Your Target List
Your target list should contain companies that could hire you. You should be looking for companies that are looking for your skill set. We are not looking for companies that are hiring, but those that are capable of hiring you at some point in the future.
This is step one of the Targeted Job Search.
Let’s cover six sources to find these companies.
1 – Your Friends
This might seem obvious, but you should talk to your friends about where they work and whether they know of companies that hire people like yourself.
This may seem obvious but you will be surprised at how few people actually approach their friends for their opinions. You should ask friends who have different kinds of jobs than you and/or are in different industries.
Your friends are also referred to as strong ties.
2 – Weak Ties
The concept of weak ties comes from Johns Hopkins sociologist Mark Granovetter’s paper called, “The Strength of Weak Ties” which came to much of the world’s attention when it was referenced in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. The idea was that most of us have a network of people with whom we are weakly tied—we know each other, we are familiar with each other’s reputations, but we are not close. Granovetter’s point was that we might actually be more influenced by people with whom we have weak ties than by those with whom we have strong ties.
Your weak ties are more valuable to you than your strong ties. Why may you ask?
They know people you do not know. Your strong ties know the same people you know.
Here are some good examples:
- People you worked with 5, 10 or 15 years ago
- You service providers like chiropractors, hairdressers, accountants or repair people
- You children’s friend’s parents – Think about this one
For more on weak ties read these posts:
- Discover the Power of Weak Ties After 50
- #1 Method to Find Companies – Weak Ties
- Weak Ties versus Strong Ties in your Job Search
Weak ties can be invaluable in building your target list.
3 – Business Journal
Just about every major metropolitan area has a business journal. Here is Austin, it is the Austin Business Journal. Each week, they have a new list of companies. At the end of the year, they publish the Book of Lists. You can usually get the Book of Lists in most public libraries. Look at the best places to work and fastest growing lists. Beware that, even if a company made the best places to work list last year, that does not mean it is a great place to work. Just like with investments, past performance does not necessarily predict future results!
You may find other resources similar to the Business Journal that lists companies.
4 – LinkedIn Advanced Search
Search using LinkedIn Advanced Search for people with similar titles and certifications. For example, if you are a project manager and have a PMP certification. You would perform a search where you place “PMP” in the last name field and enter your zip code in the Postal Code field. The results would list people in your network who have PMP list in their last name field and are located near you. Make a list of companies where the people in your list work.
Perform searches using the title field. Enter variations of the title you currently have or would like to have in your next job.
Another way to look at this is to find people like you. Check out my post – Finding People Who Look, Taste and Smell Like You.
Add the companies that employ the people you find to your target list.
5 – LinkedIn Company Page
In the LinkedIn browser interface, you will find the People also viewed section in the right-hand column near the bottom of the page. It will display logos of companies that users also looked at before or after they viewed the current company page.
The image to the right is the people also viewed section for the company, Spredfast, a social media company headquartered in Austin, TX.
You will probably want to follow the bread crumbs to find other companies. You could click on “Sprinklr” and view the people also viewed section on the “Sprinklr” company page. Investigate those companies, and then select a company and keep moving along the chain. You never know what you might find.
With the exception of really large companies, you will likely find direct competitors or companies that are similar in adjacent industries.
You can learn more about finding companies using LinkedIn company pages in the post #3 Method to Find Companies – LinkedIn Company Pages
6 – Public Databases
I use a resource provided by the Austin Public Library called The A to Z Databases. This is a great resource for locating small and medium-size businesses. Check your library to see if it is available.
Another possibility is Dub and Bradstreet’s Hoovers’ website. If you have access to an outplacement service, you will likely be able to access via the service provider. You might want to start a free trial.
Your list is a working list and should contain 15-25 companies. You will never stop working on this list. This list should be updated monthly, even when you are happily employed.
Are you ready to start building your target list?
To read the rest of the Targeted Job Search series click here.
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