A guest post by Lauren McPherson
One of the best ways to advance your career is by targeting a specific company in the industry where you want to work. You probably already know that customizing the goals and experiences on your resume to the specific company to you are applying will help you get your foot in the door, but imagine how much more impressed that company would be if you had already done deep research on the company’s business and objectives, and knew people who work there. These three actions will increase your attractiveness to any employer, but networking with people who work at the target company can be a challenge. Here are five places where you can find and network with the employees at your target firm.
1. Local Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations
Virtually every city has its own chamber of commerce, and larger cities will also have multiple business associations. These associations regularly throw networking events, casual meet and greets, and industry specific seminars where the employees of member businesses gather to talk about challenges, successes, and professional goals. Since these meetings are all held within the framework of professional business gatherings, those who attend are prepared to network and meet new people – the perfect opportunity for you to make a good impression, and a new contact. Check your city or county’s website for a list of active associations, and ask those associations about upcoming events. You might not even need to become a member to participate.
Eventbrite is an event management portal that many businesses use to manage conventions. Eventbrite handles everything from website set up to promotion to tickets. For the purpose of meeting people at your target company, Eventbrite is useful because it often lists the attendees and the organizations that they will be representing at an event. You can search by keyword, date, location, price, or category to locate events where your target company is likely to be, then view all of the details for that particular event. This will help you choose where to spend your time, rather than constantly searching Google news for events where you think your target company is likely to be.
3. LinkedIn Company Search
Did you know that you can search for specific companies on LinkedIn? This feature allows members to easily search their connections’ networks to determine whether or not he or she is connected to employees at a target company. Although the feature is limited to first and second degree connections only, it is these first and second degree connections who are most likely to be able to arrange a meeting between you and your target firm. To search your network, you must be logged in to LinkedIn. Next, click the drop down menu beside the search box in the upper right hand corner of the page. Type in the target company name and click the magnifying glass. If you don’t see any matches, you can also use the LinkedIn company directory to view employees at a firm; this might help you determine where to go to meet these individuals.
If the idea of meeting employees of your target companies makes you nervous, Followerwonk can help you identify and meet the company’s employees online. This social media tool is primarily used by businesses to determine and improve the effectiveness of their Twitter activity, but you can use it to find people who work at a specific company as well. Followerwonk can search Twitter bios for a company name or other keyword to let you know who might be a good person to meet. You can then follow that individual on Twitter and start a conversation.
5. Google Searches
In addition to doing a standard Google search for information on your target firm, you can also use Google Search, Google blogs, and Google Plus to network with your target firm’s employees. Using keyword strings such as “Company A employees” or “works for Company A” can help you locate press releases, bios, and blogs for workers at your target company. This information can help you make contact through email, blog comments, Facebook, or other social media websites. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!
Lauren McPherson is a staff writer for Paralegal 411, a career resource for anyone interested in getting started in a paralegal career