THE BLOG

4 Easy Ways to Figure Out Which Company You Want to Work For

04/01/2015 04:30 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2015

For many of us, our job tends to be the one thing that occupies at least a third of our day, especially during some of our most productive hours. What we do during that time can have a major impact on the mood we start and end our day with, and ripple into all areas of our life if we don't end up in the right situation, at the right company. But how exactly do you find the right company which has what you need such as culture, salary, or work-life balance?

Sure, it's easy to attend a career fair at your university or take part in a local industry networking event to get a sense of what companies may be hiring. But in an effort to get a better feel for which company is right for you (the company you want to work for), here are 4 easy ways to figure that out:

1. Check out one of the annual "Best Companies to Work For" articles, like the one published in Huffington Post for 2014.

These articles are typically independently built on feedback from current and former employees via leading employment sites such as Glassdoor.com. While every company type may not be represented in this list, for those seeking a well known, reputable and positively reviewed work experience, this is certainly a good place to start.

2. Go to Google and search, "Best Places to Work in _________" and insert your city.

Whether it's your current location or perhaps a desired location for the future, this is a great way to narrow the results. We sampled a few cities such as Toronto, New York, and San Francisco (amongst others) and were overwhelmed (in a positive way) by the amount of local options and resources readily available for consideration.

3. Visit your university's alumni directory, filter the results by location, job type, or industry and make the connection.

In a world built on personal connections, there's no easier cold-email to send than to a fellow alumni or student who works at a company you might be interested in working at. If you can secure a phone call or coffee meeting that's great, but if not, don't fret. You're simply trying to figure out if the company's culture your fellow alumni work at could be right for you. Ask a few questions, let the other person share their advice, and be sure to frame up the dialogue around the fact you might interested in working at 'Company X', and are looking for advice on whether their inside knowledge of the culture aligns to who you are as a professional. Don't forget to write a thank you note afterwards!

4. Reach out to your LinkedIn connections

It's one thing to have an opinion about who you are as a person and as a professional and in many cases, it's a slightly different perspective when delivered from someone else such as a friend or a mentor. Open yourself up to feedback and get in touch with your trusted network on LinkedIn with a simple message to those who know you well. You can mention that you're in the job market and are trying to figure out which company to work for. Based on your connection's relationship with yourself and what they know about you, ask for a recommendation of companies they might think would be a good fit for you. You never know, but they may also include a contact in their network for you to reach out to so that you can fast track the discovery or application phase.

At the end of the day, figuring out which company you want to work for is a personal journey. Whether your requirements are the right work-life balance, salary, or company culture, what may be the perfect match for one person, may in fact be a complete bust for you. But, when you do your homework by exploring the options from any one or all of the ideas above, you put yourself in a position to pursue a company that you're comfortable with and hopefully excited to join.

If you've got any other ideas that have worked for you, please be sure to tweet or email us.