searchIn all the years I’ve been working with job seekers, I’ve rarely come across a job seeker, Job Developer or Career Advisor who has used ReferenceUSA for conducting a job search. Yet, this free online database is the perfect tool for researching companies. Most people use LinkedIn or Glassdoor for conducting their research, while others google companies names, review the company’s websites, or hope and pray that by googling a company they will learn something new.

ReferenceUSA allows a person to search companies and create spreadsheets based on various filters such as standard industry codes (SIC), business size, state, metropolitan area, city and even narrowing your search to a specific zip code. It also allows a person to see # of employees, business size and in some instances gives you the names of decisions makers within a company. Most importantly, this database is free as long as you have a Library card.

For this post, I’ll give an example of how this tool could help a job seeker looking for a position as medical assistant in San Francisco. They have looked for jobs using traditional methods (craigslist, monster and other job seeking websites), but nothing has materialized. They are interested in breaking into this field, but they only know of the hospitals and large medical centers. If only they had a list of all health service providers in San Francisco, they could use this list to contact employers for potential opportunities.

Step 1

If you do not know any health services providers, Google something you know will lead you to what you’re looking for. For this post, I googled “Community Clinics”. From this search I came up with “Curry Senior Center”, which I will use for my first search in ReferenceUSA. My first search in the database is used to locate the Standard Industry Code (SIC). By knowing what the SIC code is, I can filter my next search for “Health Service providers” in “San Francisco”.

ReferenceUSA page

Add some relevant search criteria


ReferenceUSA page

Select from delivered search results


ReferenceUSA webpage

Using SIC code is one easy way to ID employers in your field


Step 2

Now that I have the SIC code: 8099, I will go back to the original search screen and create a custom search (see tab) that will be based on the following filters:
● Business Type (SIC code: 8099)
● Geography – (Metro Area)
● Business Size (as I would like a company with 10 or more employees)
On the upper right side of the screen you will see “show results”. After you click this button, you will now have a list of any business that was classified as “Health Services”.

ReferenceUSA webpage

Can use SIC code to create custom search

Step 3

Now that you have a list of all businesses within the metro area of San Francisco that have been classified as a “Health services with 10 or more employees” (11 pages), you can pick and choose the businesses you’d like to download into a spreadsheet. For this post, I’m going to choose all of the first page, and BAM, you will now have a list to start making call, or start researching via using other tools (LinkedIn, Glassdoor and such).

ReferenceUSA page

Use your filtered results to select employers you’re interested in

Just the Tip of What ReferenceUSA Can Do

As you can see, ReferenceUSA is an incredible database. For this post, I’ve limited many of the features to give a basic overview of its powers. I’ve used this tool as a way to show job seekers a broader outlook of where one could look for opportunities. The spreadsheet you download could also be used as a job search log to make notes on where you’ve applied; the status of what one is doing, and where to follow up.

For more about ReferenceUSA, there are some great tutorials on YouTube. I would welcome any comments on how to use this database or any other databases out there for job searching.

Hope this helps someone and remember to go out and make something happen!!!

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by Troy Henry