As a career coach one term I use a lot is “interview bucket list.”

Whether I’m talking about the job search, career change, or networking, I’m always telling clients that it’s important to create a bucket list of 10-20 companies where you would love to work.

The process of creating such a list is so ingrained in me that I sometimes forget that this process can be intimidating to those who have never even thought of putting together such a list.

If you’re going to spend so much time on this list, you want to make sure that you get it right. Here are some ways to make you have the right type of companies on your list.

Start By Getting Some Personal Matters In Order

In order to create an effective bucket list it’s critical to have a decent understanding of what industry you want to work in, your key skill sets, and positions that you may fit into. From there, it’s important to determine where you want to work. Are you looking to stay close to where you currently live? Move to another area? Are you open to any location?

Deciding these important matters will help you narrow down your search, or maybe even expand it. Once you have this basic criteria, you can begin the next step.

Research Companies

There are multiple ways to find potential companies worthy of being on your list.

If you’re looking for local companies, it could be a matter of taking a drive, or reaching out to your network for recommendations.

Chances are you probably already have some great companies in mind, but it’s also important to expand your horizons, because it could be a company that you’re not familiar with that’s actually a perfect fit.

It’s likely that a large part of your search will be done over the internet. You can find a lot of great companies by searching industry websites, news and business websites, and trade publications.

Once you get a list of companies going, you’ll need to take a deeper dive into each one of them by visiting their individual websites, social media accounts, and reviewing any news stories about them.

It’s also beneficial to view sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to read employee reviews about working at the company.

At this point you may be feeling a little overwhelmed with information, and still unsure of whether or not these companies are worthy of your bucket list. Fortunately, there’s a good strategy for finalizing your list.

Find Your Personal Connection

When you’re researching companies, you’ll be inundated with information about company culture, perks and benefits, and salary information. These are factors to consider, but shouldn’t be deciding factors in determining what companies go on your bucket list.

In addition, some of these companies may not be hiring, but that’s irrelevant at this point in the process. The goal here is to put together a list.

The determining factor of whether or not a company belongs on your bucket list is respect and admiration. If you don’t respect or admire a company, it probably doesn’t belong on your list.

When you respect and admire a company, you can make a connection to its purpose. Companies are in the business of solving a problem for their customers, how can you fit into the company’s plans for solving this problem? Is there a personal reason why you connect to solving this problem, or connect with the company?

The more passionate you are about a company’s mission, the more fulfilling your career with that company could be. Once you start viewing your bucket list from this prism, it becomes a lot easier to make.

Build Your Network

Not all of these companies may be hiring initially, but now you have a list of companies that you can continually monitor. In addition, this is also a great opportunity to build your network.

Identify five people at each company and find ways to connect with them. Obviously, a referral by a shared connection is your best bet. But, if you don’t have a shared connection, you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone and try to connect with strangers via LinkedIn.

The goal is to ask them to connect in hopes you can learn more about the company and what it might take to earn a position there. Stress to them that you aren’t looking for them to help you get a job, just some insight as to what the process is like.

Not everyone will connect, but some will. These connections may start small with a few casual conversations, but the more you find in common with these connections, the more opportunity you’ll have for meaningful conversations, and to build trust and mutual respect.

The more of these connections you build, the more opportunity you have to earn a referral to one of your bucket list companies, or gain insight about other great companies that may be worth your time.

As you can see, building a bucket list is the key that can potentially unlock new job opportunities and networking connections.

Looking For Additional Support?

Consider a membership to my company, Work It Daily. At Work It Daily, we use a combination of coaching and community to help our members reach their career goals.

If you’re unsure about a membership but  would like to sample WID’s services, check out our Job Search Summit on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The virtual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET). This all-day summit will cover everything you need to know about the online job search, and give you a good sense of the resources available on the Work It Daily platform.

For just a 1-time $10 fee, you’ll receive access to:

– Exclusive trainings on perfecting your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile

– Discover the trick to successful networking (even during a pandemic)

– How to properly prepare for ANY job interview

Check Out These Great FREE Resources

Communication Style Quiz

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