Create Your Target List

Research your target list candidates

It’s important to take the time to research targets on your list. You’re wasting time and energy if you just include any target candidate on your target list, even though you might feel like you’re accomplishing something by sending out tons of teasers. When the target candidate isn’t the right fit for your business, there isn’t much point in pursuing them because, in the long run, the target candidate probably isn’t going to work out for you – or for them.

The time you spend upfront investigating target candidates will benefit you in the long run because you won’t be spending energy approaching targets that aren’t a good fit. Instead, you will be approaching targets you know you would like to approach. Plus, once you know who you want to target, you can network with current or former employees, suppliers, and customers, who can potentially refer you to additional target candidates.

Researching Companies
How do you research target candidates in order to confirm they are a good match? There are websites with lists of the best companies to approach. Fortune, for example, ranks companies by a variety of criteria, including the 100 best companies, the 500 top companies, blue ribbon companies, most admired companies, best small companies, and so on.

Your local Chamber of Commerce is an ideal resource for finding local companies. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a directory you can search to find your local Chamber of Commerce. Then visit the Chamber’s website to see if there is a directory of local companies. Professional associations typically have lists of member companies. Use it to find member companies at associations in your industry. Look for companies where the mission and culture match your values and priorities. .

Use LinkedIn’s companies section as a tool to find company information. Search by keyword or browse industry information. You’ll be able to see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics.

Visit Glassdoor.com. You’ll find company reviews, ratings, salaries, CEO approval rating, competitors, content providers, and more company information.

Finding Contacts
Next, you need to find contacts at the company who you can approach. The LinkedIn company pages I mentioned will show contacts at the company.

Search Facebook Groups by company name to see if there is a Group for your target company. Ford Motor Company, for example, has a group for people who work, have worked, or will work for Ford. You can also try searching for contacts on Twitter; many people list their employer in their bio. Follow current employees for your target company, and you might discover key employee contacts early or gain insight into the company.

Are you a college graduate? Check with your career services office or alumni office and inquire if there is a database of alumni you can get in touch with. Many college and universities have alumni and parents who have volunteered to help with career networking.

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