Researching Potential Employers (ELT111)

Contents of the Researching Potential Employers Tutorial

Things you need to know to start

SIC and NAICS Codes Picture of written numbers

In this tutorial, you will be using business directories. These directories use a system of numbers to arrange businesses by type, so the user can find, for example, all the manufacturers of communications equipment.

These numbers are explained in this Short video

Test youself on what you learned Just click on the answers, or use the forward and back buttons to navigate.

You can look up codes here when you need them:


What Kind of Company?question mark

  • A public company is one that sells stock on the open market
  • It is relatively easy to find detailed information about U.S. public companies, because they are required to register with and report to the Securities and Exchange Commission; their stock prices are reported daily
  • Small, local companies are usually private
  • A large company may be either private or public
  • Some large companies are private, e.g., Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Private companies are not required to disclose financials and other information

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.


Using Online DirectoriesPicture of computer

Online business directories that Chemeketa subscribes to are found on the Chemeketa Library's database pages.

Let's take a look at a business directory. Business Insights: Essentials is explained in this short video. Here's a link to the Business Insights: Essentials database.

thumbnail picture of video screen.

Another business directory is LexisNexis Academic. You must have your SIC code prepared ahead of time when you search, because LexisNexis does not provide a lookup feature. Once you have done your search, you may look at several different directory sources within LexisNexis.

Below is a short video on using LexisNexis. Please note: The Power Search referred to in the video is now called the Advanced Search.

thumbnail picture of video screen
Please watch the LexisNexis Video. Here's a link to the Lexis Nexis Academic database.

The two directories described in the videos cover mainly large companies, both public and private. To find smaller local companies, the Reference USA business directory is ideal. Below is a short video on using it.

thumbnail picture of video screen
Please watch the Reference USA Video. Here's a link to the Reference USA database.


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:

  • Number of employees (The more employees, the more openings)
  • Geographical location's climate, cost of living, etc. (Can you ski? How much will a house cost?)
  • Length of time in business (Is this a stable company?)
  • Reputation
  • Financial standing (Will this company still be around in six months?)
  • Compensation and benefits

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 near the top of the page. 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.


To comment or request help, please e-mail Reference or call 503.399.5231.

Address of this page: http://library.chemeketa.edu/instruction/handouts/ELT111.php

Updated: 14 October 2013