Your Favorite Boolean Strings

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I have created the above word cloud out of the “Favorite Boolean Strings” submitted by the members of our Boolean Strings Sourcer’s Network on the Ning platform.

If you are a member, you can see everyone’s “Favorite String” when looking at their profile. You can also search for members’ search strings in the Member search dialog.

Prompted by the recent “Boolean Strings Basics” webinar, I took a look at this crowd-sourced library. Here are some data and reflections .

The most common words (operators) used are:

  1. OR – mentioned 2397 times
  2. AND – 707 times
  3. inurl: – 643 times
  4. site: – 224 times
  5. intitle: – 212 times
  6. filetype: 122 times

The most common keywords:

  1. resume – 107
  2. linkedin – 198
  3. jobs – 125 (perhaps being excluded from searches)
  4. cv – 120
  5. java – 102
  6. vitae – 76 (wow!)

Here are some observations on this crowd-sourced String Library.

1) Some search syntax has changed since members had posted their Boolean Strings. For example, the tilde ~ no longer works as a special symbol on Google.

2) Some search strings do not follow the correct search syntax. Mistakes in syntax include:

  1. using AND as an operator on Google
  2. searching for the symbol @ to look for email addresses on Google
  3. using an asterisk * as a wildcard (to look for part of a word) on Google.

I’ll publish a separate post about the most common Boolean Syntax mistakes.

3) The operator OR is overused. In some rare cases, perhaps more on LinkedIn than on Google, long OR statements continue to make you productive. In many cases of Googling, they would not.

4) A good number of the Favorite Strings are copied from a template that perhaps everyone has seen at some point:

…intitle:vitae OR intitle:CV … OR inurl:vitae (etc.)

The syntax is correct… However, these search strings were useful about 10 years ago – they rarely provide anything useful these days. Why? Few people publish their online resumes outside of some social networks or sites like Many vendors, who know how recruiters search for resumes, have flooded the internet with the sites having “resume”, “CV’, and “vitae” as part of their site URLs- only to try and get you in and pay for their services. There will be another blog post about that.

So – what is your today’s favorite String? 🙂

Let us know? Please edit yoru string on the Ning profile and please share on the Forum or on our LinkedIn Boolean Group.

Hint: You can source Boolean search strings on Google by searching for something like

Google site filetype inurl OR intitle

If you “borrow” one of the strings published somewhere, just make sure they follow the current search syntax and produce useful results.


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