Your target employer list is a critical element of your job search plan. Having a target list provides a road map as you begin your employer research and outreach efforts. An employer target list can start with industry (e.g., Healthcare), a functional area (e.g., marketing), or specific companies (e.g., Yale New Haven Health).
💡 Tip! Aim for a list of 40 companies to start, then brainstorm as many alternatives as you can.
1. Generate Initial List
- How: Review the Employer Directory. Scan business journals and “best of” lists. Browse job sites for exciting positions that mesh with your skills, interests, and values, and make note of the employers.
- Resources: Employer Directory, Peer Networking List (Yale Career Link-Resources-Career Library), CareerShift, OCS Career Communities, Yale CrossCampus, Career Insider, LinkedIn Alumni Page, Forbes Best Places to Work, Fast-Co., glassdoor.com, OCS Resource Database (job boards, trade orgs. & publications)
2. Find Contacts
- How: Find a person at each target company to personalize your outreach. Focus on alumni contacts. Seek out people in your network for referrals and suggestions.
- Resources: Employer Directory, Peer Networking List (Yale Career Link-Resources-Career Library), Career Insider, LinkedIn Alumni Page, CareerShift, club members, professors, Government Leadership Directory, family, friends, professional associations.
3. Develop Organization Insights
- How: Conduct research on key attributes that enable you to assess target companies for fit and interest. Consider: number of annual hires, current postings, job function, location, training programs, growth potential, company values, lifestyle, presence of networking contacts.
- Resources: Internet, company websites, Career Insider, guidestar.org, wsj.com, glassdoor.com
4. Rank Your List
- How: To establish priorities, rank order preliminary targets by your set of criteria – “must-have” and “nice to have” attributes.
- Resources: Use a spreadsheet to organize your target list, and ranking criteria.
💡 Tip! Create separate tabs for industry, function, geographic lists.
5. Create Personal Marketing Materials
- How: Draft materials that will support your outreach and prepare to personalize for each target. Resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, portfolio, email introduction, an email thank you, LinkedIn invitation, etc.
- Resources: OCS: Resumes, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile, Informational Interviews, Informational Interview Request Samples
💡 Tip! Personalization is key. Direct all correspondence to an individual.
- How: Market yourself to each of your top-ranked target companies. Submit job applications, request informational interviews, attend networking events, follow organizations, and individuals on LinkedIn.
- Resources: Resume, Cover letter, LinkedIn Profile, Portfolio etc.
7. Track Progress and Follow Up
- How: Use a spreadsheet and update it with each action you take. Evaluate responses and refne the approach, target employer list, personal branding, and other elements. Follow-up after 7-10 business days.
💡 Tip! Create additional target lists, if appropriate. Repeat the steps