Keep up with the latest hiring trends!

What Jobs Keywords do Candidates Really Search for?

assume_ringAn old saying of my grandfather’s: “To assume makes an ass of u and me”. It’s wholly natural for us to assume that just because I would do something this one way, everyone else will naturally do it like this too. But, we know this is not the case. It’s why we have road signs, instruction manuals, warnings like “Contains nuts” on Snickers bars. Anyway, I digress.

As recruiters, we assume that job seekers will find our jobs. We magically believe, without testing, that by writing our job advertisement, complete with fluffy person specification and bullet pointing the main responsibilities, qualifications and skills (which often include such skills as “Forward thinking”, “Results driven” and, my personal favourite, “think outside the box”) that job seekers will find, read and apply to our job ad. We assume that by putting our job advertisement on a job board or classified’s site, that they’ll find it.

In reality, our jobs are in competition with vast numbers of other jobs online. To improve the chances of our job being read over a competitor, we should Optimise (or SEO) our job description to include keywords that job seekers actually search for – not the ones we assume they use.

So, to get over the assumptions, let’s test!

There are several tools available online that will accurately measure how often a search term is entered into search engines (Google Keyword Tool, Google Trends to name two such wonderful tools).

Here is the search trend pattern for “Jobs” (noting at point D was when Steve Jobs died). We see from this pattern that job seekers’ Googling for jobs drops off a cliff approaching December (Christmas), only to recover sharply come January (new year, new job, new me!). If you’ve been in the recruitment industry at all you’d have known this trend existed, but at least it’s proven now. We see that jobs are searched for continually over the Summer period, when most recruiters take their vacations. Bet you didn’t see the missed opportunity there!


So what keywords do job seekers use to find jobs?

We took 15 major industries and searched for up to 100 variations of these industry jobs, including specific job titles, qualifications etc. We stretched this out to a global search.

Information & Computing Technology Sector

IT Jobs Graph

Key Finding: The keyword “IT Jobs” was 71% of the entire search terms searched for jobs in the ICT Sector.

Accountancy & Finance Sector

Finance Jobs or Accounting Jobs Graph

Key Finding: Higher-level sector for Accountancy Jobs and Finance Jobs far outpaced all other variants, including “Careers”, and specific qualifications and job titles within the Finance industry.

Healthcare & Medicine Sector

Healthcare was very interesting – a massive proportion (82%) of searches for Healthcare-type jobs in Europe were dominated under one term: “NHS Jobs” (National Health Service, the UK’s public healthcare system). Stripping out the NHS search terms, we see the following:

Medical Jobs Graph

Science, Laboratory & Pharmaceutical Sector

There were some splits in how candidates search for jobs in this sector:

Science Jobs Graph

Pharmacist Jobs Graph

Pharma Jobs Graph

Sales Sector

Sales Jobs Graph

Marketing (including Advertising) Sector

Marketing and Advertising Jobs Graph

Retail Sector

Retail Jobs Graph

Journalism & Media (Broadcast, Online and Newspapers) Sector

We found that job seekers are more likely to look for “Journalism jobs”, however within the broader Media sector, we found some more highly popular job search terms too. Journalism Jobs Graph

These “Other variants” are broken down here:

Media Jobs Graph

Aerospace, Aviation & Aeronautical Sector

There are quite a number of potential careers within this sector, but the main search terms were hugely dominant – again, higher-level sector wins, with specific careers only really showing with “Flight Attendant Jobs” and “Pilot Jobs”.

Aeronatical & Aviation Jobs Graph

Engineering (Mechanical, Civil, Chemical, Nuclear & Electronic) Sector

“Engineering Jobs” by far stood out as the most popular term, but each division also stood quite strong too, search trends indicate that it’s the higher level sector that’s searched, and not specific jobs within each individual field. Searches for these individual roles were negligible.

Engineering Jobs Graph

Marine, Oil & Gas Sector

Within the Oil and Gas sector, “Oil and Gas Jobs” and “Offshore Jobs” took an equal share of the search trends, but we’ve also broken down the main terms in the other variations:

Oil and Gas Jobs Graph

Oil and Gas Jobs Graph

Legal Sector

The Legal sector’s job variations again are lengthy, but where 52% of all job searches are for either “Legal Jobs” or “Paralegal Jobs”, that’s rather clear!

Legal Jobs Graph

Agricultural (Farming, Agri-Science, Husbandry, Dairy, Food Production) Sector

Agricultural Sector Graph

Education Sector

We researched over 100 different variations of education-sector roles, including specific subjects, and the result was overwhelming:

Education Jobs Graph

Professional Services Sector

There are a host of career options within the umbrella sector of professional services, of which the vast majority (89%) had a Consultancy field to them – based on that, how do job seekers word their searches?

Professional Services Jobs Graph


Job Seekers, generally, search for jobs by looking at Top-Level Sector, and the term “Jobs” always (in our research at least) out-performs “Careers”. So, when you’re next writing a job and you want to improve your job’s findability, ensure that you title your job with the top level sector.

For example:

“District Sales Manager, London” should become “Sales Jobs: District Sales Manager, London”

Find out how the likes of IBM, IKEA and Siemens
drive hiring excellence with SocialTalent