How to Find Your Target Companies

You want to start applying for jobs, but you don’t know where to apply.  What is the best way to find companies to target in your job search?  Here are some great places to start:

Directories:  Directories are an ideal way to find lots of companies that are specific to an area or an industry.  The Scott’s Directory and your local Chamber of Commerce Directory are both excellent resources.  Both these tools will have businesses listed that you may have never even considered as an option.

Lists:  Magazines and trade publications love to make lists.  These lists include (but are not limited to): Companies with the most growth,  companies that are the best employers, and companies that are the most multicultural.  You can use these lists to identify hundreds of companies that you can target within your industry or your geographical area.

Industry and Professional Associations:  What type of job are you looking for?  Does your occupation have a professional association?  If so, the professional association likely has a member directory that would be an excellent source of companies that you can potentially target.  Also, if there is one (or a few) industries that you are targeting, check out the relevant industry associations.  They will also be able to provide you with a list of their member companies.

Companies that are hiring for other jobs:  Browse through the online job sites and identify the companies that have a lot of jobs listed, even if the positions are not related to your target job.  Make a list of those companies, review their websites and send them an application.  If a company is experiencing growth in one area, there is a good chance that jobs will also open up in other departments to support that growth.

Company search on LinkedIn:  With the LinkedIn company search function, you are able find companies by industry and by location.  Since LinkedIn is so accessible, you can use it to find companies that may otherwise be invisible to you.  Also through LinkedIn, you may identify a contact who has a connection with your target company.  Sometimes an inside scoop or an employee who is willing to submit an application on your behalf is enough to give you an edge over your competition.

Generally, you have to apply to fifty different companies just to secure two or three interviews.  However, sometimes it can be a challenge to find that many companies, particularly if you are limited to a specific industry or location.  In order to cast a wide enough net, you need to be creative, resourceful and you must put in the time.  It may feel overwhelming but if you work on it everyday, you will quickly find that there are a lot more opportunities than you first thought.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo from: Stuart Miles/


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