Are You Searchable: The Boolean Search

Throughout my employment with my current employer, WilsonHCG, I am constantly introduced to new and interesting ways to source and recruit for quality candidates. In my past recruiting roles, I would do simple searches on job boards like Careerbuilder or Monster. But recently, I learned that there are even better ways to find candidates that possess all the qualities the job opening requires. Recruiters are now utilizing Boolean search strings to identify top candidate matches. If you are a candidate, it’s important to understand how this works so you can customize your resume for the best results.

As I have mentioned in the past, it is important for candidates to use keywords in their resumes. It is even more important for them to customize their verbiage to have the words that are either used in a particular job posting or for a specific industry. These Boolean strings can use 2 or more words or phrases to really screen out and/or hone in on candidates that have the most experience relevant to a specific job’s needs. As a candidate, here are some ideas on how to research hot keywords to place in your resume:

  • Make a list of the top companies you want to work for. Thoroughly look through several job openings relevant to your experience or interests to get an idea of how they lay out the posting and what they’re specifically looking for.
  • Research a specific industry and job postings in that industry to get a better idea of what terminology and industry-related language are used.
  • Look at job postings for a particular role you are targeting. Look through a large range of postings that different companies and/or industries use. Compile a list of the common words, phrases, and verbiage that all of these different companies and industries seem to commonly use.

Once you get a better understanding of what recruiters and companies are looking for, take a look at your resume and see how it compares. Make necessary edits and customize some of the words or phrases that seem to be predominate for a company, role, or industry you are targeting. Feel free to even make several resumes with different keywords, post it, and see what resume gets more views/hits.  Making these changes can seriously help your resume get noticed by the recruiters. For more information on how Boolean search strings are used during the recruiting process, feel free to read the following:

Why Boolean Search is such a Big Deal in Recruiting.

Boolean Search Strings are Not as Scary as you Might Think.

Photo Source and more Boolean examples.

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A New Twist on Resumes

Job seekers, are you tired of getting no response to your resume submittal? Recruiters, are you sick of looking at the same resume styles over and over again? Having been in both situations, I can honestly say I am. It’s been quite a dull experience creating my resume or having to review resumes of others. After a while, all resumes seem to blend together and it becomes hard for candidates stand out and differentiate themselves from others. Over the years, it has been beaten into our brains that a professional resume needs to follow a certain format. However, does this still hold true today?

Throughout my research, I have noticed that employers are starting to appreciate people who take a creative approach to their resumes. Candidates are finding ways to customize their resumes to show their industry and job function competency. For example, my friend who is pursuing production in the motion picture industry recently showed me his resume. It was a fun, artistic page that looked like a movie ad. It included his information, education, and links to the projects he had done. In my recruiting days, I had never seen a resume like that. It was actually quite enjoyable.

As I investigated this topic further, I came across the following cases: marketing candidates who created their resume as a brochure; broadcasting candidates who made videos or recordings of “radio hosting” as their resume; and creative writing majors who made their resume into a short story. I found these methods to be imaginative, entertaining, and a good way to display their capabilities. I would have much rather reviewed these resumes than the mundane “chronological” format.

A new extension of people’s “resumes” will be the social media aspect. Recruiters can now review candidates’ “web presence” via social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Candidates: here is another way you can make yourself shine. Make sure your profiles clearly display your experience and education for the job/industry you’re targeting. Post things that are relevant and display your up-to-date knowledge of an industry’s news. However, please note: if you make your profile pages public to employers, make sure you don’t have anything incriminating on there (i.e. embarrassing party photos, unprofessional e-mail addresses, or taboo “interests and activities”). I’m all about individualism but there has to a certain line you shouldn’t cross, especially while actively finding work.

Job Seekers, I’m in the same boat so I know how tiring it can be to keep fighting for opportunity and not find it. I urge you to take a chance and let your personality show. Find a new way to demonstrate who you are and what you can do. For example, I’m interested and experienced in human resources, technology, and writing. Those are the three industries I’m targeting but it was becoming apparent to me that I had to do something more than submit a resume via job postings…so, I did. In fact, you’re reading the version of my resume. This blog was meant to inspire, open minds, and have people consider different perspectives. I also created this to help motivate people stuck in a rut and hopefully give them ideas on a new tactic. However, this is also my personal resume. This blog will display the following to employers:

• My competency in: writing and blogging; human resources; and social media use.
• I’m up-to-date with human resources and technology trends and news.
• I understand information relevant to the industry well enough to create my own ideas from it.

I think what’s most important about creating your own resume is the fact that you can show employers more of who you are. The original formatted resume shows employers that we can do specific job functions but it doesn’t prove that we truly understand it on a deeper level. It doesn’t illustrate our passion. Sure, my resume might say I have successfully performed data entry but does that mean I want to spend 40 hours a week entering data? Additionally, we’ve created our original resumes to have specific keywords and terms that employers were looking for. If we all conform to what we think employers want to see on our resumes, it’s no wonder why our resumes blend in.

Some employers will appreciate your method and some may not. But that’s the point- finding an employer that appreciates you and vice versa. It’s time to test the waters and take that extra step to stand out against the competition. Most importantly, make sure you have fun while you’re doing it!

Links to read (I apologize, hyperlink function does not work!):
No More Resumes, Say Some Firms- WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203750404577173031991814896.html

Companies mentioned:
http://www.linkedin.com
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.twitter.com