Finding the Keywords that matter

Finding Keywords that Matter.

This is the third post in the Writing Super Queries series.

We all want to find the magical keyword. You know, the one that will deliver perfect candidates as quick as lightning. We want qualified candidates and lots of them. But wanting and wishing doesn’t get us anywhere.

Making query’s come to life isn’t exactly a method or technique. It is more of a condition or a mindset that’s associated with the most outstanding and engaging recruiters.

Successful recruiters have ways of making keywords real.

They open the databases —bringing the candidates into the results and eliminating irrelevant profiles out.

They bring the real meaning of skills into the search string and they lead the database to provide the kinds of results they need.

There are some specific lesson to be learned from to recruiters in how they choose keywords, however. Here are some of them:

Choosing the best keywords for your search string is an art, blended with a bit of science.

Everyone who writes effective search string has similar resources, as you do: Job descriptions, keywords, databases, and / or other tools. So what is the difference?

The difference is that based on their experience, they take charge and assume control over the database results, not over what how the database works, but over their own keyword choices.

For years I’ve been paying attention to the things that affect keywords, both in databases and search engines, and made note of the techniques that work.

The secret to selecting highly effective keywords is in defining your core keywords.

“Core Keywords are the bricks or building blocks for your search strings.”

Let’s walk through a simple example that explains how we can go about selecting our core keywords.

Our search objective gave us the initial keywords. For our example we will use these three concepts as our objective: mobile platforms, application programming experience, and design methodologies. Together these should focus our keywords into iPhone Developers.

We’ll dump those into what I’ll call our core keyword bucket.

Our core keywords for mobile platforms could look like this:

Search Objective

Mobile Platforms




Application Programming Languages




Design Methodology Experience



Data Modeling


Notice that the search objectives are the headers not the words that we will search with. At this point, we could combine the keywords, using one from each column and it would express our search intent clearly. Let’s try some quick queries:

( Mobile AND J2ME AND UML )
( Android AND “Java ME” AND OOD )
( iPhone AND Objective-C AND ERD’s )

By incorporating your concepts into a table, you can create a visual image of how your keywords may overlap. Granted these search strings are not very effective but they already convey the basic message of our search objective.

Keep in mind: the keywords within each column will have to avoid duplicate concept issues, and to work well for the definition of your core concepts, which are always your primary focus.

We could easily use the table to start creating some good search strings. But we have still work to do since even keywords that define a skill correctly can bring bad results.

This makes it critical that we discover other keywords that attract the same results through different expressions. It also makes it critical that we find out how these words can throw our search off track.

Precision will come from making right keyword choices. Those choices can develop from only one thing; proper research which is based on your search objective.

We are not done yet…

The next step of the search string design process will have us developing supporting keywords.

Supporting keywords will:

  • Expand the reach of your queries
  • Create keyword images
  • Provide more search string precision

In the next post, we will discuss how to use your core keywords to develop great supporting keywords. We will use them as we build a system for keyword research to maximize our keywords.

This is part three of the Writing Super Queries series.

This post is just one part of a series talking about the steps for crafting Strong Search strings that deliver results. To get the full series, just stay tuned here at The Sourcing Corner. If you haven’t already, why not subscribe by email so you’ll be sure you don’t miss any of the posts.

Earlier posts in this series:

Introduction: Writing Powerful Queries is like making a cake. 

Step One: The search objective

Now over to you …
Did you like this post? If so, share it on your favorite social networking site!
And then tell us … what search string strategies are working well for you? We can discuss below.


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