Complex search queries have their place, to be sure. But so, too, do the advanced search features of Alta Vista . Take a moment to think about what you’re looking for. If you’re after the passive candidate, he or she is often already employed. Through lots of searching you might find an employee directory of a company (or 2 or 3). But, there’s also an easier way. Employed people are often called “personnel” or “staff” or “workers” depending on the HR department. So, start there. Think creatively. Try a search for “title:personnel.” On the first page alone, you’ll see personnel listings from ACVS Personnel– complete with name, email and job function. Overduin Labs and Walworth Labs, also found on the first page, each provide names of biochemists and additional links. On the next page, there’s a link to finance personnel. Okay. This is good for those of us who are curious, but it’s not an incredibly effective use of time since it could take ages to find personnel files in the industry we need. So narrow it down a bit. Maybe you want to do some cold calling for computer people but need to add to your database first. Consider a search for “title:phone directory AND computer.” The first page of Alta Vista returns links to the Navy, computer technicians, computer trainers, and a couple of universities and large health care organizations. A search for “title:contractor +sap -submit -add -post” brings up a veritable host of independent workers, contact info, experience and more. You get the idea. Creative thinking isn’t always easy. It requires looking at something from a fresh perspective. Make a list of the common words that describe what you’re looking for. Then list any similar words next to them. Use a thesaurus if you want. Then, try word association to trigger new ideas. There are millions of pages on the Web. Not all are indexed high in the search engines. Not all are designed so that spiders find them and catalogue them in logical ways. So, think differently. Practice creative searching.
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