Looking at job ads? Search agents out on your favorite sites? Think that is really an effective job search?

Well, actually, no.

Many job seekers complain about never hearing back from all the resumes they have submitted to job ads.  Blasting out your resume to every possible job ad is so easy these days. It is so easy that a lot of other folks are doing the same thing. Recruiters report getting hundreds of resumes from any posting but very few good candidates.   Mid-level and more senior folks complain about the lack of interesting jobs.

Want a smarter way to find the job you want and can succeed in?

Develop your own targets list. Do the research and find those companies who need people with your skills and interests. Check them out to see if they really are a good place for you to work.  How?

1. Start with your focus.

  • What exactly do you want to do next?
  • What skills and abilities and experiences do you have to support that goal?

2. Look for companies that need the work you want to do.

There are many ways to find companies which may have jobs of interest to you.

  • Check out professional organizations in your field for lists of members.
  • Look at the many ‘best’ lists – magazines and newspapers publish the ‘best places to work’, ‘best places for mothers’, ‘fastest growing’ and so on.
  • Review job boards that are relevant to your profession for companies you may not be aware of.
  • Local economic development agencies often have lists of all the companies in the area by type of work.
  • Talk to the reference librarian at your local library and learn more about searching. Plus, most have access to information that you would otherwise have to pay for.
  • Don’t forget online searches – start simple. Example: ‘benefit consultants’ or ‘clean energy manufacturers’.

3. Once you find companies which interest you, begin a target list.

  • Research each. Check their websites for both career information and for business news.
  • Still interested? Ask your contacts for information about the company.
  • Work your online connections too – learn to search LinkedIn or other social networks you belong to for people in your target companies.

Check each target out in detail, looking for information about their culture and future prospects as well as jobs. Don’t forget to check company pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Look at all the sources you can find to assess whether a target of interest is really one with good potential for your goals.

4. When a company appears to be a good match, find a way to connect with the company.

  • Ask your network for referrals to people there.
  • Check out your social networks for links to employees and make the connection.
  • Follow your target companies on social networks.

If you can find someone who works there, ask for their assistance in understanding the company. What do they like about working there? What keeps them there? Learn about their interests and deepen the connection before you ask for a referral.

Don’t forget to modify your resume to use each targets’ keywords and values. Check out target companies recruiters too – many are quite visible on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and will be happy to connect with you.

If you cannot find a direct connection into a company, do your research to find the executives there who run the function you want to work in. Create a clear, compelling letter to that person showing what you can do for the company. And, yes, that does mean you have to have done your research and know what you offer that the target needs.


Sounds like far more work, doesn’t it?  Your career is the biggest investment you own.  Isn’t that worth the research to find a place where you can succeed and create the future you want?