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Career Research: Search the Web Strategically

career research

How do you search the web strategically when doing career research?

First, create a list of keywords. This list is your user’s manual for career research on the Internet. It can include your interests, values, talents, and skills. For instance you might have gardening, reading, treating others kindly, excellent analyzer, manages people well. It’s not important whether the keyword is one word or a phrase. It can also describe a specific task you like to perform – event planning, database management, marketing research – as well as a particular industry you are curious about.

Sometimes the order of words in the keyword (or the actual words themselves) gets different results. For instance, if you are interested in not-for-profits, you could find information on how to form one. But if you want to learn about the not-for-profit organizations in Chicago, then being specific will get you where you want to go.

Once you have your list (and it can always be modified), devise a method for keeping track of where you’ve been on the Internet, what keywords you used, and what information you want to save and revisit. If you don’t have some sort of organizational plan, it’s easy to get lost and waste time revisiting sites you’ve already explored.

Here is one way to organize your research:

  1.   Take the list of keywords you created and put them in an Excel spreadsheet in the first column.
  1.   Next conduct a methodical online search using each of these keywords. Write the date you searched for each keyword in the next Excel column, and mark which ones were helpful versus those that were not. This helps identify those you may want to use again later.
  1.   Write down the sites you found by using your keywords that you want to revisit. Don’t go into the sites in depth yet; just scan them to decide whether they seem valid and helpful.
  1.   The final step is to revisit the sites you’ve identified as helpful; when you’re ready study each site on your list thoroughly.

Action step:  Start your list of keywords; put at least five down on paper.

Need help with your career?

Certified Career Coach Hallie Crawford is a career coach that specializes in helping professionals identify their ideal career path, navigate their transition and nurture their career. To schedule a complimentary consultation and find out more about Hallie visit