For smart job seekers, Indeed is a great source of job postings – one of the largest in the world.
You can search through thousands of employer sites AND many other sources of jobs.
Besides job postings, Indeed offers a treasure trove of useful information and tools for job seekers.
Because millions of jobs are listed, you can learn about different jobs and employers: who is hiring, what job titles they call the job you want, what requirements they have for that job, etc. Note that some employers and recruiters avoid inclusion in Indeed.
Indeed is a true “job search engine,” which works by gathering (“aggregating”) job postings from many different sources, including:
- Jobs posted directly on Indeed by employers.
- Jobs posted on employer sites.
- Jobs posted on job boards.
- Jobs posted on newspaper websites and other online classifieds (excluding Craigslist).
Indeed.com throws all those job postings into a gigantic database and adds powerful searching capabilities.
Note that while Indeed is an excellent source of job postings, it does not include all of the jobs posted everywhere.
However, Indeed is one of the largest collections of job postings available. Google for jobs is another very good source (type “jobs near me” into a Google search bar to see many jobs).
How to Use Indeed to Find a Job
As you can see below, the main search page is pretty simple with sets of search criteria available in the basic search —
WHAT: job title, keyword, or/or company name
WHERE: location (city, state, zip code, or “remote”).
Searches can also be carefully refined so you find exactly what you want:
- Combine keyword, job title, and company “What” searches into a single query for specific jobs, using specific skills, for a specific company.
- Combine your “What?” search with your target location using the “Where” search box to find exactly the job you want in your preferred location, including jobs where working remotely is allowed or required.
Indeed Job Search: 7 Ways to Find Exactly “What” You Want
Do not waste your time applying for jobs on Indeed unless you are a very good fit for the job! Focus on finding the best jobs and employers for you with these search tips, but spend less than 10% of your job search time applying for jobs online.
Here’s how to search smartly:
1. Search for jobs by title.
You can tell Indeed to search only through job titles by putting title: in front of the job title in the WHAT box.
|If the title is:||In the “What” box, type:|
|A phrase||title:“entry level accountant“|
|Either / or||title:(“certified public accountant“ OR “CPA“)|
Note that there is no blank space between the title: and the query, phrases should be enclosed inside of “quotation marks,” and an either/or query should be enclosed inside a set of (parentheses) with the OR included so Indeed understands which jobs you want it to find, as above.
Test to see what works best for you. Then, for this search and others, be sure to specify the location you want in the WHERE box.
2. Search for jobs with a specific employer.
If you want to work for a specific employer (excellent idea!) and you type that employer’s name into the “What” box, your search results that include that employer’s name anywhere in the job title or job description. So, your results may contain posts from other employers whose jobs involve working with your target employer, such as sales representative and account manager jobs.
To find jobs with a specific employer, tell Indeed that you want jobs with a specific employer by adding the term “company” in front of the employer’s name.
Assuming you wanted to work for Meditech or Harvard University, your searches would look like this:
|If the company name is:||In the “What” box, type:|
|A phrase||company:“Harvard University“|
|Either / or||company:(“Harvard University“ OR “Meditech“)|
Again, no blank space between the company: and the query, phrases should be enclosed inside of “quotation marks,” and an either/or query should be enclosed inside a set of (parentheses) as above.
3. Ask Indeed to find a specific job with a specific employer.
For example, assume you have a target job and target employers (EXCELLENT!).
Combine the title and company search terms in the What query, like this:
What: company:“Harvard University” title:“assistant professor”
If either of 2 titles might work for you, put them both inside of (parentheses) with an OR between the terms, like this:
What: company:“Exxon” title:(“administrative assistant” OR “admin asst”)
Different employers often use different job titles for essentially the same job. Do your research so you search Indeed using the job title appropriate for the employer you want. Also, use the appropriate job titles in your resumes, applications, and LinkedIn profile to be found when employers search (known as “personal SEO“).
4. Have Indeed exclude something from results.
Perhaps you want a job as an administrative assistant, but you don’t want one that also requires you to be a receptionist. Simply place a minus sign (dash) before what you want excluded (but don’t put a space after the minus sign).
What: title:“administrative assistant” -receptionist
Perhaps you want to see administrative assistant jobs except for a specific employer (like your current employer and an employer you’ve heard bad things about).
Assuming your current employer is XYZ, Inc. and an employer you want to avoid is ABC, your search would look like this:
What: title: “administrative assistant” -“XYZ, Inc.” -ABC
Perhaps you want to work for a specific employer, but search results on the company name include results from a different company with a similar name.
For example, assume you are a registered nurse which is often abbreviated as “RN.” Also, assume you want to work for an employer named XYZ Hospitals. An employer with a similar name, XYZ Childrens’ Hospital, also appears in the search results, but you don’t want to work for them.
