How I Found A Job (3/20): Target Companies Are Critical

February 28th, 2018

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a couple of favorite companies based on location (practically no commute). I was really quite interested in working at either of those companies because I thought they had good stuff (even though I’m not completely enamored by what they do),  I could learn a ton, and working there would allow me to spend time on JibberJobber and not on commuting.

The opportunities at one were far and few between… they just weren’t looking for product managers. The other company regularly had openings but for some reason I didn’t make it far (I think I know why… that is tomorrow’s blog post). I even had a first, and then a second interview at one of the companies. But I didn’t get past that, I got the cold, horrible, inhuman rejection letter. I have strong feelings that candidates (aka job seekers) should not get cold inhuman letters the farther they make it down the interview process.

I have a whole collection of those letters.

At least I was making more progress in this job search than I had 12 years ago, right? Hurray. I was still getting rejected.

I got to the point where I opened my target company list and looked at companies further away… up to an hour commute. This was not a fun idea, but hey, if it was the right thing then I’d do it.

In the back of my mind I had a target company, BambooHR (spoiler: this is where I got hired!), but I didn’t see any product jobs from them. So while I thought it would be awesome, there didn’t seem to be anything there.  Another target company, one of the few HR companies in SLC, couldn’t understand that I wanted a job and wouldn’t do JibberJobber at work. I knew the founders, had lunch them more than once, and thought this would be a good and fun conversation. Instead I got a cold reception during the first interview (one lady left half way through (without an explanation), ask me what I really think about that), and then in the VP interview he was completely hung up on me having a side hustle.

That was demoralizing, but it was a learning experience. From then on, when an interviewer asked about JibberJobber, I had the perfect set of answers to draw from.

Having a list of target companies was critical. This helped me focus my time on the right places and not get lost looking at everything that came along. It helped me focus my research time on their opportunities and industries, and figure out who people where that I could have conversations with. Sometimes, in my research, I’d come across another company to add to my list. My list grew, but it was a very particular and focused group of companies.

Want to know the real power of this? If you have ever been asked “How’s your job search going?”, you need to read this article I wrote on LinkedIn:

The Best Answer for the Worst Question in Your Job Search

This is where you can REALLY get value from having your targeted company list!

If you don’t have a target company list, stop everything and create one NOW!

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Where do you find information about Target Companies?

July 13th, 2012

I’ve been in D.C. speaking this week.  Tonight/tomorrow I am honored to spend time with one of my best friends at his wedding.  What a choice week it’s been!

Here’s an excellent resource to find awesome companies that might make your Target Company List: Silicon Slopes Company Intelligence page.  This is limited to Utah companies (Silicon Slopes -> slopes = skiing)

If I were looking for a job in Utah, I would probably spend weeks on this page + LinkedIn working on networking into each of these companies.

The bigger ones seem to have their revenue listed, which is awesome.  The other ones don’t have revenue listed, but just being on this list means something.

Where do you find lists like this that are relevant to you?  In different places.  Crunchbase is an awesome resource. Spoke is growing to be an awesome resource like this.

In your own area, ask a V.C. (venture capitalist) for a resource similar to Silicon Slopes.  They should either know about it, point you to their own portfolio, or hopefully create something like Silicon Slopes.

BONUS: Once you find lists like this, use JibberJobber to keep track of the companies, as well as the relationships you form with people inside those companies.

These types of sites aren’t super-easy to find, but once you find them, they can be really valuable!

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How To Organize Your Job Search (2): Target Companies

September 9th, 2010

Yesterday I talked about organizing and managing information around your network contacts.

Today we talk about “target companies,” which of course is the second main position on the menu within JibberJobber:


I didn’t think about “target companies” at all when I started my job search.  I collected names of companies as I applied, and heard about them, but I didn’t know how to strategically incorporate them into my job search.

Know I realize I needed to do two critical things with target companies (but this was not, perhaps, the most important thing about target companies, which I’ll talk about below):

  1. Keep track of any important and relevant news with the target companies. I want to know CURRENT events… stuff that is happening now with the company.  Wouldn’t it be important to know some of this stuff if you were talking about the company, or interviewing with the company?  Perhaps this makes you out to be a quasi-stalker, but it is better to know than to get caught off-guard, especially if it’s something that everyone in the industry should know.
  2. Network into the company. When you have a target company, and you meet someone who works there, you start to “network into the company.”  Perhaps you ask them who you should talk to and get an introduction to the next “right person” who might lead you deeper into the company, or closer to your key contact.

