Great opportunities will be hiding in that list, waiting to be discovered. Companies may be needing a new team member, and they may not have advertised the opening yet. They may never need to, if they talk to you first!
You’ll need a long enough list of companies to ensure there will be good jobs opening up in the near future, but not so long a list that it’s impossible to work with. For many job seekers, a list of 40-50 is about right.
How can you compile that list? Here’s are two easy methods based on ideas from Steve Dalton, Senior Career Consultant at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and author of The 2-Hour Job Search. Both of these methods involve LinkedIn.
First, do a quick search for companies similar to your dream employer.
- Type the company name into the main search field that appears at the top of every LinkedIn page, and from there you’ll find their company page.
- On the company page, in the lower right-hand corner you’ll see “Similar pages.” The companies in this list may be good targets for you.
You may be able to use a similar technique on other social media and as a Google search.
Over time, through internet research and networking conversations, you’ll prioritize the companies and probably delete some. Don’t worry about that yet. First things first: you’re brainstorming and gathering possibilities.
Side benefit: This “similar companies” research is also a great way to prepare an answer to the common interview question, “Who are our competitors?”
Did you go to college (even if you didn’t graduate)? Great, use the Alumni Method as well.
- In LinkedIn, click in the main search field, then select “people” and then “All Filters.”
- In “Schools” type in and/or select your college.
- In the “title” field, type in a job title you’d like.
- Click “search.” This shows you career paths people like you have followed and what companies they’ve worked for – companies you can add to your list.
Side benefit: You’ve just discovered some good people to network with, since you have things in common with them – including an alma mater – and they have connections at companies of interest. Invite them to connect on LinkedIn, for a start.
Now, use your list!
Start following, researching, prioritizing and networking your way into the companies on your list. You’ll be gathering valuable business intelligence and becoming known to people who can help you land your next job.
This approach can lead to a phone call like this:
“Hey, we talked a while back about that company you want to work for, XYZ Inc. Well, my friend there says there’s a position opening up. It isn’t posted yet, but I mentioned you and they’re interested in talking to you.”