Time-Saving Tips to Help Discover Your Next Cleared Job

Posted by Ashley Jones
cleared job search

With thousands of cleared openings at the tip of your cursor, ClearedJobs.Net offers both a blessing and a curse. The opportunities are endless—and that’s the challenge right there. Who has time to sort through tens of thousands of roles? If you don’t have the right strategy in hand, you’ll be wasting valuable time in your cleared job search.

Luckily, we have all the tips and tricks you’ll need to confidently say “challenge accepted” next time you hit the search bar. Find out how our job board works and the best ways to make it work for you.

OTS, ATS…What’s That?

While you don’t need to understand how an engine works to drive a car, it’s interesting to know a little about what’s going on under the hood. When it comes to applying for jobs, you’ve likely heard the term Applicant Tracking System (ATS). That’s the technology that employers use to collect candidate info and manage their hiring process.

Good for them, right? Well not to worry, we have some tech to help out on your side of the table too. It’s something we like to call the Opportunity Tracking System (OTS) here on ClearedJobs.Net.

Get ready to gas up the OTS and drive full speed ahead into more effective searches on ClearedJobs.Net with tips to incorporate Boolean search strings, clearance and location filters, job agents, and more.

Power Your Searches with Boolean

Boolean search can singlehandedly change your job search game. It’s the premium fuel of search techniques, propelling your job search forward with maximum efficiency.

Have you ever put a phrase in quotation marks to get more precise results? If so, you’ve used Boolean, maybe without realizing it. Putting a keyword phrase inside quotation marks is a great way to get started with Boolean.

When you search for jobs using a basic term like project manager for example, the system will pull up every job with the word project or manager anywhere in the description. Typing “project manager” in quotation marks however will only pull up job descriptions that have those words, in that order.

Running a search for project manager today pulls up 2,275 jobs. However, searching for “project manager” only pulls up 651. Something as simple as adding a couple quotation marks just reduced your results by over 70% in a matter of seconds. That’s 70% less irrelevant jobs you would have to sort through to get to what you’re actually looking for. But wait, there’s more!

Example Search Strings

Using quotes as described above is just the tip of the ice berg. Boolean can help you narrow and widen your search. Using the Boolean operator OR can help you cast a wider net.

Often organizations will substitute the term “program manager” for “project manager”. So using the search string “project manager” OR “program manager” will return job postings with either phrase.

The string “project manager” OR “program manager” OR “program analyst” OR “project analyst” is even better. The more you know about your career field the better you’ll be at crafting search strings.

In addition to quotation marks and the OR operator, you can also use NOT and AND in your search strings. For example, use:

  • “java developer” AND unix for results that contain the phrase java developer and the word unix.
  • “java developer” AND (unix OR linux) for results that contain the phrase “java developer” and the words unix or linux.
  • “java developer” AND (unix OR linux) NOT mysql for results that contain the phrase “java developer” and the words unix or linux, but not the word mysql.

Start Wide Then Get Narrow

Say you start by entering “project manager” OR “program manager” OR “program analyst” OR “project analyst” into the search bar on the advanced job search page. That search may return nearly a thousand jobs – too many to manage.

Go back to the advanced search fields and you can narrow your search results down by selecting clearance levels and locations.

Clearance Filters

Remember to select clearance levels that you’re eligible to work in – not just your current clearance level. If you have a Top Secret, but would also work in a job that only requires a Secret clearance, select both choices.

Take note if you have a polygraph that some contracts don’t allow the company to specify which type of polygraph the position requires. That’s why we have a security clearance option called Top Secret / SCI + Poly. Be sure to select that if you’ve got a polygraph.

Some contracts don’t allow any type of clearance level to be advertised. To check out those positions select Security Clearance Required.

Location Filters

As for location, you can easily check boxes by the country and/or state. However, when a hiring manager or recruiter writes a job posting, sometimes they may have confusing choices when stating the job location.

If the position is in the DC metro area, do they use that as the city? Washington, DC? National Capital Region? The name of the base? Full base name or a variant such as Bolling? Lots of options there. That’s why your best bet is to use a centrally located Zip Code, and do a radius search around that Zip Code.

Additional Filters

Now you’ve made it down to a very manageable number of jobs. You can further narrow your choices by Job Title or by Company on the search results page, but be careful not to over filter. While it may be tempting to click a box in every category, it rarely leads to success.

Start with the broad keyword search strings. Use lots of OR connections and not so many AND connections at first. If your search returns jobs in the thousands, then begin adding other filters.

It’s also important to realize the search function does exactly what you tell it to do, no more, no less. The way you describe your skills and the way an employer describes their needs have to match up perfectly for the system to return a hit. A single typo can be the difference between seeing hundreds of jobs and zero.

Put Job Agents to Work for You

Once you’ve crafted a Boolean search string with just the right filter pairing, you may feel like jumping for joy. But the thought of figuring out that perfect combination again next week may put a damper on your excitement.

You can resume your celebration, because we’ve got you covered with job agents. Job agents are saved searches that check every day for new jobs posted to ClearedJobs.Net that meet your search criteria. Once you set them up, you’ll be emailed any new positions that meet your criteria – it’s that easy!

At the top of your search results, simply enter your email address and click “save” to create a job agent from your search parameters.

You can also view and add new job agents via your job seeker dashboard when you’re logged in to ClearedJobs.Net. When you create a job agent this way, you can also set a salary range and select whether you want to be emailed daily, weekly, or monthly.

It’s a great way to make sure you don’t lose out on an opportunity just because you haven’t had the time to search in a few days.

Whether you need assistance setting up an effective Boolean search string or creating a job agent, we’re happy to help. Search our blog for more helpful cleared job search tips or contact customer service with your specific questions. Good luck!


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 2:44 pm

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