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How to Quickly Find the Right Jobs on Indeed.com

By Susan P. Joyce

Using Indeed.com to Find a JobUsed carefully, Indeed is a very good source of job postings, likely the largest in the world, excluding Google for Jobs.

Using this one site, you can search through many employer sites AND many other sources of jobs.

You can also find employer reviews and salary estimates, post your resume, and set up job alerts when jobs you want are posted.

Best, Indeed offers you the opportunity to learn a great deal about different jobs and employers -- who is hiring, what job titles they call the job you want, what requirements they have for that job, and much more.

A true "job search engine," Indeed gathers ("aggregates") job postings from many different sources available through a search of their job.

Jobs are also posted directly on Indeed by employers.

So, included in the Indeed database are jobs from:

  1. Jobs posted directly on Indeed.
  2. Jobs posted on employer sites.
  3. Jobs posted job boards.
  4. Jobs posted on newspaper websites and other online classifieds (excluding Craigslist).

Much as search engines operate, Indeed.com throws all those job postings into a gigantic database and adds powerful searching capabilities.

The "Downside" of Using Indeed

Because Indeed collects jobs from many different websites, from the employer's website to job boards for different industries and professions and also to the usual bigger job boards, you may encounter a couple of issues:

  •   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 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.

    Indeed offers you the option to search based on the age of the posting, and that's a very good option to choose since a job which has been open for more than a few days is likely closed or not available.

    Indeed results sorted by date, newest firstAt the very top of the job listings in Indeed's 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.
  •   Duplicate listings:  

    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.
  •   Job scams:  

    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.
  •   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.

    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.

    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.

Since nearly 40% of jobs are filled via employee referrals (vs. less than 15% filled by job boards like Indeed), your job search will be shorter and more successful if you focus on your network. Employers' favorite way to hire is by employee referrals -- you are recommended for a job by an employee.

Because only 7% of job applicants are referred by an employee, you have less real competition, too!

The "Upside" of Using Indeed

Indeed is one of the best sites to use for reseach into employers and job requirements! Who is hiring for the job you want next, what do they call the job, and what skills and experience do they require?

Knowing and using the right job titles ("Admin Assistant" vs. "Administrative Assistant"?) and job requiriements ("Microsoft Office" vs. "Microsoft Word and Excel"?) is required today. This is called personal SEO.

Indeed has been a major source of job postings for many years. Employers and job boards know about it and use it extensively, although Google for Jobs is a substantial competitor.

See which employers are hiring the job you want and notice the skills and experience they require for those job.

Indeed What -- Where search

As you can see above, 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

and

WHERE: location (city, state, zip code, or "remote").

Searches can also be carefully refined so you find exactly what you want, including jobs where working remotely is allowed or required.

Keyword, job title, and company searches, described individually below, can be combined 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.

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7 Ways to Find Exactly "What" You Want

Much like Google, Bing, and other search engines, Indeed can overwhelm you with search results, and all of those results may not be what you really wanted to find.

But, Indeed is smarter than you might think it is, and you can give it very specific instructions. In the searches below, we are assuming that you will type your preferred location in the "Where" box.

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 find :

  1. Find jobs with a specific job title.  

Again, Indeed will assume that you want all of the words anywhere in the job description, unless you tell it otherwise.

But, perhaps that's not really useful in this case because it finds the jobs that include supervising entry level employees, which is not what we want. So, we can ask Indeed to only find jobs with job titles that contain the phrase "entry level."

The fix: You can tell Indeed to search only through job titles by putting title: in front of the job title, like this:

What:   title:accountant

OR, when the job title is a phrase, use quotation marks around the words in the phrase:

What:   title:"entry level accountant"

OR, when you want an either/or result, put both terms inside of (parentheses):

What:   title:("certified public accountant" OR "CPA")

Test to see what works best for you.

  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, Indeed will show you search results that include that employer's name anywhere in the job title or job description.

