Executive Job Search: Research Your Target Employers

by Meg Guiseppi on January 10, 2011

On Target The critical first step my clients and I collaborate on is determining what qualifications and qualities their target companies are looking for in candidates vying for the kinds of positions my clients are seeking.

Without knowing what their target employers want and need, we can’t possibly define my clients’ brand and ROI value, and create resumes, bios, online profiles and other career marketing communications that will attract and resonate with their target audience, and clearly distinguish my clients as good fit candidates.

For a successful executive job search campaign, plan to spend some time researching – unless you already have plenty of in depth company and industry information.

Look for these things, for each of the companies on your target list:

  • Company overviews and history
  • Products and services
  • Historical financials
  • Competitors
  • Challenges they’re facing right now
  • Corporate culture
  • Company leaders and key decision-makers
  • Latest industry trends
  • Recent press releases and relevant news articles

Why you need company and industry market intelligence:

To gain access to the goldmine of “hidden” or unadvertised jobs.

To determine how you’re uniquely qualified to help your target companies overcome current challenges.

To learn how to align your brand and ROI value with their needs.

To identify those all-important relevant keywords and phrases to use across your career marketing.

To know how to craft your resume, LinkedIn profile and other brand communications around what will resonate with your target companies.

To identify the people at your target companies to connect with for insider information, introductions and leads.

To circumvent the gatekeepers, avoiding the HR-driven search process, by positioning yourself in front of and connecting directly with key decision makers.

To help you with due diligence when assessing potential employers.

To prepare you to speak intelligently about your target companies and industry when networking.

To help you nail interviews by being an informed, knowledgeable candidate.

Where to find company, industry, and people information:

Set up Google Alerts for the following, and have Google send the latest published information right to your email inbox:

  • Names of your target companies
  • Names of key decision makers in your target companies
  • Key word phrases relevant to your niche
  • Names of your target companies’ relevant products and services

Google Search

Search company names, people, products, services.


Check each Company Profile and personal profiles of company leaders and key decision makers. Join the LinkedIn Groups that key decision makers belong to, listen to their conversations and contribute when you can help others and position yourself as a subject matter expert.


Search your target companies and key decision makers. Follow them, listen to them and retweet them regularly.


Search people, companies, industry keywords.

Hoovers Online

Dun & Bradstreet

Forbes various lists

Fortune 500 list

Lots of valuable info such as each company’s CEO (with contact info), revenues, profits, assets, market value.


Includes job listings, salaries and reviews by employees.

Google Finance

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.

Job aggregators like LinkUp, which posts only current job listings from company websites, Simplyhired and Indeed

Find job descriptions that look like a mutual good fit. Use this information to align your qualities and qualifications with the requirements for your career target, and source relevant keywords and phrases.


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 . . . possibly information you can’t find online.

Related posts:

Executive Branding and the New Rules of C-level Job Search

LinkedIn Guide for Executive Branding and Job Search

Twitter Help and Strategies for Executive Job Search and Personal Branding

photo by Vizzzual.com

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