On Sourcing Employers: Database Deep Dive

Why create a target list or source employers? Many students that I meet with have their sights set on the Big 4, or well-known names that have a large marketing presence. They think they already know exactly who they want to work for.  Unfortunately, by only approaching the job search from this name-brand perspective, you may be overlooking a great deal of opportunity. According to “The 2-Hour Job Search,” 99% of overall employers have fewer than one hundred employees (Dalton, 16)! That’s an exponential amount of untapped opportunities to explore in the job search.

There are a few methods of sourcing employers, but one that utilizes key university resources that you have access to as a DePaul KGSB student are university library databases. I met with my fellow Career Specialist, Enrique Guerrero, to learn from DePaul University Librarian Brian DeHart about these databases, and what to keep in mind while searching. I often advise students to think of their job search as a research project…they already have the skills for this over the years of school (especially as a graduate student!) and utilizing databases to create a target list is one of the most research-project-esq tactics! We discussed the following three in depth:

  1. LexisNexis: As a grad student, you probably have familiarity with this resource, but you may not have known that you can create a company list with this! To access this resource, click on “Create a Company List via LexisNexis.”  Here, you will be able to search by various information including company size, sales/revenue, NAICS code or SIC code. In case you didn’t know, NAICS and SIC codes were derived by the federal government to categorize employers. NAICS is the newer version, but using one or the other to select the industry in which you want to search employers for will be helpful in your database search.
  2. Business Source Complete: Business Source Complete is a division of the EBSCO database that focuses on current company profiles, and a SWOT analysis from the market research firm MarketLine. This will be a helpful resource in researching employers and learning more about what they’re up to.
  3. Reference USA: Reference USA will allow you to perform similar functions to creating an employer list through LexisNexis. Advantages of this resource over LexisNexis: it connects directly to Indeed, so while you’re creating your employer list, you will simultaneously be able to see if an employer is hiring at the time. Also, it is connected through the Yellow Pages, so you will have greater access to the super small businesses, if that is what you are looking for. Disadvantages over LexisNexis: There is so much data and it is difficult to tell how up-to-date it is, so you may find employers that are no longer in business.

Whichever resource you choose, make sure you do your research in the job search! If you have any questions about making an employer list in your job search, schedule a career advising appointment with CMC.

To learn more about how to use databases and how to effectively utilize them to build your employer list, save the date for in an interactive and informative upcoming workshop presented by the CMC,  “Kellstadt Build Series: Developing a Target List” on May 4th from 4:30-5:30 in the DePaul Center room 5800.

Additionally, if you have any questions about how to use databases and university library resources, you can schedule an appointment to meet with DePaul Librarian Brian DeHart.


Hello, how are you?

Writing a generic LinkedIn invitation is the equivalent of replying “K” to a text message. It has become common practice for people to want to grow their LinkedIn connections when seeking a new opportunity but it doesn’t do you any favors by sending generic or default invite messages.

This article highlights the different angles you can use to customize your message for people you might have never met to those who are already in your personal network.

Employer feedback has been persistent that they won’t accept “generic” invitations and prefer a more targeted approach signaling that you have put some effort in reaching out to them. LinkedIn serves another tool to reach out to someone if you haven’t received a response from an email or phone call. It’s another avenue to make the connection and to showcase your interest in connecting.

If you have more questions on tailoring your message please contact the cmc@depaul.edu and set up an appointment with a career specialist.

What do you want to do with your life?

Bloomberg recently published an article on best practices around answering that important question. The summer is a great time to work on your elevator pitch and practice with family and friends. Your social calendar fills up as it gets warmer outside and you never know who you’ll meet while out on the town.

The author suggests this: “First, try to answer the question quickly, but not in a way that makes you seem indifferent or uninterested. Second, be ready to deliver a two-sentence summary that will give people an idea of who you are, what you’re interested in, and what you’ve done in the past.”

The CMC has created a framework for your pitch. If you have additional questions, please contact us to speak with a career specialist.

Elevator Pitch Handout