Those two things are really important, of course, but I think there is something even more important than that.

I think it is critical to be able to recite 2 or 3 or 4 target company names when you are talking to someone who can help you in your job search.

How do you know if they can, or want to, help you?

Simple – they ask this question:

How’s your job search going?”

Your response should NOT be “fine.”  That is not a good response. Your response should be:

“It’s going okay… I’m trying to get an introduction into a few companies – do you know anyone who works at [Target Company A], [Target Company B], or [Target Company C]?

I don’t care if you change A, B and C to J, K, F or X, Y, Z, as often as you like.  But the key is to be able to give that person MORE, and REAL, information so they can start to really think about how they can help you.

Target companies is key!  Track them, organize them, network into them and be able to recite a few of them at the right time.  If you are actively networking, you’ll have multiple “right times” throughout the day.

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Blue Collar Job Search – Identify Target Companies

May 19th, 2010

This is a series on how to find a blue collar job.  I’m writing it for a friend who’s busy in a temporary job and is looking for something bigger.

Today it’s all about “target companies.”  I love the idea of target companies, and think it is one of THE MOST critical things to tackle in your job search.  Why?  For a few reasons:

  • You can narrow/focus your job search on identified target companies,
  • You will learn about other companies you never would have heard of as you do your job search.  These other companies (which might become target companies) might be vendors, customers or competitors of your original target companies.
  • When people ask you how your job search is going you can reply with something like “it’s going well – I’m trying to find contacts at x, y, or z companies – do you know anyone who works there?”

The easiest place for me to start looking for target companies was on Indeed.  I like Indeed because it pulls jobs from various job boards… as I typed in a few job titles, based on what my buddy told me, I identified the following companies that could be target companies:

  • Mountain America – has a bunch of credit unions locally and a corporate office close to us
  • Salt Lake Community College – with a bunch of campus buildings close to us
  • IHC – regional hospital chain with a bunch of hospitals around here
  • Larry Miller company – has a bunch of properties all over the Salt Lake valley
  • … and 11 more – all of these companies where found from a few searches on Indeed.

This is BRAINSTORMING mode… we’re not declaring that we would LOVE to work at any of these companies, but they are all possibilities.  As you list target companies you should be able to think of new ones… for example, if you don’t bank at Mountain America then go to YOUR OWN credit union – they probably have a lot of branch buildings also, right?

As you start to look at these target companies you can try and figure out how any jobs with these might match your list from yesterday (what do you want in a job).  For example, a company with one huge building means no driving around all day… and a company with lots of small branch buildings means lots of driving around… also larger companies might have better benefits and training programs, and more sophisticated management/systems, whereas smaller companies might allow you more freedom in your job.

LIST OUT TARGET COMPANIES, brainstorm, don’t leave anything off.  You can order them by how interesting any of them are to you, but even listing the companies you don’t want to work at is valuable.

Here’s a plug for JibberJobber – as you develop your list of target companies make sure you put them into JibberJobber.  You’ll want to log various things about each company, from contact info (address, phone, etc.) to any notes or info you find about a company.

Try the job search here… type in a few company names you are interested in listing as target companies:

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

The JibberJobber Blue Collar Job Search Series:



Job Search – How To Find Target Companies

June 30th, 2009

There are lots of ways of finding target companies… here’s one that might make sense for you.

Google your town/state and “Venture Capital” or “Venture Fund.”  You are looking for local venture capital websites.  Venture capitalists are the people who help fund companies, whether they are startups, or larger companies who need some money.  You can think of them as an alternative to the bank.

Dealing with VCs isnt’ fun.  I have yet to find a VC who doesn’t think he is god.  I say he because I personally don’t know any women who are VCs.  If you don’t like dealing with people who think they are god (I don’t), then this post is quite important (because you aren’t going to deal with them, unless you are at a very senior level).

Collect a list of VC firms in your area (OF COURSE you’ll put them into JibberJobber).  Then, look on their website for their Portfolio (that is, the list of companies they have funded).  Here’s a screen capture from a company that is local to me:

Drill down on any of the categories and you’ll have a list you can filter through… these can become your target companies in your job search.


Because they have some level of funding (this is good, so you can get paid), and because a VC firm is behind them they usually have other perks (insurance, vacation, etc.).  They are also on some kind of fast-track to success, hopefully (doesn’t mean they will be successful), and are probably looking at some kind of big win for the investors (VCs) – this could mean they are acquired, go IPO, etc.  It would be a fun ride, and you might be able to cash in on stock when that time happens.

