The search bar located near the top of the screen when you sign into your Facebook account can do more than you might realize. Not only does it let you enter keywords to locate your old Facebook posts—it’s also a good way to…

Find friends who share your interests. You could search for “my friends in [your town] who like the ballet” to find an acquaintance interested in attending with you…or “my friends in [your town] who play poker” if you need an extra player for your weekly game.

Uncover professional opportunities. Search “my friends who work for [a company you would like to work for or do business with]” to find acquaintances who could help you get a foot in the door there. Or search for people in your field with whom you have something in common, such as “Queens College graduates who are CPAs.” Helpful: Entering “my friends who worked at GE” rather than “my friends who work at GE” will also list friends who have GE listed among prior ­employers.

Get recommendations from friends. You could search “dentists in New Jersey liked by my friends” or “bed and breakfasts in Vermont liked by my friends.”

Track down old posts by friends. In addition to digging through your own old posts, Facebook search lets you dig through posts written by your Facebook friends. If you would like to go apple-picking and you recall that one of your friends posted about doing so in the past, search “apple-picking posts by my friends.”

Tips for Better Searches

Use phrases. Facebook is more likely to track down what you’re looking for if you enter a complete phrase, such as “Italian restaurants in Chicago liked by my friends,” rather than individual words, such as “Italian,” “restaurant” and “friends.”

Results are divided into subcategories, such as “Posts,” “People” and “Photos.” Posts will appear first. If you are trying to find a person, place or picture, click on one of the other headings near the top of the results page. Example: If you search “my friends who like ice hockey,” the first results that appear probably will be posts related to ice hockey written by your friends. Click on the “People” tab near the top of the page to instead get a list of your Facebook friends interested in the sport.

Expand the search parameters if the first search comes up empty. If an initial Facebook search produces no useful results, try replacing “my friends who…” with “friends of my friends who…” Or expand the geographic area of the search by searching neighboring towns…or your entire state. Example: If “my friends in [your town] who like ballroom dancing” does not turn up anyone, try “friends of my friends in [your state] who like ballroom dancing.”

Add search criteria to cull long lists. You can combine multiple factors to locate people with whom you have a lot in common. Examples: You could search “friends of my friends who like knitting and yoga.”

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