Target Employers for a Successful Job Search

Posted by Patra Frame

Whether you feel blocked at work or fear a contract loss, you’ve decided it’s time to start looking for a new job. As part of the process of marketing yourself successfully you know you need to update your resume your elevator pitch. But it’s also critical to develop a list of target employers — places you’d like to work.

This is true for everyone, but especially important for those who are more mature (yes that’s over about 35 these days), those who are trying to change careers, or those who have a lot of competition in their profession.

How do you find the job you want — and the job you can succeed in? Think about the companies you already know of to start to develop your own targets list. Do the research and find a wide range of companies who need people with your skills and interests. Check them out online and via your network to see if they really are a good place for you to work. Then target and network your way in to opportunities with those companies.


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. There are national lists of best places for veterans too.
  • Look for companies you may not be aware of. Most have heard of Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman, but there are many smaller excellent cleared companies as well.
  • 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. Examples: ‘information security companies’ or ‘physical security companies’.

3> Once you begin to find companies which interest you, make a target list. Research each. Check their websites for both career information and for business news. Still interested? Ask your network 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> Once you have begun to identify target companies which are 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 than just answering job postings, doesn’t it? But then this is just a big, long-term investment in your future. Is that worth the research to find a place where you can succeed and create the future you want?

Patra FramePatra Frame is ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Consultant. She is an experienced human resources executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is an Air Force veteran and charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Follow Patra on Twitter @2Patra.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 07, 2016 10:43 am

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