This isn’t for everyone, especially the people who are looking for job security in big companies like GE, Ford, Enron….

But it’s a great way to look for local companies you may not have heard of but should be on your list.  Once you find these companies you can try and network in through the VC (good luck), or you can go around the VC firm and network directly into the company through the company employees.

Sound like a good idea?



Share Target Companies With JibberJobber Users

July 21st, 2008
Join Jason Alba as he spends time with Barry Groh, executive in the non-profit space, with a personal “Getting Started on JibberJobber” session.  Barry has not started to use JibberJobber, and this one-hour session will answer all his questions, address things such as importing from LinkedIn and Outlook, and anything else that comes up.  Simply use the same registration information and callin number you find on the Free Webinar page (even though the date is for next year, this will happen on July 29, 2008 at 9am MST (11am noon).

Since the beginning of JibberJobber there was a cool little feature you may have seen when you added a target company.  At the top of the screen you would see this checkbox:

Last week, in the upgrade where we introduced the new Silver level (1,000 contacts and 1,000 target companies for $5/month), we also introduced Phase II of Global Companies.  This is a very exciting enhancement for you.  Here’s where the idea came from:

When I got laid off, I was fairly new to Salt Lake City.  I had only lived here about 18 months, and I spent most of my time either commuting or working… but no networking.  The only companies I knew about in the Salt Lake area where those I could see when I drove down the road.  In my job search I found out about more companies, specifically, those which posted openings on Monster or in the newspaper.

I knew there were hundreds, maybe thousands of other companies I should know about, some of them with my next job!  But I had no idea how to find them.  How in the world do you turn over eery rock to find these companies….???

The idea for Global Companies was born, and that’s where you come in.  When you check the checkbox, you are sharing certain company information with all JibberJobber users.  You won’t share your private information, like how you rank them, notes, log entries, etc.  You won’t even share that YOU are the one who added the company to the list of Global companies.  You’ll share something like this:

Simply general information.  How cool is that, that I can share this with other JibberJobber users?  Better yet, I can see with others share, based on where I am targeting (based on the address I have on my own profile):

If I am searching for companies in a different location, say, Seattle, I would simply change the data in the drop down.  Or, if I’m going to relocate and know that I’m moving to Seattle, I’ll change my home address under My Account so it always comes up with the Seattle area.

From the image, you can see I can comment on the company, which can help others learn about the company (any information you want to share).  The comments will show as anonymous, but if we find trolls or abuses, we’ll have to clean up the junk and figure out what to do with those who are trolls).

I can also rank the company, and have my ranking contribute to an overall ranking for that company.  Between the comments and the rankings, this can be an excellent way to share more information about potential target companies with JibberJobber users.

Notice the add icon (add icon - to add the company to your list of target companies) next to the name of the company.  When I click on that icon, I add it to MY PERSONAL list of target companies.  So if I find a company that someone else has entered into JibberJobber, and I want to store private information about it, I just click that link and it shows up in my list of Target Companies.  That’s where I’ll do things like create notes, action items, log entries, tie people to the company, etc.

If I want to get more comprehensive information about the company, I simply click on the name of the company and it takes me to a page with the shared information, comments, ranking, and even a Google Map with directions to MY HOUSE to the company, miles between us and estimated driving time!!  How cool is that?

We encourage you to share your companies as a Global Company.  You can either do this when you first set up the company, or when you edit the company, by clicking on that checkbox at the top.

Or, on the Company Detail Page, you’ll see a new icon:

When you click on this icon, it will make that company a Global Company.

Remember, no other JibberJobber user will know that you added the company as a Global Company, or how you ranked them, or what your comments were.

Cool?  Powerful?  We think so!  Simply login to JibberJobber, mouse over the Companies Menu Item, and click on Global Companies at the bottom!



How I Found A Job (6/20): Is BambooHR Really A Target Company? And Applying Online

March 6th, 2018

Yesterday was the day at my new job at BambooHR where I could state my tenure in months instead of weeks. I’m on Month Two.

In the last post I talked about finding this job, Program Manager, at BambooHR. But I had to go through some mental wrestling to come to terms with this. The companies I had been looking at were more familiar to me (I heard about them a lot from friends, and drove by them all the time). The commutes would have been awesome, as I mentioned. And it would have put me into the product manager network locally, a group I found a little hard to network into. Remember, being an entrepreneur is not looked at as a benefit by a lot of corporate people.