For major employers, search results may contain jobs from other employers who have posted jobs which involve working with that major employer, like sales representative and account manager jobs.

The fix: Indeed can find you jobs with a specific employer if you tell it that your search is for that specific employer, like this:

What:   company:Amazon

OR, when the company name is a phrase:

What:   company:"Harvard University"

Then, Indeed will find only the jobs for that employer. Note that if the employer's name is longer than one word, you can put quotation marks around it so that Indeed knows you want it to treat those words as a phrase.

  3. Ask Indeed to find a specific job with a specific employer.  

For example, assume you have a target job and target employers (EXCELLENT!).

The Fix: you can combine the title and company search terms in the What query, like this:

What:   company:"CVS health" title:"pharmacy clerk"

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:"CVS health" title:("pharmacy clerk" OR "pharmacy intern")

Different employers often use different job titles for the same job, so do your research so you use the job title appropriate for the employer.

  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 (don't put a space after the minus sign).

Fix: Here's how to ask Indeed to find you admin assistant jobs that don't include a requirement for receptionist duties:

What:   title:"administrative assistant" -receptionist

Perhaps you want to see administrative assistant jobs except for a specific employer (like your current employer or an employer you've heard bad things about).

Fix: This is how to ask Indeed to find administrative assistant jobs, excluding those for company XYZ, Inc:

What:   title: "administrative assistant" -"XYZ, Inc."

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 nurse who wants to work for an employer named Smith Hospitals. An employer with a similar name, Smith Childrens Hospital, also appears in the search results, but you don't want to work for them.

Fix: Tell Indeed to exclude results that include that word in the employer's name:

What:   company: "Smith Hospital" -Children title:("registered nurse" OR "RN")

Then, of course, specify the location you want.

  5. Ask Indeed to find job postings of a specific age.  

Indeed results date job posted optionsAs mentioned at the top of this article, applying for the newest job postings is usually the best strategy because employers will likely not yet have had time to choose the people they will interview.

Indeed offers you the option of choosing the age of the job postings in these time frames: "Last 24 hours," "Last 3 days," "Last 7 days," and "Last 14 days."

This is usually the first option at the top of the Indeed job results page.

Smartest strategy: focus on jobs that are 3 days old or newer. I would start with jobs posted during the "Last 24 hours." If you find nothing appropriate, then select "Last 3 days."

The older a job posting is, the more applications have usually be received by the employer, especially during this period of high unemployment.

  6. Specify the type of job you want.  

If you are looking only for a full-time job (or a part-time job), Indeed can display only those jobs for you, assuming that type of job is available based on your search.

Indeed job type options - full-time, part-time, contract, commission, internship, or temporaryTo have Indeed limit the results to a specific type of job, at the top of the search results, click on the "Job Type" button and choose the option you want.

Indeed will show you the options available for that job.

Depending on the job, the options usually include full-time, part-time, contract, temporary, internship, or commission, based on the jobs in your search results. The list will be presented in descending order, depending on the quantity of each type of job available.

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.  

Indeed Experience Level OptionsFor example, assume you want an entry level job. Type your search terms (job title or keywords) into the What box.

Then, on the job results page, Indeed will offer you many options at the top of the page, including "Experience Level" with a count of the jobs available at the level for your search.

Choose the option most appropriate for you, and the job search results will be updated accordingly.

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. Note that the salary information shown for a specific job may not have been provided by the employer.

In general, employers are unfortunately reluctant to include the salary ranges for their jobs. As a result, Indeed very likely must use salaries reported by current and former employees.

Since people are paid at different levels in different locations and since the salaries reported may or may not all include bonuses and other "perks," I am a bit skeptical of the salary information provided when you click on the "Salary" box to choose your salary level.

Indeed may -- or may not -- have accurate salary information, unfortunately. So, I have not highlighted it in this article.

The Bottom Line

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.


Susan P. Joyce 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.