Online job banks and job search databases use keywords to catalogue and sort the wide variety of jobs posted by employers so that they are easily searchable by job seekers like you. To find jobs that match your skills and experience, you need to input keywords similar those used in the database. The problem is, not all databases use the same keywords. So how do you figure out which keywords will bring up the job postings you’re looking for?
What Is a Keyword?
A keyword is a word or short phrase that precisely describes what you’re looking for information about. In the case of a job search database, a keyword or keyword phrase might include a job title, industry description, employer name and/or location in which you’d like to work.
Many job search sites, including BCJobs.ca, offer a pre-populated category list from which you can choose the industry you’re focusing on. Then you can enter more specific keywords that describe a particular job within that industry. For example, you could select the category Arts-Entertainment-Media, and then input the keyword “Journalist” to bring up postings within the Arts-Entertainment-Media that include the word “Journalist”. To be even more specific, enter a keyword phrase such as “sports journalist” or “newspaper journalist”.
If your first choice keyword or keyword phrase doesn’t return the perfect job posting, try using some variations. For example, for “journalist”, try variations like “writer”, “editor”, “communications specialist”, etc.
Further, if your area of expertise is applicable to a wide range of industries, as with experience in “customer support” or “project management”, be sure to specify the industry in which you’re looking for work.
To get more ideas on keyword variations, check out a list of occupational profiles, such as the one at Job Futures. This will give you all sorts of variations on your initial job title. For example, if your work experience is as a machinist, the list at Job Futures gives five different occupational titles pertaining to working with machinery:
• Machine Operators and Related Workers in Textile Processing
• Machinery and Transportation Equipment Mechanics
• Machining Tool Operators
• Machining, Metalworking, Woodworking and Related Machine Operators
• Machinists and Machining and Tooling Inspectors
Use the Advanced Search Function
Finally, if you still can’t find what you’re looking for with a simple search, see if the site has an Advanced Search function. These generally give you the ability to input additional information that will help to either narrow down or broaden the results. See if the site has a help guide to searching with keywords and read it carefully. Some sites will require the use of quotation marks, commas or other keyword separators in order to return optimal results.