Boolean Searching – don’t let it scare you!


Boolean SearchingUsing the internet to search for a job is now essential.  The majority of job seekers will be well acquainted with generic job search sites, as well as ‘aggregator’ sites such as Indeed, which work by collating job adverts from multiple job boards and list them in one place. Therefore, rather than spending time going through many sites, jobseekers can perform simple searches resulting in wider results.

Customising your search

If you’ve carried out a job search on either a job board or a job aggregator site, you’ll know that you have the capacity to filter your results.  These are usually categorised by groups such as Location, Job Title Salary, etc.  However, if you want to customise your search, or look for particularly niche industries or jobs, you might need to use Boolean Searching to home in on what you’re looking for.

What is Boolean Searching?

Boolean Searching gives you the option to use very specific criteria to make your search as effective as possible for your own needs. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of Boolean Searching, it can be a bit daunting, but our points below will help you easily put your own Boolean Search into practise:

  • On some job boards when you conduct a search it will automatically search for similar key words as well – e.g. entering ‘HR’ will search for ‘Human Resources’.
  • You can also search for more than one job title at a time – separate each title with a comma.
  • Keyword searching finds words and phrases contained within a job's title and description. To run a more detailed keyword search, you can use the following rules to build your search:

                -              AND means that all words or phrases must be in the job     title or description, e.g. if you are looking for a HR role that requires CIPD, type in ‘HR AND CIPD’.

                -              OR means that at least one word or phrase must be in the job title or description, e.g. if you are looking for an HR or personnel role, type in ‘HR OR personnel’.  This is particularly helpful when searching for words, terms or phrases that are similar in meaning.

                -              NOT means that the word or phrase must not be in the job title or description, e.g. if  you are looking for a PA role that’s not in the finance sector, type in ‘PA NOT finance’.

                -              " " is used to indicate that you want to search for a phrase, rather than individual words, e.g. "HR Manager".

                -              ( ) are used to define the order in which you wish to search, e.g.  if you are looking for a Finance Director role that required ACCA, type in ‘(Finance director) AND (ACCA)’.

                -              * means that at least one word in the job title or description must contain the  keyword, e.g. ‘Admin*’ will find jobs with words containing Admin (administrator, administrative etc.)

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you, please call 0800 612 2011 or email

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