If you are looking for resources to help you find target companies for your job search, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find lists, databases and tools to help identify potential employers.
If you talk to anyone who has ever been in sales or marketing, they have prospect lists.
These lists contain company and contact information for people who MAY be interested in the product or service they are promoting. We’ll call these target companies. In your case, these target companies could potentially need your skills or expertise.
How To Begin If You Don’t Have Any Ideas?
This post won’t help you if you don’t have any thoughts or ideas on where you would like to work. Sorry. But you can read Transferring Your Skills to A New Career for help with that.
My guess is, you probably do have some idea of places you would like to work or a job or two you would be interested in. Maybe it is a company you’ve heard about in the news or have heard people rave about. This is a starting point. You have to trust in the exploration process.
Best Company Lists
This list of resources may help you discover great companies:
- Glassdoor.com’s Best Places to Work
- Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For
- Search for “Top 100” and “Best Employer” lists for your city
Let’s say you would love to work for Google because it is innovative, sounds like a good place to work and most importantly, hire people who do what you do…technical writers, for example.
Your next question should be, what companies are similar to Google or do what Google does?
Now that you have at least one company you would like to work for, go see what industry they are in.
Hoovers (only basic level information is free), Yahoo Finance and LinkedIn are just three of many resources to help you identify what industry a company falls into (sometimes there is more than one industry). I’ll continue with the Google example:
Go to the Company Search page and enter the name of a company.
And while you are here, also notice the competitors listed (these are more companies to add to your list!)
Hoovers tags Google as being in these industries: Internet Search & Navigation Services, Professional Services Sector, Advertising & Marketing Services, Media, Internet Publishing, Broadcasting & Search Portals
In the “enter symbol page” (not in the top search bar) on Yahoo Finance, type the name of the company.
Yahoo Finance categorizes Google as Internet Information Providers
And here is the competitor information from Yahoo Finance (add these to your list)
Select the “company” search option from the search bar and type the company name.
Google lists themselves on LinkedIn as Internet
People who viewed Google also viewed these companies (consider them targets too!)
Now that you know the industry and some competitors, continue to look at those industry lists for more potential companies.
Another Company Database
Now that you know what industry to research, you are ready to use it for your list building. You are looking for the names of companies that fall into the same or similar industry.
America’s Career Infonet
This free database is a tad bit cumbersome, but usually provides good information when you finally get it. Start your search at the Employer Locator page. Follow the steps until you reach a list of company names.
Your Local Library
There are lots of research tools out there, but if you are not a researcher by nature, I suggest you go to your library and ask for help researching companies within a specific industry. Libraries also have access to databases you may not, such as ReferenceUSA. Remember, librarians have a degree in research, do you?
Here are some other list resources for you to check out:
- Your local Chamber of Commerce
- Directory of Professional and Industry Associations from Job-Hunt. (Use these member directories by adding companies who are members. It is that simple, really!)
How to Find Out About Small Companies
There is a growing trend, smaller companies are doing a bulk of the hiring. The thing is, smaller companies are harder to find. They don’t have the marketing budget, they don’t have the employee network, they are running lean and mean. So how do you find out about them? Here are places to check:
- Recipients of Venture Capital funding.
- Members of Chambers of Commerce
- Professional associations
- Local economic development site
If you really want to work for a small employer, I suggest you search all these resources. Plus, check your local newspaper regularly.
Use the Power of Google
Set up Google Alerts to increase your odds of finding out about new companies. Susan Joyce of Job-Hunt.org recently published a post on setting up Google Alerts!
DO NOT ELIMINATE COMPANIES YET
Hopefully, you will have many companies on your list and that’s ok. Actually, it is better to have more than not enough. Focus on the top 10 first and then begin learning more about the others. But, before you take a company off your list, have a reason for taking it off your list.
Put It In Writing
List all the company names on a spreadsheet or even better on your marketing plan.
Don’t Go Away…You’re not done yet!
Your next step is to find the names of people within target companies.