7 Tips to Make Google Work for Your Job Search

Fine-tune your Google searches to find exactly the jobs you want by simply adding punctuation and a few more words. Here are seven easy examples:

  • Basic search term. When you want Google to find exact words in a phrase, enclose the words in quotation marks. You then see only pages that contain the words side by side. Write it like this:

    “administrative assistant jobs”

  • Don’t wants. To avoid administrative assistant jobs that include receptionist duties, tell Google by attaching a minus sign to the front of the word you want excluded. Write it like this:

    “administrative assistant jobs” -receptionist

  • Do-and-don’t wants. When you want an administrative assistant job without receptionist duties, but you want it to be in Atlanta, add Atlanta to your query. Write it like this:

    “administrative assistant job” Atlanta -receptionist

  • Want this or that. Perhaps you’ve had a change of mind and decided that, although you favor Atlanta, you’re also fond of Savannah. Write it like this:

    “administrative assistant job” -receptionist (Atlanta OR Savannah)

    Enclosing in parentheses the either/or part of your search tells Google to treat that part of the query separately from the other parts.

  • Fill in the blank. If you’re not sure about the best words for your query, allow Google to come to your rescue by replacing the void with the asterisk character.

    To illustrate, maybe you’re thinking that the job title “administrative assistant” is too limiting, and you’re curious what other assistant jobs are available. Instruct Google to find out with a new query using the asterisk. Write it like this:

    * assistant

    assistant *

    You must leave a space between the search term and the asterisk.

  • Expanded help. When you prefer that Google become more creative with your search, it’s easy to make your wishes known. Merely attach the tilde character (~) in front of your basic search term. Google not only delivers hits on the original query, but also brings back additional results in the neighborhood.

    Assume that you want Google to find jobs for drivers — truck drivers, taxi drivers, and chauffeurs. Write it like this:

    ~driver jobs

    Or assume that you want to see jobs for a lawyer, sometimes called an attorney. Write it like this:

    ~lawyer jobs

  • Single-site search. When you want Google to prowl through a specific website, use the action word site followed by the website you want it to search. Suppose that a job as an administrative assistant at a large Atlanta employer Bank of America is on your wish list. Write it like this:

    job “administrative assistant” -receptionist (atlanta OR savannah) site:bankofamerica.com

    Google often pays attention to the order of your search terms, so put the most important word first in long queries — in this case, job.

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