NO MATTER WHAT stage you’re at in your career, it’s a good idea to keep your finger on the pulse of the job market. You can do that by developing a list of companies in your field and determining what opportunities they may represent. Although you probably already have some companies that you follow, you might be unaware of other similar companies that could make use of your expertise. Many tools are available on the Internet to help you identify these companies.
GOOGLE MAPS. If you would prefer not to move to another city or state, you can focus your search on local companies by using the “Search Nearby” function in Google Maps. Go to maps.google.com, and enter your location. When the map is displayed, click “Search Nearby,” and type in a keyword such as “chem,” which matches both “chemistry” and “chemical.” You’ll get a map showing the companies that have those keywords in their description. By varying the specificity of the keywords, and using the zoom function on the map, you’ll be able to identify any relevant companies within an acceptable distance from your home.
NAICS CODES. If you’re flexible about location, but want to zero in on a particular type of company, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes—which are used by federal statistical agencies to classify businesses—can be a powerful tool to identify firms within categories that interest you. First, think of a company that does the type of work you’d like to do. Then do a Google search on that company’s name, along with the keyword “NAICS,” to obtain the code(s) for the company. Next, use a site such as WebstersOnline.com to find similar companies. For example, one of Sigma Aldrich’s NAICS numbers is 325199, which puts it in the “All Other Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing” category. A search of that NAICS number on Websters Online yields firms such as Novozymes and AkzoNobel.
LINKEDIN. LinkedIn.com can also be used to find companies. The “Search Companies” tool accessible through the “Companies” tab allows you to filter searches by location, industry, and company size. Once you identify a company you’re interested in, you can read its corporate description and see how you’re connected to people at that company. You just might know someone who knows someone else who works there, and you can use those connections to find inside information on job opportunities.
CRAIGSLIST. Small companies are increasingly posting job openings on Craigslist.org and often don’t post those ads anywhere else. On the home page, select the city that interests you. Then under the “Jobs” heading, you can further narrow your search by specific category, such as biotech/science, medical/health, or business/management. By skimming through multiple categories on a regular basis, you can turn up interesting opportunities that you might not discover any other way.
DISCUSSION GROUPS. Join relevant e-mail lists and discussion groups on LinkedIn or the ACS Network. Check previous postings and discussions, and identify companies that have been hiring. Look at the signature files and e-mail addresses of other participants, and research the companies where they work.
Whether or not you are currently looking for a new position, knowing what companies are out there and which are hiring is prudent. The tools listed above can go a long way toward 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 (www.acs.org/network-careers).