNC program. Adam graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A in International Relations and a Certificate in Hispanic Studies. Adam is passionate about government, improving access to higher education, and finding the best Asian cuisine in the DC area. Follow him on Twitter at @mradamlevenson.​

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