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Top 5 Basic Boolean Search Tips for Recruiters (and Job Seekers)

on Mon, 05/18/2015 - 12:22

Sometimes I think the most complicated and off putting aspect of Boolean searches is the adjective, Boolean (Pertaining to or being a deductive logical system).  The word itself sounds frightening like bugaboo or BOO! Having a basic understanding of Boolean searching can simplify the recruiters’ effort for finding quality candidates.  Understanding Boolean searching can also streamline the job seeker in their efforts to locate positions of employment that interest them.  Let’s take a look at the top 5 most basic and helpful Boolean search tips. 

AND: Marketing AND Omniture      The AND feature is the simplest and most basic of Boolean features.  Using as an example select the ‘find resumes’ link at the top left the site.    Suppose you wanted to find resumes of candidates that are Marketing Managers with experience using Omniture residing in New York City. In the search bar enter: Marketing AND Manager AND Omniture and in the location enter a zip code for New York City. 

*NOTE TO JOB-SEEKERS: Just flip this information for finding positions of employment that are interest to you.  Go to and if you are looking for a job as a Flexible Plastics Engineer, enter in the search bar: Flexible AND Plastics AND Engineer and enter the zip code for where you wish to work.

Quote Marks: “ETL Architect” Quote marks surrounding two or more words tell a search engine to look for all those words, next to each other in that order.  Again, we will use as our place to find resumes.  If you were to enter ETL AND architect in the search bar you would find resumes that have both ETL and architect listed however you might find resumes with ETL testers that have worked with data architect or worked in a team that contained an ETL Architect.  To ensure that you only find resumes of those candidates that are ETL Architects put quote marks around the two words that matter the most.  Going one step further, we will look for an ETL Architect with experience working in an entertainment environment in  West Los Angeles, CA.  We would enter in the search bar: “ETL architect” AND entertainment.

The result would look like the following…

Minus Sign - : Minus sign excludes terms in your search, i.e.  Teacher –Elementary

Once again using we will look for a Science teacher in the greater Detroit, MI region but we do not want to see those resumes of teachers for elementary schools.  Using our brackets we will enter “Science teacher” to eliminate those resumes of elementary teachers we will include the minus sign next to ‘elementary’. You must put the minus sign right up to the word you want excluded, do not leave any space between your minus sign and the word you want excluded. Your Boolean search would look like this: “science teacher” –elementary    

Your result would look like the following…


Brackets: Brackets help you organize your keywords.  Put similar words used in an OR statement in brackets for complex searches.

Example: “Information Security” (pci OR cissp OR iam) 

Information Security professionals for the I.T. market hold various certifications as well as use a variety of acronyms; these certifications and acronyms are keywords that recruiters use to locate their candidate.  For Information Security popular acronyms are PCI and IAM and highly desired certification status is for CISSP.  To gather as many strong Information Security professionals as possible use the brackets to capture the two words “Information Security” and in put in brackets the main keywords you are looking for that are associated with your desired Information Security professional, in this case we will enter the following Boolean search: “Information Security” (pci OR cissp OR iam) 

Filetype: Search for a file type.  Most people use a PDF or Word Document to format their resume. A typical search for a resume in Word Document would look like this:

Filetype:         DOC AND resume AND Programmer AND RPG

-Types of files to search for: EPS, JPG, IND, FLA, MP3, MOV, HTML, PHP, CSS, GIF, DOC, PDF, PPT, XLS, ZIP

Let’s take a look at a sample search of resumes via Google for a Cold Fusion Programmer.  This is what the search string would look like followed by viewing a few of the results:

The search string I used: Filetype: pdf AND resume AND programmer AND “cold fusion” produced several cold fusion resumes; in the above snapshot we see 3 resumes.  Try this again and swap out ‘pdf’ and use ‘DOC’ to find resumes saved as word documents. 

*NOTE TO JOB-SEEKERS: Create your own website and include your resume so others can find you. 

Now AND that –wasn’t “so scary” (was it)?  Happy Boolean searching!