Researching Potential EmployersPicture of magnifying glass

Things you need to know to start

SIC and NAICS Codes Picture of written numbers

SIC stands for Standard Industrial Classification. SIC is a system formerly used by the U.S. government to group businesses according to the product or service they provide. Many directories and some electronic resources use SIC to indicate the types of businesses represented, rather than use a "yellow-pages" arrangement. Therefore a user looking for a certain type of business must know the SIC code for that business in order to find companies.

The SIC system is obsolete for government use, and has been replaced by a similar system called the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Many business directories still use SIC, however.

There is a tutorial on using SIC and NAICS codes.

Look Up Codes Here:

What kind of company?question mark

If you do not find a large company in a directory, it may be private; many directories include only public companies. Another possibility is that the company you are looking for is a subsidiary, or smaller branch, of a larger company. The Reference USA database (in Online Directories) gives you information on where a company is in the chain by clicking on "Corporate Tree".

What information will you require? picture of paper with writing

In searching for a job with a potential employer you will obviously need to know at minimum the name, address, and phone number of the employer. It is advisable to know the name of a contact person within the company, also.

Picture of a key Key to symbols in the resource list below Picture of a key

First choice "First choice" = Try this one.
Includes overseas companies Includes overseas companies

Online directoriesPicture of computer

Business Insights: Essentials [Gale] Includes overseas companies
This contains both business news and directory information. If using this database from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.
Business.com Includes overseas companies
Has a clickable Web site directory by type of business.
LexisNexis AcademicIncludes overseas companies
Click on the Power Search link. A short video on using LexisNexis to search for type of company is available. For print hints on using LexisNexis, see LexisNexis Basics. If using this database from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.
First choiceReference USA
Chemeketa subscribes to this resource, which includes a directory of 14 million U.S. businesses, large and small. You can search by SIC/NAICS code, geographical location, and more. If using this database from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.
Thomas Register
A directory of manufacturing companies in North America. You can search for a product or service by key words. It is possible to limit by state after the initial keyword search. Every company listed has address and phone information; many have links to the company's Web site or catalog, or both.

Beyond basics: Finding further information about companies

Beyond the most basic name and address information, what do you need to know to evaluate whether you would wish to work for an employer? Here are some things you might want to consider:

Not all of these things are available from the same source; for some companies certain information may not be available at all. Many directories include information on the number of employees, years in business, annual sales, and/or credit rating.

Using magazines and newspapers

If you are seriously considering whether you want to work for a company, you will want to find more information than you will find in a directory. Some directories will lead you to the Web site of a company. Another way to find information is to search for newspaper and magazine articles about the company. The library Database Page has a number of resources you can use, including those below. If using these databases from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.

First choiceBusiness Insights: Essentials [Gale]
Type the company name in the Quick Search space. Articles from thousands of business journals, many in full text. Also contains detailed company information including directory information and company histories.
First choiceLexisNexis Academic (Power Search) Includes overseas companies
In addition to financials and directory information (above, under Directories), LexisNexis lets you search for business news.
  1. Click News in the navigation bar at left of the LexisNexis home page
  2. Click "Business and Insustry". Notice that you can check off additional types of business news sources to search on the search screen, if you wish
  3. Type the name of the company in the Search For space
  4. You may wish to adjust the date to a recent period instead of the default "All Available Dates."
  5. Click Search

Annual reportspicture of annual report

U.S. Public companies file annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports can be accessed on EDGAR, the SEC database.

  1. Put in the name of the company you are seeking. When you press the Enter key, a list of forms for the company will appear, in reverse chronological order.
  2. Look for the form number "10-K" in the left hand column. This will be the annual report, with substantial information about the company.

Company historiespicture of books

In addition to the sources already discussed, Chemeketa's library has an additional reference book which may be of use: International directory of company histories (R 338.74 In82) contains histories of large companies of all kinds. This resource is available online in Business Insights: Essentials.

Geographic considerations picture of a map

If your proposed job involves moving to another area of the country, try consulting Homefair. Homefair has calculators and information for those who are considering a move, including, a salary calculator to compute the cost-of-living differences among hundreds of U.S. and international cities; a moving calculator to compute the cost of shipping household goods; and reports on cities and schools.


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