A directory contains names and addresses of organizations, names and titles of people in those organizations, and sometimes includes additional information about each organization. Using directories to identify potential employers is a common way of applying for jobs. You can expand your job prospects by identifying organizations that interest you, and contact them directly, without knowing whether or not they have any openings.
Applicants often misuse this approach by assuming that all they have to do is to find a list of names and addresses (like those found in a directory) and send a resume and a cover letter to as many organizations as possible. This "mass mailing" approach has been proven to be the least effective way to find a job. Using directories as a job search tool can be an effective strategy only if you have clarified your current career goals and done your research.
First, identify occupations of interest and learn as much as you can about them. Use the resources on the career information shelves in the CDO, and talk to people doing the work you're considering. Use the Interviewing for Information handout, for suggestions. Assess your strengths and weaknesses related to what you have learned about each occupation or career field. Then, using directories, identify prospective employers for those occupations and learn as much as you can about those organizations. Use the Researching an Organization handout, to help you with your research. If you have done all of this "homework," you will be able to be specific about what you are seeking and where you "fit" in each organization when you contact them for the first time.
Your first contact may be for the purpose of getting information (see Networking). Or, using the information gathered through your research, your first contact (write, call or visit) may be to inquire about current openings that match your career goals. Contacting the manager or supervisor in the department or function in which you're most interested is the most effective way to use this approach.
The CDO has a variety of employer directories. What follows is a partial list of current directories and where they are located.
Geographic Directories Shelf
Business and Industrial Directories Shelf
Education Directories Shelf
Government Directories Shelf
Health, Human Service and Non-Profit Directories Shelf
Arts and Media Directories Shelf
TIPS: Check the internship and summer employment directories to identify possibilities for job prospects. The organizations listed also hire full-time employees.
Some of the books on the career information shelves also contain directory information that can be used to identify potential prospects.