Given that we’re in a position to review the company lists that hundreds of our clients put together, we’ve recently realized that a lot of people are “cheating” themselves to a certain degree on this important exercise.  How so?  We’ve found that time and time again, people aren’t digging deep enough to uncover appropriate small-to-mid-sized employers, but are instead simply cherry-picking and listing the names of the dozen or two large organizations (e.g. Microsoft, Starbucks, T-Mobile, REI, Nordstrom) that they’ve already heard of.

Given this realization, that most people are simply following the path of least resistance and targeting large, well-known employers, we’re now encouraging all job hunters to set an additional goal for themselves in building their list — which is to ensure that at least 50% of the firms you target are ones you’ve never heard of before!  Following this advice will help ensure that your list of corporate prospects is truly as diversified as it needs to be and that you’re not overlooking the 199,000+ up-and-coming businesses in Washington that actually account for the vast majority of all hiring!  So if you review your current list and find that it mainly consists of “household name” organizations, the odds are that you’re not looking in the right places — or working hard enough to identify fresh possibilities.

Need help with this step?  Well, the new LinkedIn feature we profiled above is certainly a good starting point and the upcoming Target Company Nirvana webinar we’ll be hosting on 10/15 might also be immensely useful in fleshing out your target list.  Keep in mind, too, that if you’ve never heard of a company before, that’s extremely good news — since in all likelihood, neither has your competition, and your resume will therefore have a much greater chance of getting noticed!