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The Riley Guide

The Riley Guide: Research & Target Employers

Business & Employer Research

Many people say to me I can't find any jobs for me online. My first question is Who would hire you? This page helps you not only find the employers that you want to talk to but also learn more about employers who have invited you for interviews.

You may also be interested in Business & Employer Rankings, Unions, Associations, and Societites (professional and trade associations), and News Sources.

How to Research Employers

Job Listings

job title, keywords
city, state, zip
jobs by job search
Business Research Guide, Rutgers University Libraries
...listings of and links to thousands of business information sources.
Doing Business Research at the University of Pittsburgh
...this series of documents is still useful to those of us who (1) aren't in Pittsburgh and (2) don't have ready access to these libraries. They refer to the print and electronic media which assist in many areas of business research, and link to many Internet resources. Be aware that some things they link to may be restricted to Pitt students/faculty. However, now that you are armed with this guide, feel free to tap your office/career center library, local public library, and local college/university library, most of which are open for public use. My grandmother was a Pitt Alumnus.
Research by Subject, Ithaca College Library
This collection of online research guides provided by this academic library includes three of interest to you: Business -- Company Information, Business -- Industry Information, and Business -- International. Select the subject that interests you and on the next page select the types of resources you want included in the search. As always, some of the resources are limited to Ithaca students but there are several free public sources and you might find the subscription-based services through your own college or public library.
Researching Companies,
...a 4-step guide to researching employers with links to suggested resources.

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What's It Like to Work At....

"CareerBliss is a career community dedicated to helping you find happiness in the workplace and therefore in life." This site offers jobs, review of employers by employees, salary information for those same employers by those same employees, and the BlissFinder, their survey of your work situation designed to help you find what makes you happy (or unhappy) about your current job. This also generates the career reviews you see, so be prepared to answer questions. The nice thing is this site does not require you to register to post a review or look at most of the site. You will need to register in order to participate in some areas, which will also set you up for enewsletters and job alerts if you wish, but this does not include posting a resume, handing over your first born, etc. It's an interesting site trying to do a lot to help people figure out if they are heading into a good situation.
I'll let founder Ty Lampella explain it. "CareerLeak was started on my frustration when I finished school and was trying to find clear and honest employer information. There was Vault at the time and even Wetfeet, however I felt with the nature of the Internet there is not a need to charge for such a service. CareerLeak is completely free and currently has over 1000 job surveys listed. Each survey is reviewed and edited (for punctuation and profanity) and many are thrown out. The site specifically says Revenge posts will be removed, with the idea that many surveyors will be filling out surveys in anger. However it does allow reasonable criticism of employers." I read several reviews and have found them to be honest. Yes, some are a little down on their jobs and/or employers, but I don't see them as revengeful. I also see several very good career articles on the site. Free and open to the public. If you want their newsletter, you'll have to provide an email address. Otherwise, no registration nor sharing of personal info needed. They also offer employer-specific Salary Information, based on the information provided by the registered users of the site.
...a newer site but built along the early ideas of and Glassdoor collects surveys from current or former employees of various organizations and makes the available to you for free. The catch: in order to view the full info, you must submit a survey (either salary or review) of your own. was founded by Robert Hohman (formerly of and Rich Barton (founder of Expedia). As with all sites of this type, please take the reviews with a grain of salt and compare them with comments/reviews on other sites. A single bad review could be the product of one employee on a very bad day or one person who was really not happy with his/her job.
Kelzen Employer Check
...based in Germany, this international website lists reviews of employers from around the world. You can select an employer from the list or target a country and the employers based there. These are reviews submitted anonymously by various registered users, so you should balance these reviews with others.
...offers insider guides to companies, including many anonymous interviews with current and past employees to find out “what it's really like in there. College students may be familiar with the company's print guides. You can review “company snapshots” and some other materials here for free without registering, but the free basic registration also allows you to participate in the message boards. Some additional services and expanded reports are available for a fee that they do not disclose to you until you have filled out the basic membership., this company puts together insider guides to companies. There are Company Snapshots (shorter reports), Company Interviews (much longer), and much more for the active job seeker. Some areas may require the free registration, some reports require a fee, but much is free and open to the general user.

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Chambers of Commerce / Business Organizations

Federation Chamber Partner Search Page, US Chamber of Commerce
You can't find this by navigating through the site. I found it by accident referenced from a list of FAQs in another section of the site, but it is a list of local chambers of commerce who are partners with the US Chamber of Commerce.
American Chambers of Commerce Abroad, US Chamber of Commerce
You can browse for locations alphabetically, but under each Regional list you will find even more information and links to business resources for each area and/or country.
United States Council for International Business
USCIB was founded in 1945 to promote an open world trading system, now among the premier pro-trade, pro-market liberalization organizations. It currently features an active membership base of over 300 multinational companies, law firms and business associations.
International Chamber of Commerce
ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) is the voice of world business championing the global economy as a force for economic growth, job creation and prosperity.

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Business Directories & Corporate Profiles

Free || Fee-based

Use these to create lists of contact organizations. We have a variety of resources here, some which will let you target an industry and find all organizations in that industry, some which will give you industry andcompany profiles, and some which will only link you to a company's web page or give you their contact information. You can also use Telephone Directories to locate employers by industry and/or location. Industry-specific directories can also be found under the appropriate industry/occupational category in the jobs pages listed under Sites with Job Listings.

