I’ve been having a play with Google Trends which basically analyses keyword searches compared to the total % of searches completed during that time.  It essentially shows the popularity of a search (or not) which is where the trends part comes into play.  What is quite useful, amusing (and geeky) is comparing search terms against each other. So in this search I compared the search terms connexions, career help, national careers service, cv writing and apprenticeship.

career search termsNot surprisingly, the search term “Connexions” has taken a gradual decline  as news filtered through of its gradual demise and decommissioning. The term “apprenticeship” appears to have been fairly stable in the UK but is also in common usage in Australia, Canada, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Interestingly the term “CV writing” has had a slow decline since 2004.  No doubt impacted by the emergence of online applications and professional networks such as Linkedin.

Having stirred my interest I had a look at some social media search terms.

social media search trendsComparing the search terms Linkedin, Twitter, Myspace, Google+, Blog allows us to see the potential adoption and popularity of social media tools as well as being able compare them against each other and their own product life cycle.  I missed the obvious (facebook) as when I included that it was so overwhelmingly popular you could barely make out the other search terms (have a go, you’ll see what I mean).  Poor old Myspace warrants a mention from its lofty heights in 2007 to obscurity in 2011.  It certainly reminds us that social media has a life span. Twitter has obviously surged from 2009 whilst Linkedin maintained slow progress (in search terms that is). Now the search terms don’t stack up against the usage terms, so have a look at these statistics here as a guide for comparison.

So how do I think Google trends can be useful in a careers work context?  I’ve given it some limited thought.  Here are my ideas so far.

1) It’s quick to compile simplistic comparisons of search terms.  So you could analyse the popularity of the search term “careers help” over the course of a year.  Perhaps spikes indicate when you could optimise a career support campaign.

2) Look at the popularity of careers related words to understand what help people are really searching for.  A simple market research exercise.

3) Choose trending topics (careers related) to write about, perhaps from a career service blog.

4) Use trending search terms (again related to careers) for SEO purposes for your careers website. Try and get more traffic.

5) Along with usage statistics, you can check website and search engine term hits of the popular social media sites.  Make sure your careers service is adopting/shifting its focus to the right technology.

I’m sure I’ve missed lots.  But hopefully it’s got you thinking.  For fun have a look at the google trends for the UK or change the setting to whichever country you are viewing from right now.  Oh, and take a look at what the world searched for most in 2013…..










Google Trends: Applications for Careers Work (and general amusement)

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