No matter what your career stage, it’s always a good idea to know what the job market is like. While you probably have a list of companies that you follow, there are many other companies out there. How do you find other companies that are similar in some way, and might be in need of your expertise? There are several ways that you can use what you already know to identify relevant companies.
Many people would welcome a new challenge, but don’t want to move to a new location. If you are geographically constrained, find companies nearby using the “Search Nearby” function in GoogleMaps. Go to http://maps.google.com, enter a location, and when the map is displayed click “Search Nearby” and put in a keyword such as “chem” (which will match both “chemistry” and “chemical”). A map showing companies with that keyword in their description will appear. By varying the specificity of the keyword, and using the zoom function on the map, you can identify almost as many companies as you want.
If you are flexible about location, but want a particular kind of company, North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes are an ideal tool. NAICS is a standard system used to classify businesses (which replaced the older Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system). Search on a company name and the keyword “NAICS”, and find the code(s) that describe that company. Then, use ReferenceUSA, WebsterOnline or another service to find similar companies. For example, SigmaAldrich is in category 325199 (among others), which translates to “All Other Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing”.
LinkedIn’s Advanced Search Tools
LinkedIn (linkedin.com) is not only a great way to maintain connections with fellow professionals, but it can also be used to find companies. The Advanced Tools in the “Companies Search” function allow you to filter searches by location, industry, and company size. Once you find a company, you can not only read the corporate description, but also see how you are connected to people at that company. Often you will know someone who knows someone who works there, and can use those connections to find inside information on hiring plans.
Craig’s List (craigslist.org) is increasing in popularity as a place for small companies to post job openings, and often ads are posted there and not anywhere else. With specific categories for biotech/science, medical/health, business/management and other types of jobs, and local versions for most major cities, it’s easy to identify the categories that will have openings of interest to you. Keep your search broad – skimming through multiple categories on a regular basis can turn up interesting opportunities not found any other way.
Join relevant email lists and discussion groups on LinkedIn or the ACS Network. Check out past postings and discussions, and find companies that have been hiring. Look at the signature files and email addresses of other participants, and research the companies they work for.
Whether or not you are currently looking for a new position, knowing the market is always a good idea. The tools listed above can go a long way towards helping you uncover hidden gems.
Get involved in the discussion
The ACS Career Tips column is published the first week of every month in C&EN. Post your comments, follow the discussion, and suggest topics for future columns in the Career Development section of the ACS Network (https://communities.acs.org/community/profession/career_development )._—brought to you by ACS Careers.