I had to ask myself, was BambooHR really a target company for me?  Back in 2017 they included this very blog as one of their top 25 HR blogs. I was a lot more familiar with their industry and customer and user (and the issues HR faces) than a high interest rate lending company or a contact lense company. I’m sure I would have settled in and done a great job, and enjoyed those… but there would be a few learning curves.

That’s part of career management, though: learning, adapting, etc.

BambooHR was perfect, with one little exception: the commute.

Going from a down-the-hall commute to a twenty something mile commute would mean changes. I’d be in traffic… rush hour! Bleh!

We have the exact right number of vehicles for our family… as long as I don’t need a car :)  That means a $5,000+ expense so we don’t have to double up… plus the cost of insurance, gas, etc. to add a new car. Double bleh.

When I put everything on paper, though, BambooHR was definitely a great option. In fact, something weird happened: As soon as I applied to BambooHR, every other company and opportunity because completely uninteresting to me. When I read the posting again and again, and slept on it and then read it again, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, anywhere else.

This was made for me, and meant to be!

So I applied. Online. You know, that thing some experts say to avoid at all costs? What if my resume got overlooked like it had from other companies? What if it got lost? What if, what if, what if…

All I knew was that I had now pretty much invested all of my hope in this one company and one job.

Because of what happened 12 years ago, when I was sure I had found the right job at the right company, and then I got the horrible, cold email saying they chose someone else, I knew that I couldn’t trust that this was the one. I had to keep doing things … the right things, in my job search. So, as hard as it was, I kept looking, and kept up my job search.

This was good because I needed to do something while I waited. And keeping my job search going helped me feel like I was doing something right, especially if this fell through.

I should mention, the application process on BambooHR was pretty sweet, which is good, because it was their software that they sell to others for applications :p Don’t you hate all of the online application pages that feel like they suck the soul out of you? That’s not the experience I had applying online.

I hit send or submit, and then crossed fingers… hoping.. waiting…

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How To: Tracking a Recruiter and an Unknown Target Company (User Question)

March 25th, 2014

A user from Europe asks some questions (slightly reworded), which I will answer below:

At my level and with my expertise, I usually go through a headhunter to get hired. How does the system handle this?

He gets more specific below, but just to clarify, if you only work with recruiters, I would use JibberJobber to track the recruiter (as a Contact), the recruiter’s company (as a Company – and only if it is not a one-person-company), and each job (as a Job) I learn about from the recruiter.  More below…

How do I enter a job opportunity that is being proposed by a headhunter, and where I have both the headhunter contact as well as company contacts?

And here is where it gets really COOL, although I’m a little embarrassed to write this now, because we should have designed this in 8 years ago.  Soon, really soon (I’m told this week) we are going to do a release to JibberJobber where we add a few more features.  One of the features is the long-overdue ability to have multiple contacts and multiple companies associated to each job record.  This reflects the real-world scenario of pursuing a job with a recruiter, then getting introduced to three people at a panel interview… you will be able to associate that job with all four of those people.

It gets better… see my answer to the next question…

Sometimes the headhunter does not disclose the company name or company contact. How do I handle this in the system?

This is the same issue, with a different record.  We will also be able to associate multiple companies to the job.  So, associate the recruiter’s company, and then when you find out what the hiring company is, add it and associate it to the job.  You will even be able to prioritize the contacts and companies.

So, to let the cat out of the bag, we are doing this thing for contacts, companies and jobs, which means:

On a Company record: associate multiple Contacts and Jobs (you can already do this, but you’ll soon be able to reorder/reprioritize them)On a Contact record: associate multiple Companies (which allows you to create more of a work history, as well as track people with more than one current company) and multiple Jobs (if you are working with that person for more than one job).

On a Job record: associate multiple Contacts (like the recruiter, and people at the company that you meet) and multiple Companies (like the recruiter company and the name of the company with the opening).

This is a great enhancement, and should make your data make a lot more sense.

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How I use Tags to organize my Contacts, Companies, Jobs

November 1st, 2012

If you’ve been on a user webinar lately you’ll know I like Tags more than Categories.  I’ve said “if I could go back 6.5 years in time I would take out Categories and only have Tags.”

Every once in a while I get emails asking me how I use Tags, or is there a list of Tags that I recommend.

