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The #WeekendJobSearch Assignment#4: Do some creative searches to discover top employers in your field

It’s official: We’re rounding out our first month into The #WeekendJobSearch, our ongoing series that breaks the whole job-search process into 13 totally doable to-do items.

Last week, we cleaned up your social channels and created a LinkedIn headline and summary that attracts and engages recruiters. (If you’re just jumping in now, check out Week 1, when we started small and purged old job search materials.)

This week, we’re showing you how to research your top companies to target employers you’d like to reach out to for informational interviews, and start your intel-gathering for when you get a real job interview.

The #WeekendJobSearch Assignment #4

Research Your Top Companies

One of the best things you can do while looking for work is to set up informational interviews with companies high on your list. There’s simply no better way to learn more about the company and the people who manage the teams you’d like to be a part of, and learn about unposted jobs.

And if you do eventually land an interview with one of these companies, the information you’ve gathered will give you a huge leg up over the competition—as well as plenty of material when the hiring manager asks, “So why do you want to work here?”

This week, to get this started, your assignment is to make a list of your top 10 companies you’d like to work for.  

Here are some ideas on how to compile your list:

  1. Email a few former colleagues to see if they have any recommendations or know of any exciting companies.
  2. Do a Google search for “best of” companies in media.  
  3. Search on Glassdoor, using a term like “media” or “marketing” in the company name box.
  4. Think about some of your favorite media campaigns and research the agency or production company that developed them.

Use your own list to keep track of these companies, or employ the second tab on Mediabistro’s Ultimate Job Tracker (the one you used to track your job applications in Week 2 of #WeekendJobSearch).

Once you finish compiling your list of your top companies, you may feel a little more focused on your goals. But if you’re not sure where to start with your list, here are a few ideas to get things moving:

  1. Go down your list and see if any companies are hiring, either on our job board, the companies’ careers pages or by doing a quick Google search.
  2. Sign up for job alerts on our job board for your top companies.
  3. If you don’t find any open positions from companies on your list, check their “About” pages to see if they list employees and roles. This will give you an idea of how they staff the various roles and departments.
  4. On LinkedIn, search the companies and see if you have any connections to current employees at the company.
  5. Follow these companies or their recruiting departments on Twitter to easily keep an eye on their movements.

Once you’ve learned who’s who at your top companies, reach out and request an informational interview. Make it clear you’re looking to learn more about the specific person you’d like to meet with—how they got to where they are, what challenges they faced along the way—rather than meeting solely to get your foot in the door.

And that’s week 4! We’ll see you next week when we’ll help you get your resume as hire-worthy as possible.

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