Learn How to Master Your Job Search with Boolean Search

Learn How to Master Your Job Search with Boolean Search

In our previous article we showed you how to search for jobs effectively.

As we promised, now we'll teach you how to master it with boolean search.

Boolean search is a method of symbolic logic using AND, OR and NOT operators.

Let's get deep into it.


AND basically narrows the search and collects results that include ALL of the required words.


OR broadens your search as it shows results that include either of the requirements.


NOT also narrows the search by exclusions.

There are the elements you need:

  • Quotation marks "" to separate phrases
  • Parentheses () or [] to separate terms and give them a preference
  • Asterisk * broadens a search by finding words that start with the same letters (we won't work with this)
  • Hyphen - to use it instead of NOT
  • Plus + to use it instead of AND

How does it work?

In every search (even when you google something) you use strings (series of characters, i.e. text), but with boolean you give them a value that can be true or false.

Imagine that on a job site you search like: marketing graphic design. Your results will be quite inconsistent. But if you write "marketing" AND "graphic design", you'll get much more reasonable results. 

Why does it have a value? Because the search engine will check the "database" and all of the content that meets the requirements (marketing and graphic design) are true (relevant), others are false (irrelevant).

How to use it for job search:

As mentioned above, if you only search for a bunch of words, you're less likely to get the perfect results than using boolean search, even if you filter them according to our previous advice.

First steps:

  • Consider what your ideal job/job description should include (collecting ANDs)

If we continue with David from the previous article, you're searching for a marketing job with graphic design tasks. Furthermore, you prefer social media marketing more than anything else, so this would be ideal.

You're open-minded and have other plans in your pocket, so your second option is a junior UX design position due to your experience in graphic design.

Your keywords are: "marketing", "graphic design", "social media marketing", "UX design"

  • Figure out what you'd like to avoid (creating NOTs)

You don't want to achieve junior or trainee positions so the words you'd like avoid are:

"junior", "trainee"

  • Analyze your keywords (figuring out ORs)

Don't be afraid of this one. Analyzing just means that you should check:

a) if your keywords have any synonyms

Like for marketing manager roles the keyword "marketing specialist" can also be good. Or for recruiter roles they tend to use "talent acquisition".

b) if there are keywords that should be used separately

    If you have one specific idea about one role and there are no synonyms for it, you don't have to separate your keywords, but if you've collected several options, you have to divide them.

    In our example we definitely cannot put marketing and UX design together as these are not very similar roles.

    Creating strings

    Based on the above example, our search will be:

    ("marketing" AND "graphic design" AND "social media") OR "UX design" NOT "junior" NOT "trainee" NOT "intern"

    As you can see, it's advisable to put all the ANDs in the beginning and close it with parentheses because without it the search engine would interpret it in order, i.e. only "social media" OR "UX design" and it's not good for us as it'd contain every job with "marketing", "graphic design", and "social media" OR "UX". Not the best, huh?

    That's what we meant when we said parentheses are for giving preferences.

    Also it's better if you put all the NOTs in the end so you won't confuse yourself and unnecessarily complicate the string.

    If you want to go for only marketing manager or marketing specialist roles, your string will be:

    [("marketing manager" OR "marketing specialist") AND ("graphic design" AND "social media")] OR "UX design" NOT "junior" NOT "trainee" NOT "intern"

    You can see that squared brackets appeared. Squared brackets are supposed to close the logical line with the round brackets as it may happen without it that search engine will recognize your search as only "graphic design" and "social media" can be replaced with UX design.

    Most search engines have a limit on the number of characters, so if you've reached it, you can play a bit with hyphens. As we said, hyphens can be used instead of NOT and plus symbol can substitute AND, so your string would look like:

    ("marketing" + "graphic design" + "social media") OR "UX design" -junior -trainee -intern

    After hyphens you don't have to use quotation marks sou get 91 characters instead of 111.


    We've showed you the best practices and we can imagine that at the end of the article you're a bit overwhelmed, but you learn best by practicing.

    Start it with easy searches and when you feel a bit comfortable, you can add a little bit of spice to it.

    An extra tip: the above rules apply to all searches, so you can take advantage of them when looking for the best accommodation, for example.

    Hope we could help you and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us or Boglarka Visi.

    Good luck in your search and choose your future!

    For more content from us, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram!