Targeting companies you want to work for can be an effective job-search strategy, particularly if you make connections with people who already work there. But which companies should you target?
While it's smart to approach your dream company about a job regardless of whether it has advertised openings, it's also a good idea to know which employers are hiring and think about how you might fit in there. Don't make the mistake of looking only in your industry. Especially if you've been unable to find a job for months, brainstorm how your skills could be valuable to companies outside your normal playing field.
"[Job seekers tend to] get too locked into their own background," says Doug Arms, senior vice president of Ajilon Professional Staffing. "Instead, [ask yourself], OK, what am I good at?"
[In Pictures: 9 Companies Hiring Now.]
To help you think outside your box, here are nine companies hiring right now:
1. Boeing. The company has more then 500 openings and plans to hire a total of 4,000 to 5,000 employees this year, says company spokesman Peter Pedraza. The bulk of those positions are located in the Puget Sound region in Washington, followed by Charleston, S. C., but the company's also hiring at headquarters in Chicago and other facilities throughout the country.
Boeing's looking first and foremost for engineers. It also has openings for skilled technical workers to assemble aircraft, cyber-security and intelligence specialists, and workers with knowledge in business and finance. The company employs a total of about 165,000 people. "We look for individuals who have a passion for technology and innovation," Pedraza says.
The company is also hiring about 1,000 interns this year.
Jobs website: www.boeing.com/careers
2. Google. The Internet giant is hiring more employees this year than any other, including its record of 6,000 hires in 2007. It now has about 26,000 employees who work in 60 offices in 30 countries. The majority of Google's open positions are in engineering and sales, but the company is also hiring for its communications, legal, and HR teams. While the bulk of those positions are located at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., other offices are also growing significantly, including those in Seattle and New York City.
"We're looking for people who are leaders in their schools, their industries, their current companies," says Shannon Deegan, Google's director of central staffing. "We want people that everyone's going to want to work with." They're hiring both new graduates and mid-level employees, Deegan says.
Jobs website: http://google.com/jobs
3. Caterpillar. This construction-equipment manufacturer's worldwide employment was up 19,000 in March compared with March 2010. And it's still hiring; the company is looking to add about 300 people to its payroll, most as production workers in factories, says spokesman Jim Dugan. They're also hiring a significant number of engineers, as well as supporting and management positions, including account and HR support.
Based in Peoria, Ill., Caterpillar has a total of 105,000 employees worldwide.
Jobs website: http://www.caterpillar.com/careers
4. Scottrade. This online brokerage firm is looking to make 140 information technology hires by the end of this year. Most of those positions are at the company's headquarters in St. Louis, while others are located outside Denver. Those professionals will work on projects ranging from creating new security standards to updating trading websites to helping with the roll-out of new retail banking products, says Stacey Hattle, Scottrade's director of human resources.
The company has a total of 3,500 employees nationwide, including 450 interns. The intern track is likely to turn into a job; last year, nearly 60 percent of interns who graduated from college were hired for a full-time position. And here's something that's appealing in this post-recession economy: Since its founding in 1980, Scottrade has never had a layoff, Hattle says.
Jobs website: http://careers.scottrade.com/
5. CVS. The pharmacy retailer has about 1,000 positions open nationwide. Hiring managers are looking for people to work in their stores, as well as information technology specialists, data analysts, financial analysts, application developers, pharmacy technicians, and more.
Headquartered in Woonsocket, R.I., CVS is hiring at locations throughout the country. And if you live in upstate New York or want to move there, ask specifically about opportunities in Chemung. The company is hiring 300 people to staff a new distribution center there.
How can you get your foot in the door? "The first thing we look for are folks who have a bent toward customer service," says David Casey, CVS's vice president of workforce strategies and chief diversity officer. "That's whether they're facing external customers or internal customers. We're a company that's focused on service, so that's really our lens [through which we evaluate candidates]."
Jobs website: http://cvs.com/careers
6. Amazon. Amazon did not respond to inquiries for information, but the company is opening two facilities in Tennessee this fall, creating 1,200 jobs, WSMV-TV reports. It also has plans to open a facility in West Virginia, creating 200 jobs by 2014, Bloomberg writes. And a new distribution center in Seattle, where Amazon's headquartered, will also mean more available positions, The Seattle Times reports. On Amazon's website, the online marketplace lists positions open in product management, sales, and software development.
Jobs website: http://amazon.com/careers
7. Wal-Mart. "A lot of people maybe just think of Wal-Mart from the retail aspect," says Jennifer Siedner, the company's senior director of talent acquisition, "but they don't always think of the support functions." That means if you work in human resources or information technology, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant may want you on its payroll. And yes, it's hiring for both full-time and part-time in-store positions, too.
Openings are scattered throughout the country, with information-technology positions clustered at headquarters. But there are pockets of hiring spikes in certain locations, mainly in cities where Wal-Mart has plans to open new stores. In Chicago, a new store opening is expected to create 10,000 jobs over the next five years, as well as 2,000 unionized construction jobs, Siedner says. In Washington, D.C., 1,200 in-store jobs and 400 construction positions are expected to pop up during the next two years. And in South Carolina, where Wal-Mart also plans to open new stores, the company will hire about 4,000 new employees over the next five years.
For managers, proven experience is a must, but it doesn't have to be in the retail industry, Siedner says. "We have several successful associates who have transitioned from other industries, maybe food service, hospitality, even military."
Jobs website: http://walmartstores.com/careers/
8. Facebook. The company declined to talk about employment opportunities, but it lists hundreds of openings on its website. Facebook is looking for recruiters, salespeople, data analysts, engineers, business associates, and more. Palo Alto, Calif., the company's headquarters, boasts most of the openings, but others are scattered throughout the country and the globe. Facebook is known for its perks, including three free meals a day for employees who work at headquarters.
Jobs website: http://www.facebook.com/careers/
Twitter: @FacebookCareers exists, but isn't yet used
9. Medifast. This maker of diet foods has nearly 150 openings nationwide and will likely have even more in the coming months, says Medifast recruiter Zach Wilt. Twenty of those positions are at headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., and others are at weight-loss control centers in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Florida, and Texas. Medifast is looking for registered dieticians and weight-loss counselors, as well as salespeople and managers.
To impress Medifast's hiring managers, come to the interview with a solid understanding of what the company does, without making the mistake of calling it a healthcare company, Wilt says. And look to interact with the company on its Twitter feed or Facebook page, because both are moderated by the company's recruiters.