[This is Step 8 in Part 1 of Job-Hunt’s Online Job Search Tutorial.]
Since most of us keep a job for at least 1 or 2 years, shopping carefully for your next employer is smart. You don’t want to work for an employer that is going out of business or one that is a miserable place to work – either would mean you’d probably be in another job search too soon.
These days, the smartest way to job search is to search for the best employers
and then find the job you want with those companies.
Like shopping for anything important, you need to shop for your next employer. And, since this will hopefully be the start of a long relationship, doing research in advance to target the best employers for you is important. It will save you time and energy in your job search efforts, both short-term (now) and long-term.
So, it is well-worth the effort to pull together a list of potential employers to target your job search to the employers where you should be the happiest and most successful.
Your Next Employer – Some Variables to Consider
Since you already determined what job you want (in Step 1), now think about what you might want in your next employer (or what you might not want):
Employer size –
Large (e.g. Fortune 1000), medium (e.g. Inc. 5,000), smaller, or very small.The Department of Labor data every year shows that smaller employers do the vast majority of the hiring. So, don’t limit yourself to the big, international names.
Employer ownership –
Work directly for the owner of the business or for a family-owned and family-run business, or NOT a family-owned business.
Employer organization –
Work at a small “outpost” office or at the headquarters of a large organization or working at the only location of a small business?
From your home (telecommuting?), or out of your home in a particular part of your city, in a city or a group of cities near you, in the region where you are living now, OR where you want to live next. Short commute, near public transportation, or close to a major road with free parking for your car.
Do you prefer to work for a college or non-profit or do you prefer to work for a business? Healthcare (growing), green industries (growing), government (growing in some areas), a different industry, or the one you are in now.
Corporate culture –
Do you like high-pressure, high-performance environments where you are pushed to achieve your highest potential; a low-pressure, low-stress workplace where you are part of a team; or strictly a 9-to-5 job that you can leave behind at the end of the day.
Your other personal criteria –
Think about what else is important to you. Do you want to be the key member of a high profile group or just one member of a larger team? Work during “school hours” as a single-parent might prefer, or working the “late shift” in the evenings or overnight when the pay might be better? Or, what else? What are your other criteria? Think about it.
Resources for Finding Potential Employers
The Web is a treasure trove of useful information (just be cautious about believing everything you read!).
Read the “Know BEFORE You Go (or Apply)” and the other articles in Job-Hunt’s free Guide to Company Research for help choosing the best potential employers, gathering information to prepare an attention-getting cover letter, and impressing interviewers with your knowledge of them and their organization.
Change Your List as Necessary
When you find great new employers, add them to your list. When you find out something bad about an employer on your list (pending layoffs, for example), remove them from your list. Don’t feel that this list is “set in concrete” and unable to be changed.
The goal is to focus on what you want in your next employer (so you will be happy working there) and then focus your job search efforts on those employers (so you will impress them with your knowledge and interest in working for them). That’s the most efficient and effective way to conduct your job search. Otherwise you have waaayyy too many options to consider.
NEXT: Part 2 – Implementing Your Job Search
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.
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