Try these 5 steps to get started (in fact, you may want to make a simple table with columns to help keep track):

  • Identify the geographical location you want to be in. If it’s where you currently reside, then pick a 20-mile radius (smaller or greater depending on your circumstances).
  • Make a list of all the functional job categories that might be a good fit.
  • Make another list of the type of industries you want to work in (technology, medical device, sporting, etc.)
  • Do a “long tail search” online using combinations of the first 3 items listed. If you’re not familiar with the term, think of the game show Jeopardy where all the answers are in the form of a question.
  • Track your “Top 10” favorite company discoveries.

For example, if you want to work in Carlsbad, California as a project manager in a medical device company, you would go to your favorite search engine and type in “what are project manager jobs in medical device companies in Carlsbad, California.” Long tail searches (to use a technical term in a slightly different context) mean more specifics in your query, which will likely result in more specific hits than simple words or phrases would alone. Think of it this way, if you only type in “jobs in Carlsbad CA” you will likely see a tremendous number of job postings, but not necessarily the ones you are most interested in pursuing.

Go through your entire list combinations of location + functional job category + industry to see what pops up in your search. Then, get more focused. Identify your “Top 10” companies that seem the most interesting and begin researching these. You can also try “long tail searches” in LinkedIn.