This guest post was written by Tricia Dowd, a Career Development Assistant at NU Career Development, and a recent graduate from Northeastern’s Higher Education Administration program where she earned her Master’s degree this past September.
One of my favorite exercises to use in job search workshops is asking students to take two minutes to write down as many companies that they would want to work for as they can think of. Usually students excitedly scribble down a couple names and get stumped; occasionally, I’ll have a student who can name more than five. So when I tell them that their ideal target list should include 20–30 different employers, most of them get a panicked look. Creating a target list can definitely be overwhelming at first, but it is an important first step of any job search. I’ve compiled a list of advice and techniques below to help you identify potential employers and kick your job search off effectively.
- Hop on HuskyCareerLink: Many of you are probably familiar with our job search database, HuskyCareerLink. But did you know we also have an employer search function in HCL? Not only is this a great place to start to build a target list, it also gives you an idea of what companies have worked with Northeastern. To do an employer search, head to the Employers tab on the top menu and click ‘Employer Search’. Go through the list of industries and select any industry that applies to your field. HCL will generate a list of companies that hire within the selected industry so be prepared for the list to take a couple of minutes to load- we have a lot of employers in our database! You can click on any employer that comes up and view a brief description of the company. The cool thing about this list is that all of the employers you’ll see are there because they’ve worked with Northeastern in the past and will be familiar with the school and our amazing students!
- Check out CareerSearch: CareerSearch is an awesome website that will generate a list of companies based on the criteria you put in. You can enter factors such as industry, company size, location, or keywords to narrow your search results. You’ll a get a list of companies that match your criteria. I suggest using the location tool to narrow down your results- there are over five million US companies in the database! To utilize CareerSearch you’ll have to log onto HuskyCareerLink and scroll down the homepage until you see the CareerSearch link. Northeastern pays for our students to be able to use this website so take advantage of this resource!
- Look on LinkedIn: Not only is LinkedIn a powerful people resource, it’s also an important part of building your target list. LinkedIn has company pages that provide insight into companies you’re considering for your target list as well as related companies to help expand the list even further! For instance enter ‘Google’ into the LinkedIn search bar and the Google company page will come up. Scroll down a little until you hit the ‘People Also Viewed’ section on the right hand side. This is a list of similar companies! You can essentially follow the trail and research these different companies as well as companies that show up in their ‘People Also Viewed’ section. This is an easy way to expand a list if you already have a few company names.
These resources should help you develop a target list of 20–30 companies. You can do further research on these companies by looking at their company page on glassdoor and going on informational interviews with people who work there. This will help to confirm that the companies you’ve selected are a good fit for you! After you’ve finalized your target list, make sure to check their websites frequently for positions you’re qualified for. You can learn more about the job search process by attending one of our Small Group Job Search workshops or by looking on our Job Search page.
Tricia Dowd is a Career Development Assistant at NEU Career Development, and graduated from Northeastern with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration in September. She is interested in helping students gain practical experiences to complement what they’re learning in the classroom. You can reach her at email@example.com.