Figuring Out Your Target Companies

Ideally, as you look for internships or full-time opportunities, you will have a process of sifting through the many companies that are hiring. There are going to be opportunities that better and best align with your own personal current achievements and future goals. One of the best ways to prioritize opportunities is by looking at what your personal target companies are.

What is a “target company”? A target company, in terms of finding an ideal job opportunity for you, is a company that you want to work at and also a company that would see you as a qualified and competitive candidate. By looking at your credentials and comparing them to the qualifications listed on job applications, you can get a glimpse of whether you are a “target candidate” for particular companies. Of course, even if you seem to not be, whether your GPA is below their “preferred GPA” or whether your previous experience doesn’t stack up, still apply! There is always a chance that a company calls you back! However, if there is a disconnect between what the company seems to want from candidates pursuing the role and what you have to offer, be careful about putting that particular company into your “target company” category. 

Target companies should be companies where if you get offers, you really want to work there and you really consider accepting! This boils down to several factors, such as the industry, the role, the culture, and the “fit”. You can have safety companies (where you think getting an offer may be easier) and reach companies (where the competition for your credentials becomes tougher) on your list as well, but identifying these early on can help you predict and plan what is likely to happen. Additionally, it can help you figure out what offers you should accept versus when you should wait. By ranking companies into loose categories, you can see your own progression through the process in each category, and if you have an outstanding offer from a “safety” company, but are in the interview process for two jobs you really want at “target” companies and feel pretty confident, understanding that you’re definitely a strong candidate and have a good chance to get those jobs can help you hold off on the outstanding offer or ask for an extension to decide. On the other hand, if you have a great offer from a “target” company but are also in the interviewing process for a “reach”, it’s a good idea to realistically evaluate your chances of receiving the “reach” offer so as to not miss out on your outstanding one.


Here are some general tips for making the job search less stressful for you:

  1. Create an Excel sheet with every company that you apply to, loosely classifying them as “target”, “safety”, or “reach”.
  2. Your credentials and qualifications aren’t the only components of figuring out “target” companies, as your interests and passions also play a huge role. Do not be discouraged by long lists of preferred qualifications, but also be understanding that you may be looking for work in a competitive job market.
  3. Update it periodically whenever you have new information to add regarding the recruitment or hiring process, such as interviewing or receiving an offer.
  4. It’s a great idea to keep contact information for company representatives that you’ve met in your spreadsheet as well, to have important information all in one place.
  5. A lot of factors can go into making a company be one of your “targets,” from the rigor of their internship or full-time programs to the experiences that you’ve had with them. “Target” doesn’t have to just mean a match of credentials!
By Alina Minkova
Alina Minkova Creative Blog Curator