I’ve never spent the time to figure out what “the list” might look like, mostly because people use JibberJobber in different ways.  But let me share some thoughts that might help you figure out what your Tags should could be.

Before I go on, I should say, you can’t really mess this up.  If you create a Tag that is spelled wrong you can easily fix it later (in at least two different places).  If you create a Tag that you don’t use, you can move all of the records you’ve tagged to a better, more useful Tag, easily.

My list of Tags simply grew to what they are now.  I didn’t sit down and think “what are the 20 Tags I’ll want in the future?”  I just started tagging people based on certain groupings that made sense.  For example, my top 10 tags on my Contacts (you can see your top 10 Tags by clicking on Tags, under the Network menu item):

The second column shows the number of Contacts I’ve tagged with that Tag.  I have 328 bloggers, or people tagged as “blogger,” in my system. Why? Because I did massive outreach to bloggers a few years ago.

I have 267 people tagged as coach and 222 people tagged as resume. Why? Because I have products and services for coaches and resume writers and I email them to let them know.  Tagging them allows me to easily find their information so I can reach out to them.

I have 234 people tagged as “university_career. Why? Because career centers license my videos, and I’ve been keeping tabs on the 234 people I’ve reached out to, or had conversations with.

Here’s the WHY on the others:

mbacwp: this is an association. As I’ve met members of this association (has to do with MBA career services) I’ve put them into my system.

recruiter: in the early days of JibberJobber I thought recruiters would be great evangelists for JibberJobber to candidates.  That turned out to be false, since most recruiters are “up to their eyeballs in alligators,” and don’t seem to have an interest in helping candidates in their job search.

main_prospect: this is kind of funny… I’m not sure what they were a main prospect FOR.  I’ve changed my tagging system to be more specific… if I continued to use this tag I would add another section, like main_prospect_dvd, or main_prospect_videos, or main_prospect_somethingMoreSpecific.

usaf_tap: I went to two conferences where every Air Force base had a transition person there.  I put them into the system hoping to communicate my free offering for veterans and future veterans.  Unfortunately I have found that going directly to these people is futile. I’ve not done anything with them for a while because it was like banging my head against the wall. So there they sit… not taking up room, but ready when I figure this out better.

twitter: these are the people I have imported from Twitter (one-by-one, not the bulk import).

military: these are individuals I’ve talked with to help get the word out about my military/veteran offering.

This list of Top 10 gives you an idea of where I’m spending my time (kind of).

The bottom list shows 10 “good ideas”… these went nowhere (see that I have zero or one connection for any of them):

I’m not worried about the ones I don’t use.  I had good intentions at one time, but that doesn’t mess up my database.  Sometimes I clean them out, but I’m not too worried about it.

Brainstorming, here are some tags I would have if I were to start a job search today:

  • hiring_manager: this might be someone I want to have a long-term professional relationship with, and could introduce me to peers in my industry/profession.
  • newsletter: someone I want to keep informed of what I’m doing.  See Brandon Uttley’s awesome and effective job search newsletter campaign.
  • [company_size] ie, fortune100, fortune 1000, startup, enterprise, etc.: if you want to segment your targets by company size.  Some of you are looking for a massive company but are also interested in funded startups.
  • [industry] ie, high_tech, phara, retail, logistics, etc.:  since I’m in Information Technology I wasn’t married to any particular industry…. tagging by industry grouping would be useful.

I’m sure you’ll come up with others.   Again, it’s hard for me to tell you what 5 or 10 tags to have, but I hope this post has been helpful as you create your own.  Remember, you can’t really mess this up… it’s easy to backtrack or fix later.

Note that using the underscore allows me to break my tags down when I search.  See this post for more on searching based on tags.



New FREE feature (was premium): Associate multiple contacts to one target company

May 29th, 2012

As you network into your Target Companies you should meet multiple people at each company.  I remember my first interview at the company that I had an internship at – there were four interviewers in the panel interview.

How do you keep track of all this?

In JibberJobber we just made a major change, which is to allow all users (even free/regular users) to track multiple Contacts per Company.

On your Target Company page you’ll see the section for Primary Contacts (1) and Other Contacts (2).  Notice I’m the Primary Contact and L.R. is another Contact.  To add new Contacts simply click “add new contact” (3) if the contact is not in JibberJobber yet.  If they are in JibberJobber, click “associate existing contact” (4) and you can choose from your list of Contacts already in the system.

This is a mega-helpful feature for those of you who are networking!


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