Job seeker with bow and arrow aiming at a target

Target Companies to Get the Job: How-To Guide

With the internet playing a more and more critical role in our everyday lives, the way people seeking employment approach their job search is varied. One undervalued and often overlooked way of finding the right fit is by targeting companies. So where should you begin?


Build a Target Company List

The first (and perhaps most critical) step of targeting companies for jobs is building a target company list. This can be approached in a variety of ways and through a number of channels. First, consider the people you know. Do they work for a company that interests you? Reach out to people at these institutions, whether in person or through avenues like LinkedIn, to learn what resources are most effective to “get to know” your target company. In addition to making the most effective push to network into that company, you will also get an idea of what it’s like to work there.

In the event that this method does not generate as many results as you hoped, the internet offers a number of resources as well. While online job postings might seem like they belong in a more traditional job search, they are phenomenal ways of discovering what companies are in need of your skillset.

Search engines like Google and Bing are never a bad way to compile information, and can be useful as a jumping off point. If this seems too broad, there are always trade association websites to help you build your target company list as well. From aerospace to audio-video production, there is an association website for nearly everything, and these websites can be invaluable resources in identifying top companies in your field. In addition to helping build your target company list, association websites can be very useful for the next step in targeting companies for jobs.


job seeker walking toward a target


Get to Know Your Companies

Once your target company list is built, it is imperative to get to know each company in turn by asking yourself questions such as:

  • What are your target company’s values?
  • What trends are directly affecting your target company?
  • What issues that your target company is facing can you help solve?
  • Do they currently have positions available?

Answers to these questions can be found in a variety of places, particularly if you targeted a specific company through connecting with a friend or someone you know. However, since that isn’t always the case, there are a variety of websites that offer an abundance of information. Some of the most well-known examples to inform your job search are:

  • provides anonymous employee testimonials that give insight into the reality of working for a company.
  • offers industry analyses as well as company profiles.

Having answers to questions like these and combing resources like the ones listed above give you starting points with contacts that you are going to cultivate in the next step of this process.


Build Internal Contacts

Having all this information at your disposal means nothing if it is never put into action. So, armed with your target company list and all the research you’ve compiled about both the logistics and the heart of your target company, seek out the contact information you need to use it.

It’s important to compile emails and phone numbers from both people who work within the company and those you know that have contacts within the company. Their information can be found in a variety of different ways. LinkedIn is the most obvious example, but don’t forget all the contacts you already have; friends and family can make great allies when trying to find a personal connection with contacts at your target company.

Other social media platforms can be equally effective; while some warn against sites like Facebook, which promotes a personal over professional relationship, Twitter can be a great way to establish a connection if a particular contact is not active on LinkedIn.


job seeker holding a target


Network & Schedule Meetings

Meeting these contacts is the big payoff. There are always conferences and trade shows, and many communities host Chamber of Commerce events. Any of these events make for an informal yet still professional way to connect with these contacts in person to communicate your strategies, skills, and personality.

If you met the contact through a friend, family member, or acquaintance, arrange an informational interview with them. All the research you’ve done will shine here! Regardless of method, utilizing the contacts you acquire while targeting companies will increase your job search’s chance of success.

By networking your way in even if a position isn’t currently available, when a position becomes available your target company will already be aware of your skills and values because of the groundwork you have laid while networking. If the hiring manager knows that you are a qualified and skilled candidate with knowledge of trends and issues at their company, your name could come up before your resume is ever in their hands.



By applying these steps to any job search, your appeal to these companies greatly increases. Though the process seems complex, targeting companies for jobs boils down to identifying the companies you want to work for, researching those companies, building contacts within them, and ultimately showing those contacts that you would be a valuable addition to their team. The sooner you target the company that’s right for you, the sooner you‘ll find yourself working for them.

By Alexis DeLancey-Christiansen, Guest Author | July 31, 2017
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