Googling for Resumes is Obsolete

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CV OR Resume

There are still many resumes on the Internet. Google is still by far the best search engine. However, Googling the world wide web for online resumes has stopped being productive for the majority of locations and industries, with few exceptions.

I’ll share some thoughts, as to why Googling for Resumes is Obsolete, shortly. Let us first look at a typical Google “Boolean String” in the style still taught in some Sourcing classes or auto-created by a “Boolean builder” system.

jquery javascript (engineer OR developer) (415 OR 650 OR “Bay Area” OR “San Francisco”) -embedded -expected -student -professor -designer -manager -scientist (filetype:pdf OR filetype:doc OR filetype:docx OR filetype:txt) (intitle:”CV” OR inurl:”CV” OR intitle:resume OR inurl:resume) -job -jobs -sample -samples -template -linkedin

In this example, I have used a “light” target keyword set – jQuery JavaScript (engineer OR developer). I have excluded some keywords (embedded, etc.) to make the search more focused. I have used some location keywords. The rest is a typical “template” search string.

Even with a search this “open-ended”, the number of results is small – and there are still plenty of false positives. We have found fewer than 100 resumes worth viewing; some of them are outdated.

(Note that the target here is Software professionals who are more likely to own websites and more comfortable posting content than many other professionals. In a search for accountants or registered nurses, chances to get any results at all would be slim.)

Compare the above Google search with these searches. (A comparison can only be approximate, of course; I am trying to look for similar target profiles):

You see? Way fewer people post resumes online on their sites, compared to ~10 years ago. Many more people post professional information on various social sites.

Here are some additional reasons why Googling for Resumes in the above “old style” is not productive.

  1. The location keywords are less precise than they used to be. Almost nobody lists zip codes on resumes (remember the Google numrange trick to look for those?). People list mobile phone numbers – so the area codes “travel” with their owners to the “wrong” locations.
  2. There are more online resumes in “document storage” type of sites (such as than on personal sites – but a Google search like the above will not find them, since the template uses the operator filetype:
  3. Sites that want to sell resume search, have learned how to best structure their pages. Searches like intitle:resume OR inurl:resume OR intitle:CV… will often show teaser pages from those sites, with no useful info. This just complicates the search by creating a need to exclude these results.
  4. A long time ago, Google was showing the first 1,000 results if there were more results than that. Now, Google often “decides” to show 200, 300, or 600 maximum. Google usually responds to very long search strings with fewer results.

It’s time to stop Googling for Resumes “old-style”. I have and will be sharing ideas and methods that do work for Sourcing on this blog and elsewhere. You can count on that.

If you feel like seriously updating your Googling Sourcing skills, I recommend coming to the Boolean Basics presentation. It is a repeat of a recent webinar, now scheduled for June 16/17, 2015, in response to multiple requests. Here are three fresh quotes from the attendees: “great presentation and learned a few new tips.” “That was very informative and really wonderfully relayed.” and “This is the most in depth lesson I have had.”

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