Targeting companies that seem like a good match for your skills and experience and align with your values and goals could be an important step in your job search process. Identifying and researching organizations that feel like the right fit for you can be an effective and possibly more productive approach than applying for every job opening you see. Experts recommend job seekers target 10-15 companies where they want to work and can see themselves thriving.
A good starting point for creating your target list of employers is to think about your ideal job. Ask yourself what kind of work best matches your experience or your goals going forward – sales, administrative, technical support or something else? What kind of organization do you want to work for – large corporation, small business, government agency, startup or nonprofit?
What would be your preferred work environment – office, retail, warehouse?
Executive resume writer Lisa Rangel (How to Build a List of Target Companies) suggests that you think about companies that fuel your passions and hobbies. Are you a bookkeeper who has always wanted to work for an environmental non-profit? Do you love to hike and want to pursue a role with an outdoor sports equipment company? Find organizations related to your passion and see where your skills could match their needs.
Once you’ve spent some time thinking about what you’re looking for in your next job, you’re ready to build your target list of companies by conducting online research. The following can be helpful in targeting organizations on the internet:
- Jobs and recruiting website com lists Best Places to Work in the US as well as by city.
- Fortune provides company rankings using a variety of criteria, such as World’s Most Admired Companies, The Best 100 Companies to Work For, 100 Fastest-Growing Companies, etc.
- Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) offers “Best of” Lists.
- LinkedIn’s Company Search can help you locate companies by industry, location, size and many other criteria.
- Google allows you to search for “Top 100” and “Best Employer” lists for your area.
- Chambers of Commerce in your area are another good resource for finding local companies. Visit their websites and search their directories of local companies.
Though the process of building a target list of potential employers may seem time consuming, the best way to approach targeting organizations is step by step: think about what you are looking for in a job, identify the organizations that most closely match your employment goals, and then research and gather information. Once you have targeted companies that seem like the right fit for you, you are ready to find contacts within your target organizations and network with those contacts to uncover hidden job opportunities that match your skills and interests. (see Find and Make Connections Inside Your Target Companies). The sooner you target the organization that’s right for you, the sooner you‘ll find yourself working for them.