How To Find Target Companies For Your Job Search

You’ve come to the right place if you are looking for tools that will help you find potential employers for your job applications. There are many databases, lists and tools to help you locate potential employers.

It is essential to be proactive in your job search. Have a strategy.

Your job search strategy should not limit yourself to applying for hundreds of job openings.

Learn how to compile a list with the top employers that will help you in your job search.

Anyone who has ever worked as a salesperson will tell you that prospects are either leaders or lists.

These lists include the name of the company and contact information of anyone who might be interested in the product or service being promoted.

This is why you need a prospect list of potential companies. Your knowledge and experience may be required by the companies you are trying to target.

What should you do if you’re not sure what to do?

If you don’t have any suggestions or ideas about what you want to do next time, this article won’t be of any assistance. I am sorry. For help, however, please see How to transfer your skills into a new job.

You probably have some ideas about places you would prefer to work or opportunities you would like to exploit.

Perhaps you have heard of a company or seen people enthusiastic about it in the news. This is a great place to start. Trust the scanning process.

Consider the companies that you sponsor. Imagine working for these companies.

Best Companies Lists

The following sources keep their lists of the “best workplaces” and “best employers to work for updated each year. Use these lists to get started.

  •’s Best Workplaces
  • Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For
  • Search for “Top 100” or “Best Employer” lists in your local area.

Step 1.

Look through the list and select 3 companies you find interesting. Download the written report.

Step 2.

What does the list of companies you chose have in common?

  • Industry
  • The number of employees
  • Geographic location

Step 3.

Look for other companies that have similar characteristics. How many? It’s up to you. You should generally have at least fifty companies in your list. You can use the following tools and databases to find additional companies.

I will give you an example to illustrate the possible actions you can take to increase your target companies.

Google is a great place to work if you love innovation and you believe you would enjoy it.

Next, ask yourself if there are any companies that do what Google does.


There are three databases that provide information about companies that are free of charge. You can assume that similar businesses have a commonality.

Yahoo/D&B (only the basic information is free), Yahoo Finance, and LinkedIn can all help you locate competitors or look up companies by industry.

I’ll continue to use this Google example:


Go to the Company Search page, and type the name of your company.

Take note of any competitors while you look around. These are businesses that you should include in your wishlist! )

Hoovers classifies Google as being in the following industries: Internet Search & Navigation Services, Professional Services Sector, Advertising & Marketing Services, Media, Internet Publishing, Broadcasting & Search Portals

These industries are ones you might be interested to research and find additional companies.

YAHOO Finance

Enter the name of your business on Yahoo Finance’s “enter symbol” page.

Yahoo Finance classifies Google as Internet Information Providers

This is information from Yahoo Finance about competitors (add them to your list).

More Company Databases

If your industry and sector are clear, you can use that information in your list-building. Search for names of businesses in the same or similar field.

CareerOneStop Business Finder

Once you have the database, it could be very useful. Start your search by going to the Business Finder page.

Enter your business name, the industry or job title or select a zip code.

Local Library Databases The Local Library has Databases

There are many research tools out there, but if you don’t have the time or desire to be a natural researcher, I suggest asking your local library for assistance in finding firms within a particular field.

The Library also provides access to databases that you don’t have, such as Reference Solutions (previously known as ReferenceUSA). You can also access the database from your home.

Remember, librarians have degrees in research, don’t you?

Directories and Lists

These are other sources you might consider:

  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Professional and Industry Associations
    Find out which businesses sponsor events or offer demonstrations.

Alumni Databases

You can find the alumni page of your school or college on LinkedIn. This article will explain how LinkedIn’s alumni pages work.

Find out More about Small Businesses

As small businesses become more popular, they are hiring more people.

  • Venture Capital funding recipients.
  • Members of Chambers of Commerce
  • Professional associations
  • Local Economic Development Site

Looking for a job in a small business? I suggest you check these sites

Use Google’s Power of Google

Google can search companies such as:

“Best Marketing Companies In Detroit Michigan”

To increase your chances of getting information about new businesses, you can also set up Google Alerts. Susan Joyce from has written a blog post on how to set up Google Alerts.

Talk with people you know

Friends & Family

Friends and family could love their employer. Instead of asking if they are looking to hire, you should ask if they are happy at work.

Service Providers

Service providers (hairdressers accountants hairdressers, financial advisors mechanics, financial planners etc.) could also be asked to help you find businesses in your area.

“Have any tech companies been operating in the region?” 

Past Co-Workers/Colleagues

Some people you worked alongside might have moved to another business. Ask them the same question:

“Have any of you heard about tech companies that have made huge strides in the past? 


Customers, suppliers, vendors and customers from the past are also in the pulse of the events in your field. Talk to them about the companies that they’re following.


You may find many lists when you search these lists and databases. That’s great.

It is actually better to have more businesses than too few. Focus on the top 10 companies first. Do your research to find the names of people you would like to speak to. Do not stop there. Continue to research the other companies. You should conduct a thorough search. You don’t want miss any opportunities.

Before you remove a company from your wish list, however, you need to have good reasons. It doesn’t matter if someone says they don’t like the company or that there are negative reviews. Continue to look at each company until your data is reliable. Or, even better, get interviewed.

Write it down

Create a list of names for your company in a spreadsheet, or better, to use them in your marketing strategy

Use the spreadsheet to help you remember these things:

  • Contacts you know about at each business
  • We want to meet at every business
  • Career page link
  • Your job application and status

Start researching the top 10 companies on your list. Next, you will need to talk with employees.

Don’t Go Away… You’re not done yet!

It’s not enough to look at their job opportunities.

Next, identify people with whom you could meet within each of the 10 companies.

You must first find out the names and connections of people within the target business.

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