Siobhan, one of our Social Media Analysts at Social Media Search, recently put together this Boolean Search Cheat Sheet for a training session we ran. As it is a great introduction in to the world of sourcing, it seemed like the ideal piece to share!
Boolean is a type of search which allows users to combine keywords with the operators.
Boolean search operators are:
- AND (no need to use on Google – it is implied just by using a space)
- OR (can be written as | on Google)
- NOT (is written as the minus sign on Google)
Remember to use quotation marks for exact words/phrases e.g. ‘’chief risk officer’’.
Define: e.g. define:’’boolean search’’ – gives the explanation of a word or phrase
Related: e.g. related:sainsburysbank.co.uk – looks for similar sites/companies, but you must include the domain
Filetype: e.g. filetype:pdf – looks for files of a certain type, including doc, xls etc. Remember you can also search on Google images for CVs. An example of a string for this is:
- resume “risk management” consultant “gmail.com”
- resume iOS SDK gmail 408(408 is one of the San Francisco Bay Area phone codes) – can change it to UK phone codes etc.
It can be narrowed by selecting black & white files only. Narrow the search down to JPEG files only, for even better precision
Inurl: e.g. inurl:’’board members’’ – looks for info within the URL i.e. web address
Intitle: e.g. intitle:’’board members’’ – looks for information within the title (helpful if the web page doesn’t include /boardmembers for example.)
Asterisk e.g. ‘’project * manager’’ – fills in the blanks and gives you everything in between.
Use Google advanced search to teach yourself https://www.google.com/advanced_search – Will build the string for you
Other useful string building tools to try are:
There is also an infographic that explains it in more detail – http://www.eremedia.com/sourcecon/infographic-a-detailed-guide-to-advanced-search-operators/
E.g. site:uk.linkedin.com inurl:in OR inurl:pub -inurl:dir ”hr manager” –jobs –job
- X-ray searching works with most sites unless security protected.
- It often gives more information as you are not limited to your own network (like on LinkedIn)
- Every country has its unique code e.g. UK is uk.linkedin.com and Germany is de.linkedin.com
- If you have a basic LinkedIn profile, you can avoid viewing limitations by either: logging out of LinkedIn, or by using an incognito window.
- X-ray searching also has a semantic element. This means it shows variations of words and knows what you are intending to look for (works just like the asterisk).
e.g. site:linkedin.com manufacturing inurl:in | inurl:pub –inurl:dir (gives variations of manufacturing including production)
An X-Ray Google string would look like this:
site:xing.com/profile <job title> e.g. site:xing.com/profile ‘’project manager’’
or, for better precision, search for:
site:xing.com/profile intitle:<job title> e.g. site:xing.com/profile intitle:’’project manager’’
Myth #1. You can’t X-Ray XING for company names. The company names are seemingly hidden from viewing unless you join the network. In fact, the company name is present in the title of a XING public profile. So, to X-Ray by the company name, you can search for
site:xing.com/profile intitle:<company name> e.g. site:xing.com/profile intitle:microsoft
(Of course, it can be combined with the job title search and keyword search.)
Myth #2. You can search for locations in XING X-Ray.
That is not true. Public profiles have the locations hidden. You will get some results by including a location name in X-Raying, but the results will miss many members at that location. The results will also list some members that have the location name on their profiles for some other reason than living there.
You can only view the member location while logged-in.
This is a handy tool that will build the string for you – http://recruitmentgeek.com/tools/xing/
Other places to use Boolean search
- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+
- Specialist sites – Stack Overflow, GitHub (if looking for web developers etc)
- Global sites – Xing (German), Viadeo (French), LinkedIn (by country)
- Meeting spaces – MeetUp, Eventbrite
- Any sites where people give information – YouTube, eBay, Skype
A good website to keep up-to-date with the latest tools and tips is www.booleanstrings.com