Man uses iPad

Have you been posting to various job boards – even select niche boards – then sitting back and waiting for responses and seeing limited (if any) results? Did you know that even fee-based job boards often yield less than a 5% response rate?

Likewise, merely putting the word out to select recruiters probably won’t get you very far either. They are up against their own version of competition too. And remember, most recruiters’ number one priority is the company they are working on filling the position for, not you.

As always, networking your brand value is by far the best way to find a job. But more than ever these days, successful networking happens with deep preparation and well-focused follow through.

The key is locating the right people and gently getting to know them, what their needs are, and how you can solve their problems. This requires targeted research to identify industries and positions of interest, compile a list of companies to focus on, and work on identifying leads to penetrate those companies.

Individuals who proactively attack job search with informed and purposeful networking are landing faster in jobs that are mutually good fits than those who haven’t embraced the new world of search.

With the endless, often free, resources available on the Internet, anyone can add targeted career research to their executive brand and job search toolkit and build up a portfolio of background information to help them network into the best jobs for them.

Why arming yourself with targeted research is essential:

  • You’ll be uncovering unadvertised positions or creating the impetus for your target companies to chisel out an opportunity for you, so you’ll have little, if any, competition. Your focus will be on proving that you have the goods to make an impact.
  • You’ll be circumventing HR departments and tapping into the hidden C-level executive job market because you’re not moving through the HR-driven search process.
  • Your research will also serve as your due diligence work to pre-qualify whether companies will be a mutually good fit.
  • You’ll become a known commodity and valuable asset because you’ve taken the time to extend your brand value to the companies’ inner decision-making circle.


Where to find company, industry, and people information:


Not a member of LinkedIn? You need to be. LinkedIn will be a critical component in your online networking efforts. The site also offers powerful company, industry, people, and job search capabilities.

Hoovers Online

Search by companies (A to Z and geographically) and industry overviews.

Dun & Bradstreet

Forbes numerous lists

Lists include: 200 Best Small Companies, 400 Best Big Companies, The World’s Biggest Companies, Most Trustworthy Companies, The World’s Billionaires, Richest Americans, Largest Public Companies, Private Companies. Company lists include comparative data on rank, sales, profits, assets, market value, etc.

Wall Street Journal’s Earnings News

The latest headlines on company profits and health.

Fortune 500

Loaded with valuable info like each company’s CEO (with contact info), revenues, profits, assets, market value.


Offers job market reports by state and industry, with 12-month and 10-year growth rates, calculated using the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, along with lists of decision-makers (CEOs, Presidents, etc.)

Individual Company Websites

A wealth of valuable information can be found by spending a little time on the websites of each company of interest, such as company history and where they’re going, annual reports, products/services they sell, and the company’s top executives (maybe with contact info).


Is there anything you can’t find using Google? Once you compile a list of companies and industries of interest, search each one. Look for any press about the companies and top executives in blogs, press releases, articles, etc. Google the name of the people who will be interviewing you.

Google Finance

You can spend hours perusing Google’s in-depth and up-to-the-minute financial news, key stats, company summaries, related company financials, market summaries and quotes, a stock screener, and so much other market information.’s Pick Your Employer page

For how-to articles, links to employer websites, employer rankings, best-of lists of companies, and countless other research resources.

Also, check out Live Career’s list of professional organizations and associations to connect with people at companies of interest.


Often overlooked, libraries are all about research and librarians are trained research experts. Tell them what you want to find out and they’ll lead you to the resources.

How to use the information you find:

  • Locate the decision-makers you want to position yourself in front of or those closely connected to them, then purposefully network your way into their networks. Find out if you already know someone in their networks or someone who does. Keep your brand value top of mind with the right people in the companies of interest to you.
  • Determine what challenges are impacting the companies and/or what their needs are so that you can craft value-driven solutions. How can you leverage your expertise to solve their problems?
  • Familiarize yourself with industry trends and all the details you can find about the company, so you’ll be fully informed and will speak intelligently when you communicate with decision-makers at that company. Using their lingo and tossing “inside” references into an interview conversation will position you as an engaged, knowledgeable candidate.
  • If you’re transitioning to a new industry, learn everything you can about it to make an informed decision as to whether it’s a good move for you.
  • Once you know what a company and industry’s needs are and how you can fill them, target your career marketing communications (resume, bio, leadership profile, etc.) to evidence your promise of value to them.

Here is another blog you may find helpful: Key Factors of My Successful Career Transition

If I can be of help you set a good foundation for building your business, get on my calendar for a complimentary call to see if there is a fit for us to work together so I can help you achieve your career goals at this juncture:

Feeling lost and not sure what the right career path is for you? I can help. Click on this link to learn about my Career Exploration services:

Woman wearing backpack hiking with mountains and trees in the background
7 Strategies for Truly Restorative Rest
Are you getting enough rest?

Row of black mailboxes with one carrier signal flag up
What About the Cover Letter? Should You Include One?
Should I include a cover letter? Is a cover letter really necessary? These are common questions job seekers ask and one you should be asking too!

Screenshot of Google search with persons name

How to Improve Your Personal SEO: 5 Tips for Personal Branding within Search Results
Personal SEO, like most efforts in search optimization, is really just about helping people find what they’re looking for. In this case, that’s you.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This