Most job seekers take a reactive rather than a proactive approach to their job search. Their focus is on submitting resumes online to jobs that they see posted. This may be the easiest approach, but it is far from effective or efficient. One of the most essential components of a strategic job search plan is to have a target company list. Why is this so important? If you are not aiming to go somewhere, you will not go anywhere. The best way to differentiate yourself from the masses of job seekers, is to position yourself as the solution to the problems of your target companies. You cannot position yourself as a solution, if you do not know their problems, and you cannot know their problems if you do not do adequate research.
A couple of weeks ago, when I was at the Laguna Niguel Connectors networking meeting, someone said to me that he understood the need to research target companies, but didn’t know where to get information. The best sources for company research are informational meetings and industry conferences or associations. In addition, here is a quick list of great online resources that you can tap into for the information you need.
1) Call Companies for Information
The power of a simple phone call cannot be over estimated. In today’s era of social media, use of the phone is becoming a lost art. You can use this to find out
2) Informational Meetings – Talk, either by phone or in person with current or former employees, suppliers, vendors, distributors, competitors and industry experts.
3) Company Collateral
a) Company Web sites
b) Company Brochures
c) Annual Reports
e) Archived Webcasts and Earnings Calls
4) Industry Associations and News
5) Magazines & Newspapers
6) Professional Organizations
7) Additional Internet Resources
a) Reference USA – free access through many libraries. If you have a library card, go to the library website, check online data bases, and click Reference USA. You will be prompted to enter your library card number.
b) Mergent Online Company Data Base – same as Reference USA, is accessible through many public libraries
d) Other Social Media
e) Google Finance
f) Google Discussion Group
h) Analyst Reports
What other resources do you recommend for target company research?