Job Hunting? How to Align with Target Companies

Written by Idunn Wolfe
Graphic Design by Mohamed Hassan & Andrea Piacquadio

Four hands give a fist bump above a desk covered in business materials like newspapers, notepads, and phones/tablets

Can’t get no satisfaction? Job hunting can leave you a rolling stone, endlessly cycling through soul-sucking jobs. But you can break free and land a job you enjoy! You might already know that having a list of target companies (employers you’d like to work for) boosts your job search efforts. And maybe you’ve been batting your eyelashes at some super dreamy ones, but is it a match? 

Compatibility is a huge part of landing a job you love. To be successful and happy with where you work, try to think like a matchmaker. Sure an initial attraction is great, but that doesn’t mean there will be a joyful union. In any relationship, it’s important to have mutual beliefs and goals that align. This concept also applies to your relationship with work. Below, you’ll get the lowdown on aligning yourself with target companies — plus, why it’s so important!

Settling for ‘any job’ can threaten your well-being

There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a job to get by, especially in scary times like these. But long term, working somewhere you don’t care for takes a toll on your mental and physical health. Negative effects can range from persistent aches to depression and cardiovascular disease. Personal and professional goals also tend to suffer. Meanwhile, happy workers tend to be healthier, more productive, and achieve promotions faster. With so much on the line, there’s no time to waste. Stop worrying about what employers want for now, and focus on what you are looking for instead.

Person leaning close to mirror smiles at their reflection

Job hunting should center around you

They say the universe doesn’t revolve around you, but your job search should! It may seem backward at first, but this is exactly what aligning with target companies is all about. It means finding an organization with beliefs and practices that match yours.

A company’s values shape its policies and actions, and it works the same way for oneself. Consider which parts of your life and vocation motivate you, and what saps your energy. Self-discovery is often harder than it seems, so don’t worry if you feel stuck! The following questions can help you identify your core values and deal-breakers.

Questions to ask yourself before job hunting

While asking yourself these questions, take your time and observe your emotional reactions.

  • Are there elements of an old job or volunteer role you would still enjoy?

  • Consider how different management styles have (or haven’t) worked for you. If you’re new to the workforce, think back to an instructor’s teaching style.

  • Do you have a personal mission or goal that might align with a company’s vision? 

  • What kind of workplace culture do you mesh with? Maybe you prefer an informal atmosphere where coworkers feel like family. 

  • Is continued education in your workplace important to you? Some businesses offer their employees lots of opportunities for learning. Others not as much.

  • Company or department size often changes the day-to-day life of the job. Are you someone that likes small organizations where you can wear many hats?

  • Where have you worked before that you just hated? If you know the reasons you disliked being there, you can flag things to look out for as you go job hunting. 

  • Consider what sparks some joy or would make your life easier. This can range from commute length to flexibility for parents and military families. Strong support for the LGBTQA+ community is another great attribute to search for!

It’s time to get back out there

With your core values and deal-breakers identified, you’re ready to target companies. Fire up Google and LinkedIn and search for organizations with desired characteristics. Company websites often have vision or mission statements that can be useful. While you’re at it, give its social media accounts a scroll or three. Posted content can reveal a lot about the ideals there. (Speaking of online presence, how’s your LinkedIn profile looking?)

It’s also helpful to research whether the company follows through on its values. To that end, websites like Glassdoor or Comparably can give you an idea of what it’s like to work there. Another great option is to connect with previous employees through LinkedIn! Flex your networking muscles and set up some informational interviews. Ask about how their experience was.

Keep going until you find ‘the one’

Aligning with companies you share values with has a major impact on your life. As you search for jobs, it concentrates your efforts and sets you up for long-term success. So don’t give up until you find a job that’s a real catch! You deserve the benefits of a happy work-life. And to give your list of target companies a start, try this. If you’re looking for more ways to develop your career, check out our career development online courses here. Have a Super Day!