Resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) is a spectroscopic technique that has been widely used to study various elementary excitations in correlated and other condensed matter systems. For strongly correlated materials, besides boosting the overall signal the dependence of the resonant profile on incident photon energy is still not fully understood. Previous endeavors in connecting indirect RIXS, such as Cu K-edge where scattering takes place only via the core-hole created as an intermediate state, with the charge dynamical structure factor S(q,ω) neglected complicated dependence on the intermediate state configuration. To resolve this issue, we performed an exact diagonalization study of the RIXS cross-section using the single-band Hubbard model by fully addressing the intermediate state contribution. Our results are relevant to indirect RIXS in correlated materials, such as high-Tc cuprates. We demonstrate that RIXS spectra can be reduced to S(q,ω) when there is no screening channel for the core-hole potential in the intermediate state. We also show that two-magnon excitations are highlighted at the resonant photon energy when the core-hole potential in the corresponding intermediate state is poorly screened. Our results demonstrate that different elementary excitations can be emphasized at different intermediate states, such that selecting the exact incident energy is critical when trying to capture a particular elementary excitation. © IOP Publishing and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.