woman sits on couch browsing on laptop for employment

Job hunting on job search engines can be both exciting and daunting. And if you’re not familiar with how to use them, you can find yourself wasting a lot of time looking at jobs that aren’t a good match for your qualifications and skillset. But these platforms are not as complicated as they first appear. All you need is a little search engine know-how.

Here are our seven steps to using job search engines effectively

1. Decide where to look.

There are a multitude of job search engines in Australia. You have major employment sites like SEEK and INDEED that post listings from all over the country, social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, and niche sites for different industries and groups, like health care or hospitality. It helps to focus your searching on the top 2 or 3 platforms that are well populated with ads for the jobs you’re looking for, and you can even download their apps onto your phone so you can search on the go.

2. Clarify your keywords.

Keywords are literally the key to finding relevant jobs openings that are suitable for you, so it’s worth spending some time figuring out what sorts of words are likely to be posted in the job descriptions of the positions you are interested in. Keep a note of these in a saved document to save you from having to type them in to the search bar every time. The more words you use in your search, the narrower your results will be, but also the more specific they will be. Start by putting in all the words relating to the kind of job you want, and then if you find there is not enough coming up, try removing some of the more specific words until you find a good pool of positions you can apply for. To identify the right keywords for you, look at job ads in your field and see which words keep cropping up.

Keywords can be across different areas of the job ad, such as the title, the seniority, skills, company, or type of work. For example:
Job title: baker, machine operator
Seniority level: junior, senior, executive, apprentice
Skills: ‘javascript’, ‘proofreading’
Type of work: full time, part-time, casual, temp
Company: Coles, Australia Post
Boolean search terms.

This quick hack will save you from typing in a keyword, only to have the search result come back with hundreds of unsuitable jobs that you have to sift through to find the ones you want. Boolean search terms are used across all website search functions, including Google. There are four simple steps to using Boolean effectively.

  • If you want to see results for two words that appear consecutively, such as a specific job title, use double quotation marks: “apprentice mechanic”. This will give you results that ONLY feature these two words together.
  • If you want to rule a word out, use the word NOT: e.g. sales NOT manager, or software developer NOT javascript.
  • If you want results that include two or more of your keywords (ie not just one or the other), use AND: copywriter AND freelance. Or copywriter AND freelance AND Melbourne.
  • And if you want to widen your search, use OR: such as hairdresser OR nail technician.

3. Use the advanced search features.

Where available, use the ‘advanced’ search option to refine your results. Usually this means you will be able to filter by city, salary, type of work, and date posted. You can then sort the results by either relevance or date posted. Play around with this, scaling up and down your search, and don’t forget to save your successful searches as you go.

4. Build your online profiles.

This is where choosing the right keywords comes into play again. When registering your CV on various job sites, make sure you are including the same sorts of keywords that would be mentioned in the job advertisement for the kind of position you are interested in finding. The more you match, the more likely it is an employer will find you when they’re searching for suitable candidates. Some platforms allow you to upload up to 10 CVs and edit them before submitting so you can tailor them to each role. Be sure to have your CV ready in both Word and PDF.

5. Save your searches.

Save your searches, set alerts for each one, and save your interested job ads. If you’re searching across multiple platforms, save all your jobs in one central file so you don’t forget what you have going on. This can save you hours of scrolling, trying to find the same post again.