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How to Build Your Target Companies List Using LinkedIn

How to Build Your Target Companies List Using LinkedInA proven way to get a great job sooner is to proactively market yourself to a handpicked list of suitable employers – a target companies list – as I’ve described in my earlier post Networking with a Marketing Plan.

Great opportunities will be hiding in that list, waiting to be discovered.

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 50 may be about right.

How can you compile that list? Here’s are two easy methods described by 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.

  1. Type the company name into the main search field that appears at the top of every LinkedIn page and click the search button.
  2. In the list that appears, click the “similar” link under the company’s listing. You now see a list of companies that may be likely employers for you. Voila!

Add these companies to your target list. 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.

  1. Go into LinkedIn, change the dropdown to “people” at the main search field and click the “advanced” link to the right.
  2. Under “relationship,” add “third and everyone else” in addition to the options already checked.
  3. In the “title” field, type in a job title you’d like.
  4. In “education” add your college.
  5. 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.

See also, “More Easy Ways to Build Your Target Companies List.”

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.”

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