Help with Job Searches
at ContractJobHunter

There are several options associated with the job search engine, allowing a search to be either simple or complex. The following sections will explain each of the available options:

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Specifying Search Keywords

The one required piece of data for a job search is the list of words that you want to match against the jobs posted in the database. The simplest way to perform a search is to type the words that interest you into the "Keywords" field of the form and click the "Search!" button under the "Keywords" label. The default behaviour of the search engine is to match every listing which matches every one of the words you supply.

As an example, suppose there are three listings; one is "Tech Writer", another is "Technical Illustrator/Writer", and the last is "Technical Illustrator". If you enter the keywords "tech writer", then the search engine will return the first two listings. It first does a partial word match on each of your keywords. Since "tech" is in both "Tech" and "Technical", all three listings match that part of your search. Next it looks at your other keyword, "writer", performing a "logical and". This simply means that it looks for records that match "tech" AND match "writer". This allows it to return only jobs that match the keywords you have specified.

Using Qualifiers

Sometimes you want to be more specific in your job search. You may be a software programmer who is interested in a particular set of languages or operating environments. You can "zero in" on the type of listing that you are interested in using the special boolean qualifiers AND, OR, and NOT. These work as follows:

  • AND - Joins two words in a search so that both are required for a match. The keywords "c++ and ood" will match only records that contain both "c++" and "ood" somewhere in the job description.
  • OR - Joins two words in a search so that either is required for a match. The keywords "c++ or ood" will match any listing that that has either of "c++" or "ood" in the job description.
  • NOT - Specifies that only listing that DON'T have the keyword will match. Thus, "c++ not ood" will match any record that has "c++" that also does not have "ood" in the description. This is often useful in qualifying words that can appear as parts of other words: for instance, "asic not basic" to distinguish ASIC design jobs from BASIC-language programming jobs. Note: You must use whole-word-matching (described below) in order for the NOT keyword to work properly.

The AND/OR/NOT keywords make it possible to include some matches while excluding others. In addition to the boolean qualifiers, you may also use parentheses to group keywords. A complex search might look like this:

software and (c++ or ada) and real-time

This search will match any listing that has both "software" and "real-time" along with one of either "c++" or "ada".

It is a good idea to use the boolean qualifiers to match for different versions of a keyword. For instance, it is common to abbreviate the word "Software" as "SW". A search for fortran software jobs might register more matches if coded as "(software or sw) and fortran" instead of "software and fortran".

Partial and Whole Word Matching

Under the keyword field on the job search form is a radio button. One setting is labelled "Partial Word Match" and the other is labelled "Whole Word Match". The default action is partial word matching, where each word will also match listings that contain the given keyword as part of a larger word. This is useful in the cases where one recruiter inputs a listing as "Tech Writer" while another recruiter inputs a similar listing as "Technical Writer". However, as in the "asic not basic" example above, there are times when you might prefer to match the whole word. The C programming language is a case in point. Whole word matching ensures that you only get listings where the C is set off by itself rather than matching every word that has a letter C in it. In general, you will want to leave the setting at "Partial Word Match" in order to get the most matches from your keywords.

There is one exception to the "a keyword is required" rule: If you specify a company (see Specifying a list of Staffing Firms to Search) then you can leave the Keywords field blank to find all of that firm's jobs in the database.

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Specifying Earliest Input Date

Every job listing includes the date that the listing was first input into the database. This allows you to limit your search to just those postings that have been added or updated since a date that you specify. If you leave the date field blank then the search engine matches against every record regardless of input date.

The date should be input as month/day/year. The year can be either two-digit or four-digit, so "1/4/98" and "01/04/1999" both work equally as well. The date of each listing will be compared to the date that you specify. The search engine will only display listings whose input date matches or exceeds the date you entered.

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Specifying a list of Staffing Firms to Search

It may be the case that you prefer working for certain contract firms over others. Listing the names in this field will limit the search to listings from firms matching the specified names. You can also exclude a firm from a search by listing them in this field with the NOT keyword. If you leave this field blank then the search engine will match against all firms in the database.


