I am a research aficionado myself, and have found a little elbow grease goes a long way in helping you with a job search, finding a speaking gig, identifying new clients to build a relationship with, preparing for a networking event, etc. If you are going into interviews without a minimum of 2-4 hours research on the company you are interviewing with, then you might as well not go because you don’t really want the the job that much. Yeah, I said it. Sorry, but it’s true. Same principle applies to calling a client, going to a client meeting, and attending a networking event (make sure to read An Introverted Girl’s Guide to Successful Networking). I have listed the research tools for you below. To determine what to look for, or how to use this information, see the next in this series: Got Research? Get a Gig – Here’s How. Happy Data Gathering!
Here are the 7 resources you should start using immediately for any endeavor. I personally use the Newport Beach library – an awesome place, as is the Huntington Beach library, but all libraries should have access for you if you have a library card. College libraries are also amazing places to check out! Skip Starbucks & Panera’s – head to the best place for information.
- Encyclopedia of Associations: a listing of over 150,000 Groups, Trade Associations, Cultural & Religious Organizations, Fan clubs, etc. It provides leader names and contact information, website(s), publications etc. A tremendously valuable resource for finding places to speak and places to submit your articles as well as to network during your job search (remember to begin all your networking before you need it – makes all the difference).
- Reference USA database: online access to companies across the US, with the ability to search specifically by company industry, size, etc. Provides leader names and numbers, website, address, high level financial information and more. Very useful for many items. Also shows competitors, and some news items. I use this for almost all my clients, to point them in the direction of companies to interview for, to network with, and who to cold call. (bonus tip: combine it with LinkedIn info to make it a stronger and more useful list by building relationships from within).
- (OC) Book of Lists: the OC Book of Lists is specifically for Orange County, but offers a plethora of information on the companies available there. The Business Journals of all major cities have one, and it is accessible in your major library online system & reference section. I have actually purchased some for several major cities, but there are ways to get access to them cheaply or for free if you are looking to relocate & need info. There is also a feature for you to create your own Book of Lists – I use that tool as well.
- The Orange County Business Journal: I like searching this for companies I am targeting to get more information about the latest going on with their leaders and company involvement, activities & issues. Helps me to be more relevant when trying to contact them or for speaking to them. Also incredibly useful for job search targeting, and interview preparation. Will use on occasion for networking events.
- There are also other online news databases which provide supporting information for those companies you are targeting, to provide more relevant information, and to create a more well rounded picture of the organization and its leaders. Check you library’s online databases to see what you can access.
- HARO: help a reporter out. Great little tool which offers a query posting service to assist people looking for individuals with expertise or experiences. Also provides you, the speaker, with a tool to look for resources. It can also help you find partners or items to offer people at your seminars and workshops. For the unemployed, gives you access to people looking to be interviewed, which may help with any research you are doing for a problem in your industry or at target companies. And so much more.
- LinkedIn: yes, you read that right! LinkedIn advanced search capabilities allow you to target groups, companies, and individuals by title or function – and allows you to immediately connect by seeing if you have a shared connection, group, etc. and may allow you to get a quicker response. Provides information for better networking by finding and establishing some commonality. For more info on how to use LinkedIn to enhance networking, check out my other post: An Introverted Girl’s Guide to Successful Networking
As you can see, there is really no excuse why you cannot be connecting with people to have you speaking to decision makers & the right people for a job, speaking opportunities, potential clients all by next month! Getting in front of the people who need to hear your message or who can benefit from your services, is not longer as difficult in the social media age! Give it a try.
If you need help, or would like me to do some searches for you, just shoot me an email! I do this for clients all the time.
As always, if you know of other valuable resources for our group, please do not hesitate to add a comment and let us know!