Free Directories and Resources

Employer Locator from CareerInfoNet
Industry Lists...Part of the free Career Tools offered by CareerInfoNet, the Employer Locator is a database of over 12 million employers in the US. This database is licensed from InfoUSA, creator of ReferenceUSA and other terrific business research tools found in libraries and corporate career centers everywhere. It will not show you if an employer has any job openings, but you can use this to find employers by industry, occupation (meaning employers who employ people in this field), location (Zip code plus distance), or Keyword. If you cannot access tools such as ReferenceUSA in your local public library, this is a good substitute. You will not have the same robust search capabilities, but you will get a lot of data from this source.
Industry Lists / Company Profiles. This provider of premium online business information allows visitors to view much of the content in their database for free, which is why I'm listing it in my Free category. You can search by industry (business category) or location, even sorting by revenue, number of employees, ownership (private or public), and much more.
Industry Lists... Developed by a team of industry experts and library scientists, the directory contains more than 400,000 listings within 25,000 industry, product and service subcategories. You can browse the listings by topic or search by a keyword or company name.
Industrial Quick Search Manufacturer Directory
Industry Lists / Company Profiles...a directory of product and/or service specific vertical directories. The full list of these directories is on the page, if you just want to browse through them, but you can search for various subcategories by product (i.e., paper) or company name. Company listings connect you to that organization's website.
Business to Business Directory, Yahoo!
A listing of companies by industry.
The Thomas Directories FREE
The Thomas directories are known throughout the world for their information and coverage within a given industry.
Industry Lists / Company contact info...the latest iteration of the Thomas Register plus the Thomas Regional guides. "Search ThomasNet to find manufacturers, distributors and service providers - from Actuators to Zirconium and everything in between." Registration is free for this service. You will be able to search the entire contents of the online directory featuring products from over 173,000 companies in the US and Canada. Search by company name, product or service, or brand name, and retrieve a list of all companies supplying that product, the address/phone/fax for their offices, and a list of all products they supply.
SoluSource (was Thomas Global)
Industry Lists / Company contact for over 500,000 industrial suppliers, organized by 10,500 industrial product classifications, in 9 languages, and from 26 countries.


In general, these will be much more in-depth with better information on the employers. Check with your local public library before you pay for these services! Your library may subscribe to these and other resources, and you may be able to access these at no charge through their website! You'll need a current borrowing card, but that's also free.

Industry Lists / Company Profiles. ReferenceUSA is a data resource for making a list of businesses. It is a terrific product, but it is only available through your local library. So, go talk to them and learn if (1) they subscribe and (2) how you, with your current library card, can access it at no cost.
Hoover's Online
Industry Lists / Company Profiles ... over 8000 company listings with profiles, contact names, and links to business news resources. Also includes industry profiles and international listings. Unfortunately the only free resource here is the list of company profiles. You can find companies by keyword company name search or by browsing the alphabetical list. Much of the standard profile information is still free to all views. Any other search, including industry lists, falls under their subscriber services. Still, Hoovers is an excellent resource.
D&B Small Business Solutions
Industry Lists / Company Profiles...Dun & Bradstreet's database allows you to find a business by name, location, D-U-N-S Number, or telephone number from their database of over 13 million U.S. companies. Includes a large number of small businesses. Users can see basic info on each company for free (address, telephone number, URLs, business principal or chief executive officer, and business size), and the initial report is divided into info for those who want to Sell To, Buy From (includes a short list of alternative suppliers), Compete Against (includes short list of competitors in this industry, same list as the alternative suppliers), Collect from, or Map to (yes, a map with driving instructions.) Note that subsidiaries or branches of a larger company will include a link to Headquarters Info. Additional in-depth reports listed under the Quick Tools can be purchased for a fee.

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Business Research Collections

Foster Business Library: Business Resources on the Web
... loads of categories including biographical databases, calculators, geographic information, Web tools, and consumer information. This directory is maintained by the University of Washington's Foster Business Library, and many sources are restricted to UW affiliates, but you'll find a lot of useful info and listings here.
Industry Research Desk
... provides tools for researching specific companies, industries, and manufacturing processes. Also includes guides to starting your online research. Service is operated by Polson Enterprises, a product development & market research firm.
Research Guides from the Baker Library, Harvard Business School
This collection of research guides was produced "to help in the use of resources at Baker and beyond for business and career research. The list below includes guides to general business topics, information on specific industries and specific course support projects that may be helpful in other contexts." While outside users will not be able to access everything, many of the subject or industry-specific guides include lists of companies (employers), trade associations (more employers plus jobs), career options, and professionals associations and organizations (networking plus jobs).
Research Guides - Business & Management
...created by the Gelman Library at George Washington University, these guides are "annotated lists of important information sources in specific subject areas." While many of the listings are print materials, they also reference many authoritative Internet sources. If you are stuck trying to find a particular piece of information about a company or organization, these could be very helpful in pointing you in the right direction.
Research & Reference Gateway: Research Guides: Business
Wonderful resource from the Rutgers University Libraries. Puts the top business research sources (both print and online) in one easy-to-use place. They've divided the collection into eighteen sections, including Business News Sources, Job Searching, Market Research, and Financing Your Business. Within each section, there are numerous sites complete with short annotations. The librarians responsible for this site have dated each section so you know the last each was updated.

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Know the Industry Codes

Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC) Codes Index
... find SIC codes for various industries. Searchable by keyword!
NAICS, the North American Industry Classification System
NAICS, a side-bar to NAFTA, will replace the countries' separate classification systems with one uniform system for classifying industries. In the United States, NAICS will replace the Standard Industrial Classification, and in fact is already in use in some sectors of the Government. From this page you will find the implementation schedule and a comparison guide between NAICS and SIC. What does this mean to your business and industry research? You should be aware of this new system but it will be a while yet until it is really integrated into the business information sector.

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