6 ways Google can boost your job search

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Building the Super Search Engine

Chances are good that you regularly use Google to search for anything and everything. However, there are several less obvious ways you can use specialized features of this ubiquitous platform to add tremendous power and sophistication to your job search.

When you understand the ins and outs of Google, you can find and analyze information, as well as make yourself more easily found by recruiters and others who seek people with your background, skills and more. You can also learn how recruiters use Google to scout out candidates for their clients. Try these techniques:

1. Take advantage of Google search. People most commonly use Google to conduct simple searches. Use basic search functions to look up specific people, companies, job openings and so on.

However, real power comes employing "AND," "OR" and "NOT" (all caps) and quotation marks in your search. When you include two or more words within quotes, Google treats them as one term. Thus, you will get different results if you search "Sales Jobs Boston" versus "sales jobs" AND Boston. To learn more about how to use these and other operators, Google "Boolean search."

Tip: When you find searches that are effective, save the URLs of the search results in a spreadsheet that you dedicate just to searches. Then you can click on the URL in your spreadsheet later and not have to recreate the same search over and over again.

2. Understand Google Custom Search to be more easily found. Google allows users to create customized search engines to search only within specific sites or for other defined criteria. For example, any large website typically incorporates a Google Custom Search function to allow visitors to search for whatever they want within the site. By the same token, people who coach recruiters on how to locate talent for their clients are often teaching them how to employ such search functionality to find online résumés with keywords formatted in Word, PDF and even PowerPoint.

Tip: In order to be found online, create a personal website, and include in it your résumé in at least one or two formats. If you're a creative type of professional, publish your gallery online. Tag items with keywords that relate to their content, how you created them, materials or processes utilized and so on.

3. Use Google Maps to plot target companies. If you have a free Google account, you can create and save custom maps with pin drops to locate all the companies of a given type. Go to google.com/mymaps to create a new map or open a saved one.

Create a search, like: "software companies near [your zip code]," and you may be amazed to find more potential employers near you than you imagined. You can refine the search and save as many maps as you like. Click on any of the pins that appear as a result of your search, and you can see the address, website and phone number of any company, along with directions for how to get there.

By keeping spreadsheets listing companies to which you have applied or target companies, you can view company locations on a map to see distance and travel time from your home. You can even import data into your map from Excel, CSV and other common spreadsheet formats. If you get stuck, search YouTube for "create custom Google maps," and many visual tutorials will appear to guide you through the process step by step.

4. Set Google Alerts to stay up to the moment with anything and everything. When you go to google.com/alerts, you can set up as many searches as you want. You'll receive an email from Google at anytime to keep track of news in your field, target companies, events to attend, postings by people you want to follow and so on. You can specify how often you are notified when results are found.

5. Stay up to date with Google News. Google's subsite, news.google.com, compiles news from sources all over the globe. When you search within Google News, you can find the latest information on newsmakers in your field, company events and financial information, new innovations and technology and anything else you can imagine.

Tip: When you keep up with events in your field and industry, you'll be well armed with things to talk about when you get to the interview stage of your job search. And if you've been unemployed for a while, you can thereby show you aren't "stale."

6. Search for yourself on Google. It's wise conduct a search for yourself to protect your online reputation and to see what others can learn about you online. Don't forget to use all the variant forms, spellings or common misspellings of your name. When you include "filetype:xls or filetype:xlsx" in your search, you may be surprised to see your name come up in a spreadsheet that lists attendees at events, such as professional conferences or college reunions.

When you are satisfied with the results, go back and create a Google Alert for your name(s) to see whenever something new about you appears online.

Happy hunting!

Arnie Fertig, MPA, is passionate about helping his Jobhuntercoach clients advance their careers by transforming frantic "I'll apply to anything" searches into focused hunts for "great fit" opportunities. He brings to each client the extensive knowledge he gained when working in HR staffing and managing his boutique recruiting firm.

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

Click through the slideshow below for more tools to help you with your job search:

7 Tools Every Job Seeker Needs
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6 ways Google can boost your job search

1. Email signature.

Your email signature is possibly one of the most important branding tools you're not taking advantage of. It’s your chance to let everyone know what your expertise is, how to contact you and where to learn more about you online. Employees are often required to add the company logo, tag line and contact information to email signatures. As job seekers, an email signature is a subtle way to remind people what you do.

Quick tips: The most important information to include is your name, phone number, email address, desired occupation and link to your LinkedIn profile. An easy solution is to use an app like WiseStamp to create and insert your signature.

(Photo: Getty)

2. Active and robust LinkedIn presence. 

LinkedIn has become a go-to source for companies of all sizes to seek out talent. While your profile will be similar to your résumé, it is not exactly the same. LinkedIn is a social network where people share information. Besides having a profile rich in content and media, you should also share newsworthy articles to help build your online reputation and stay connected with your network.

Quick tips: You must have a headshot, a headline that describes what you do and a summary where you tell your story. But don’t stop there. Embed a presentation that summarizes your experience or includes testimonials. Have you downloaded the SlideShare app for LinkedIn? What about the LinkedIn Connected or Pulse apps? ​These tools give you a better mobile LinkedIn experience.

(Photo: Getty)

3. An easily accessible, on-the-go résumé

There will be occasions when someone wants you to send your résumé ASAP or when you arrive at an interview and your résumé is MIA. Save your résumés so you can easily access them and share them from your mobile device.

Quick tip: Being able to access important documents from anywhere is critical not only in your job search, but at work, too. Learn how to save and share documents using Dropbox or Google Drive, which provide free storage and are easily accessible from any device.

(Photo: Getty)

4. Business cards. 

This may seem old-fashioned, but business cards make life easier. When you meet someone new or reconnect with an old friend, just hand him or her your card at the end of the conversation.

Quick tip: Your business card need only include the information you want to share: your name, occupation (or desired occupation), phone number, email address and links to any social media profiles, like your LinkedIn URL. If you want to use something more high-tech, try one of the apps that allows you to share your card from your phone, like CardDrop. Or pick up a business card with FullContact’s Card Reader.

(Photo: Getty)

5. Your perfected pitch.

You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Don’t blow it. You’ll need it when you meet people and they ask what you do. You’ll also need one customized for every interview you take. Your pitch conveys what problem you can solve for an employer. Use words and language to ensure your unique style and personality come through. And avoid résumé-speak or jargon that isn’t universally understood.

Quick tip: Keep your pitch under a minute, and practice so it sounds natural. If you need some guidance, check out the myPitch app created by Karalyn Brown of InterviewIQ.

(Photo: Getty)

6. Target list of potential employers.

Rather than searching job boards all day, looking for the perfect job and getting lost in the black hole of applications, why not approach people inside companies you would like to work for? This route is more work up front, but it will help you stand out and rise to the top of the referral pile if you make the cut.

Quick tip: There are tons of apps for finding posted jobs, but what you really need is additional help networking. Don’t miss Alison Doyle’s new app called Career Tool Belt. It's loaded with job hunting tips, including the 30 Days to your Dream Job series to guide you day by day.

(Photo: Getty)

7. A dose of motivation.

Job searching tends to lead to frustration. Rejection is an unfortunate part of the process. Invest time doing things that rejuvenate your energy and keep you feeling hopeful, such as exercising, volunteering or learning a new skill. Keep moving forward and create to-do lists and follow-up actions every day.

Quick tip: Whether you use a calendar system or an organizational app like Any.do, mapping out your weekly activities helps maintain momentum and puts you in the driver’s seat.

(Photo: Getty)


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