This is the fourteenth in a series of blogs supporting the College to Career Calendar available for downloading at Today’s blog discusses strategies for developing a list of companies where you would like to work. You will be using the form detailed in our last blog

You may be wondering why we are recommending investing time and effort into developing a list of prospective employers. Most job seekers spend their time searching job boards for openings. Many of those job seekers spend hours applying and interviewing for a job, receive an offer, accept the offer, and six weeks later realize they really don’t like the company where they are working.

Think of your job search as a night out in a strange town. You want to dine on a hand tossed gourmet vegetarian pizza (your ideal job). There are two ways of achieving this goal. You can stop at every restaurant that looks like it serves pizza, check the menu, and repeat this process until you find the pizza you are seeking (respond to job announcements to secure job). Or, before you leave you can do an internet search of restaurants that meet your criteria, read the reviews, and determine the quickest way to get there (conduct a focused job search).

Do you want to spend hours applying for jobs only to discover you really don’t want to work for the company or the job is not what you thought it would be? Or would you like to focus on applying for jobs at companies that meet the criteria you set? If the latter sounds like a better use of your time and a way to increase the likelihood of successfully launching your career follow these steps:

Determine the type of organization/company where you want to start your career. Here are few ideas to help develop your criteria:

  • Location (is there a specific part of the country where you want work)
  • Size (small/medium/large company/organization)
  • Job opportunities in your field (does the company hire people to do what you want to do)
  • Provide a work atmosphere where you can excel (casual/collaborative/structured)
  • Offer on the job training/challenges
  • Promotional opportunities
  • Travel opportunities
  • Meaningful work

Once you have your criteria, start the search for companies that meet them. Don’t be surprised if you are overwhelmed with the amount of information on companies. Here are a few starting points:

  • Brainstorm a list companies/organizations with which you are familiar.
  • Ask friends/faculty/career services staff for recommendations
  • Conduct an internet search for “great companies in the (your field)”.
  • Check out the list of top 100 companies identified by Forbes

Now that you have a working list of companies you want to make sure they meet your standards. Read what their employees say about them on Glassdoor We also encourage = you to do an internet search for reviews. When you find companies/ organizations that meet your criteria, add them to your list. Your goal is to have 40 on your list.

Now fill in the other fields of your tracking sheet.

Unless you already have a contact for the company, enter the names of company’s Human Resource Manager and their contact information (phone and email). You will update and add to this information as you move forward in your job search.

Cut and paste/copy the company website onto your tracking sheet. While you are on the website, see if they company has a system for sending out job announcements. If they do, sign up for it.

Enter the salary range (if it is not easy to find, use to determine what a typical salary and add a note that you need to do more research when you see a job opportunity listed).

Add notes of information you learned that you want to remember (sometimes I populate this field with links).

At this point an entry in your list of companies might look like this:

ABC Company |Ms. Brown  555-888-8888| www.abcco |$45,000|great training

During your search, you will add and subtract companies and information, but you by the time you complete this week’s assignment you will have mastered the basics of maintaining a preferred employer list.

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