An online job search expert offers her insider tips for using Indeed.com to fine-tune your search and find the right jobs.
Whether you’ve been looking for a new job for five minutes or five months, you have one thing in common with every other job seeker on the planet: You’ve visited Indeed.com at least once.
Love it or hate it, Indeed is one of the most popular search engines for job seekers. It’s a powerful search engine with the muscle, intelligence and flexibility to help you find just about every open position out there — which can also be overwhelming and problematic, leaving you exactly where you started: Still wanting a new job, but lost as to how to find the right opportunities.
Indeed’s search results will vary from day to day or even hour to hour as new jobs open and others close. The job that was open yesterday morning may not be listed today. Of course, the reverse is also true — you found nothing in your search yesterday, but today could be your lucky day because an employer (or several of them) posted new jobs that are just up your alley.
If you don’t find that perfect-fit job today, try again later today, tomorrow, next week or next month. You can also set up an Indeed “Job Alert,” to be notified via email as soon as positions that meet your selection criteria are posted.
Basic keyword search 101
Like any other search engine, there’s an art to searching Indeed. (Click here to tweet this quote.)
Take a search for an office manager position. Type those two words into the search bar, and you’ll get jobs that contain both the words “office” and “manager” in no particular order. Some postings may have those words side-by-side or in two different places. The “manager” and “office” aspects of the job could be completely unrelated to each other.
So, results might include jobs like “Product Support Front Line Manager, New York office” or “Bookkeeper/Office Manager.” You might also get results that include the words “office” and “manager” just about anywhere in the job description.
This simple search is best used when you want to find jobs or employers requiring a specific degree (like BS or MBA), a professional designation (like CPA), a certification (like PMP) or something similarly specific that contains only one distinct word. Then the results could be useful to you regardless of where the term appeared, in the job title or in the description.
Shortcuts to narrow your search to jobs relevant to you
These search shortcuts will help you cut through the noise find exactly the positions you’re looking for. All these hacks apply only to Indeed.com’s “what” search box. Add your preferred location to the “where” box, or leave “where” empty to see what’s available across the country.
1. Enclose phrases within quotation marks
To tell Indeed to search a specific phrase, enclose the words in quotation marks.
- Are you looking for your first job or changing careers? This search will be helpful to you, no matter where the words appear in the job posting: What –“entry level”
- Do you know exactly the job you hope to land? Put that job title in quotes and search away: What –“office manager”
- Do you have amazing Microsoft Office chops to bring to the table? Use this search to find jobs that meet your skill set: What –“Microsoft Office”
2. Specify job titles
You can also search for specific job titles on Indeed. Pretty simply, too. Just add the word “title” followed by a colon: What –title: accountant
Indeed will then search only the titles of postings. Remove the title:, and the search engine will also look for those words in both the job title and the body of the job description.
3. Specify job titles that are phrases
Since there are so many different types of accountants, ask Indeed to find exactly the ones you want. For this example, let’s use tax accountant.
If the job title is a phrase, like tax accountant, combine Hack # 1 and Hack # 2 to be more specific: What –title: “tax accountant”
In this case, you’re telling Indeed you want to only see jobs with titles that include the words “tax accountant.”
4. Identify your target employers
Like specifying the job titles you want, you can also tell Indeed to find your target employers. Similar to the way you tell Indeed to find specific job titles for you, have Indeed search for jobs with a specific employer by typing in the company name.
For example, let’s say you want to work for XYZ Company. You’re curious about what job openings they have right now. To find open jobs at XYZ Company, use this query: What – company: “XYZ Company”
5. Find a specific job title at a target employer
Combine Hack # 3 and Hack # 4 to find specific job titles with a target employer. So, if you wanted to be a tax accountant for XYZ Company, your query would look like this. What –title: “tax accountant” company: “XYZ Company.”
6. Find jobs that require a specific skill set
Maybe you’re trying to figure out which jobs are best for you by exploring job titles used to describe people who have similar skills. Or maybe you just want to see jobs that require a specific skill set you have or are considering acquiring.
In this example, we’ll assume you’re curious which employers need people with social media skills. So, you would do this search: What – “social media”
7. Search specific job titles plus a skill set or industry
You know exactly the job you want, and you’re looking for that job with a specific skill set included. So, if you wanted to find executive assistant jobs in the real estate industry, you would combine a job title search with a keyword search.
That search would look like this: What –title: “executive assistant” “real estate”
8. Search specific job titles minus something you hate to do
Say you want an administrative assistant job, but you don’t want to be the receptionist, too.
To find the admin assistant jobs that exclude those with receptionist duties in the descriptions, your search would look like this: What – title: “administrative assistant” -receptionist
9. Search specific job titles at specific companies, minus something you hate to do
In this example, you’ve decided you want that administrative assistant job (without receptionist duties) at our mythical XYZ Company. Your search would look like this: What –title: “administrative assistant” -receptionist company: “Example Company”
10. Try Indeed’s “Advanced Job Search” to drill down further
To refine your search results even more, try Indeed’s Advanced Job Search. You can specify estimated salary ranges, job type (full-time, part-time, contract, internship or temporary), and other interesting options.
Susan P. Joyce is an online job search expert observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Susan is editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JobHuntOrg for more job search tips.