How to target top employers in your job search

Posted by Amanda Augustine

April 01, 2014 @ 02:03 PM

Land a job with the right employer by building a strong target company list.

Target_Company_List_iPadEven when you start your job search with a very strong “in” at an organization, landing a new job will likely require you to pursue multiple job opportunities at the same time. In fact, I recommend that job seekers continue pursuing new job leads even as they’re entering the final interview round of another opportunity. To help you streamline this process and ensure you land a job with the right company, I encourage you to develop a target company list based upon your job goals.

Below are tips on how to research and vet prospective employers as you build a strong target company list.

  1. Never discount a good, old-fashioned Google search. With a few key strokes you can identify companies that align with your core values, such as the importance of work-life balance or innovation. Visit sites like The Muse to peruse the companies they profile – this is a great way to get an inside look at an organization and get a sense of what it’s like to work there.
  2. Set up Google News Alerts for your target industry and prospective employers. This way, you will learn more about the key players in the marketplace and may be able to predict when new job opening will become available. For instance, if your dream employer wins a big contract with the government or announces plans to expand its operations to another region of the country, then the company may require new employees to handle the extra business.
  3. Your network can be a powerful source of job leads and company intel. Take stock of your current network to determine if you know anyone who works, or used to work, in one of your ideal companies. Ask your contact out for an informational interview to learn more about the organization. Your connection (1) can provide you with insight into the company culture and hiring process, and (2) may be your gateway to uncovering the “hidden jobs” that never get posted online.
  4. Start following your target companies and their senior leadership through their primary social media channels. Companies often leverage their best employees to be brand ambassadors, so be on the lookout for these folks’ social media presence. These often provide job seekers with great insight into the company’s culture.
  5. Check to see if the company is planning to attend or host events – this information can often be found in the company’s Careers section or Press Room, through one of their social media channels such as the “Events” section of their Facebook page, or on a site like 10times. These events are great opportunities to meet people from the company and demonstrate that you’re genuinely interested in working at their organization.

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Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

Topics: Ask Amanda, Goal Setting