For job seekers in a hurry, Indeed is a gift. Using this one site, you can search through many more employer sites AND other sources of jobs than any other single site. Indeed.com shows job seekers many more jobs than they would know how to find without it.
Early in 2013, Indeed became the largest source of job postings in the world. And it hasn't stopped growing. In early 2016, Indeed is available in more than 50 countries and 28 languages, covering 94% of global GDP.
Think of Indeed as a very specialized search engine, focused only on job postings. The jobs included in the Indeed database:
Much as search engines operate, Indeed.com throws all those links to individual job postings into a gigantic database and adds powerful searching capabilities.
Indeed.com is technically called a "job aggregator."
It collects millions of jobs from tens of thousands of sources, and puts them all in one place where job seekers can search for any job they want, any where they want to work.
Each search results page offers an easy way to sign up to have Indeed search results sent to you via email.
The main search page is pretty simple with sets of search criteria available in the basic search - job title, keyword, or company name and location (city, state, and/or Zip Code).
But searches can be carefully refined so you find exactly what you want.
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.
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. Here's how:
Usually we just type a single word into the "What?" box. If we type a phrase into Indeed, but don't let Indeed know we are looking for those words side-by-side, Indeed finds all the jobs with any of those words in them -- not necessarily all of the words and not side-by-side.
The fix: Like most search engines, Indeed can also search on phrases as long as it understands that's what you want. To have Indeed find results that include your phrase, simply type your query into the "What" box, enclosed within double quotation marks, like this --
What: "Microsoft Office"
What: "part time bookkeeper"
What: "maintain confidential records"
Then, Indeed will find all the jobs with that phrase included in the job description or job title.
Again, Indeed will assume that you want all of the words anywhere in the job description, unless you tell it otherwise. For example, assume you want an entry level job. If you type the words entry and level or the phrase "entry level" into the Indeed search box, it will find all of the job descriptions containing those words somewhere in the job title or job description.
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, for a job title which is a phrase --
What: title: "entry level accountant"
Then, Indeed will find only the jobs with that word or that phrase included in the job title. Test both ways to see what works best for you.
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: Exxon
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.
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" -company:"XYZ, Inc."
Type a job title, keyword, and/or company name into this field, and Indeed will show you what's available that uses your term.
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.
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.