What: company: “XYZ Hospital” -Children title:(“registered nurse” OR “RN”)
Then, of course, specify the location — Where — you want.
Refine Your Search Results to Find Good Jobs
Once you’ve set up the basic search, your results will display. Depending on how generic the search, results could number in the thousands. (Test with RN in Massachusetts to see what I mean.) Luckily, at the top of the job results page, Indeed gives you many options to pare down your list.
5. Ask Indeed to find job postings of a specific age.
Indeed allows you to refine your search based on the age of the posting which is an important detail to consider.
Many studies have shown you will be most successful if you apply to new job postings, preferably within the first 3 days the job is available. The reason? Because, within the first day or two, employers may not have yet chosen the people they will interview.
Applying for a job which has been open for a couple of weeks is much more likely not to be available.
Indeed gives you two options: Sort by or Date Posted.
In the Sort by field at the very top of the job listings in the search results, click on the date option to see the most recent job postings at the top of the results.
“Relevance” (based on the employer’s location) is usually the default sort for the job listings, but not necessarily the most useful. Studies have shown you will be most successful if you apply to new job postings, preferably within the first 3 days the job is available.
The Date Posted dropdown is usually the first option at the top of the Indeed job search results page.
It lets you choose the age of the job postings in these time frames: Last 24 hours, Last 3 days, Last 7 days, and Last 14 days.
Smartest strategy: focus on jobs that are 3 days old or newer. I would start with jobs posted during the “Last 24 hours.”
The older a job posting is, the more applications have usually been received by the employer, especially during this period of high unemployment.
6. Specify the type of job you want.
The Job Type dropdown allows you to further limit your search results, assuming that type of job is available based on your search.
The options offered usually include full-time, part-time, contract, temporary, internship, or commission, based on the jobs in your search results.
If Indeed doesn’t offer you the type of job you want (from this list), then jobs of that type are not currently available. Check back another time to see if the results have changed.
7. Ask Indeed to find jobs at a specific level.
The Experience Level dropdown shows a count of the jobs available at the level for your search.
The “Downside” of Using Indeed for Job Search
To be realistic, using even a great job search site such as Indeed can have a downside. Because Indeed collects jobs from many different websites, you may encounter issues such as:
Available jobs are limited by time:
Like every other job board, the search results are only “a snapshot in time” of the jobs available (apparently) at the moment you do your search. Not every employer has jobs available when you are looking, and not every employer posts all of their jobs.
MANY other jobs are available with many other employers. Some jobs which appear to be available have been filled, but not yet closed by the employer when you do your search.
Fake jobs are everywhere, so always be on guard when “shopping” for a job online.
Because scammers are very clever and also post jobs in many different places, you may also find scam jobs posted on Indeed as you can on most job boards and even some fake employer and recruiter websites. Read Avoid Job Scams for more information.
The same job listed many times from many different sources. Usually, applying for a job on the employer’s website is the best option.
If Indeed doesn’t offer a link to the employer’s website to make your application, Google the employer’s name to find the website. The good news is that not finding the employer’s name in a Google search is probably a sign that the job is fake.
Wasting your time:
Indeed can feel like the true “happy hunting ground” for job seekers. However, less than 15% of jobs are filled through job boards while nearly 40% are filled via employee referrals.
So, spending all your job search time clicking on the “Apply” button is not a good use of your time, unless you take the time to customize your resume or application for each opportunity.
Your job search will be shorter and more successful if you focus on your network. Employers’ favorite way to hire is by employee referrals and, because only 7% of job applicants are referred by an employee, you have less real competition, too!
When appropriate (good fit for you, good employer), customize your responses to job postings so your application will be visible when the employer searches for qualified candidates in the resume database.
Other Search Options Available
As you have seen above, Indeed offers many other options for specifying exactly the job you want. Depending on the search you do, the buttons available at the top of search results will change to include options appropriate for that kind of job.
For example, if you are searching for a job which requires a license or other certification, like a Certified Public Accountant, the buttons at the top of the search results will include options like “License” and “Standards.”
Salary is one of the search options available and a very important consideration for any job, but, in general, employers are reluctant to include salary ranges for their jobs. So be aware that Indeed very likely must use salary information provided by current and former employees and not by the employer.
The Bottom Line on Using Indeed for a Job Search
Like Google, Indeed is very talented if you know how to “speak its language.” Using the tips above you can fine-tune your Indeed searches, so it finds only what you are seeking.
Leverage Indeed or your favorite job board to determine the best keywords for your LinkedIn Profile.
More About Finding Jobs
- Personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Fast Track to a New Job: An Employee Referral
- Avoid Job Scams
- Be Easy to Hire!
- Finding Jobs Via Networking
- Find Jobs by Targeting Employers
- Finding Jobs Via LinkedIn
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.
More about this author…
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