Specifying States to Search

It is often the case that you will be interested in jobs that are located in a particular state in the U.S. You can limit the search to a list of states by entering the two letter mail abbreviation of each state, separated by a space. For example, if you were interested in just the West Coast, you might enter "wa ca ore" as your state list. If you leave the states field blank then the search engine will match against every record regardless of the state.

Please Note: In order to allow the OR keyword in the state field, we make a special exception for the state of Oregon. To match Oregon, use the code ORE instead of the code OR.

The NOT keyword is recognized in the state field. This allows you to disallow certain states if you'd rather not work there. For instance, a search for "c++ real time" with states set to "not ca" will find all of the real-time c++ jobs except those located in California.

Note: Many jobs are listed with only a region for the location, such as "Midwest" or "Nationwide". (See the region section for a listing of which states are in which regions.) A regional job is listed in every state for that region. If you wish to include regional listings (which may be in your state, or nearby) in your search,check the box labelled "Include regional listings" before submitting your job search. If this box is not checked, then the search engine will only consider jobs that are specifically listed as being in the specified state(s).

For your reference, here is a list of states (on the left of each column) and their corresponding two-letter codes (on the right of each column):

StateCode
Alabama--AL
Alaska--AK
Arizona--AZ
Arkansas--AR
California--CA
Colorado--CO
Connecticut--CT
Delaware--DE
District Of Columbia--DC
Florida--FL
Georgia--GA
Hawaii--HI
Idaho--ID
Illinois--IL
Indiana--IN
Iowa--IA
Kansas--KS
Kentucky--KY
Louisiana--LA
Maine--ME
Maryland--MD
Massachusetts--MA
Michigan--MI
Minnesota--MN
Mississippi--MS
Missouri--MO
StateCode
Montana--MT
Nebraska--NE
Nevada--NV
New Hampshire--NH
New Jersey--NJ
New Mexico--NM
New York--NY
North Carolina--NC
North Dakota--ND
Ohio--OH
Oklahoma--OK
Oregon--OR
Pennsylvania--PA
Puerto Rico--PR
Rhode Island--RI
South Carolina--SC
South Dakota--SD
Tennessee--TN
Texas--TX
Utah--UT
Vermont--VT
Virginia--VA
Washington--WA
West Virginia--WV
Wisconsin--WI
Wyoming--WY
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Specifying a List of Regions

Another way to search by job location is to list a region in the U.S. that you want to work in. Enter one or more two-letter region codes separated by spaces. To search only non-U.S. jobs, use the special region code "FO" (for foreign). The search engine will match only jobs whose location is listed in the appropriate regions. If the region field is left blank then all regions are searched.

The NOT keyword is recognized in the region field. This allows you to exclude certain areas from your search if you don't want to work in those regions. For example, a search for "mechanical engineer" with region set to "not se" will match any Mechanical Engineer job that is not listed in the southeast region of the U.S.

Note: Many jobs are listed as "Nationwide". If you wish to limit your search to jobs listed in a specific area, you can set state and region both to "not US" to exclude "Nationwide" job listings.

For your convenience, there follows a list of the acceptable region codes and the states within each region:

RegionCodeStates
Northwest NW AK:ID:MT:ORE:WA:WY
Northeast NE CT:DE:MA:MD:ME:NH:NJ:NY:PA:RI:VT
Southwest SW AZ:CA:CO:HI:NM:NV:UT
Southeast SE AL:FL:GA:KY:MS:NC:SC:TN:WV:VA
South Central SC AR:LA:OK:TX
West Coast WC CA:ORE:WA
East Coast EC CT:DE:FL:GA:MA:MD:ME:NC:NJ:RI:SC:VA
Midwest MW IA:IL:IN:KS:MI:MN:MO:ND:NE:OH:SD:WI
Non-U.S. FO All Locations Outside the U.S.
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Specifying A Country

If you are interested in jobs outside the U.S., enter the countries that you want to search, separated by spaces. The search engine will only match jobs that are located in the countries that you have specified. Most job listings in the database are U.S. jobs, so it is a good idea to be somewhat general in your choice of keywords when searching foreign locations.

Note: You can match against every foreign job in the database by setting the Region field to "FO" and leaving the country field blank.

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