Do you have a list of target companies? If not, here’s why you should!

If someone asked you to give them a list of the companies you want to work for, could you hand it to them today?

If not, that's what you're going to create in today's 15 minutes of professional networking.

First, what is a target company list?

It's a list of the companies you would be interested in learning more about to see if you want to work there.

Why do you need one?

The target company list helps the people you already know connect you with people they know.

If you say to one of your existing connections, "Who do you know?" they have no place to start thinking about people they know.

If you give them an anchor point in the form of your target company list, it gives their brain a place to focus and they can say, "Company A, I know someone there," or "You don't have Company B on your list, have you ever thought of working there? I know some people I could introduce you to."

Today, you are going to set your timer for 15 minutes.

You are going to look at the list of people you created and the places they work.

You created this on Day 1 and Day 2.

Using LinkedIn, you are going to click on the company name in your connections' profiles, read about the company, and decide if you want to add that company to a list.

It can be on paper, in a Word document, or on a spreadsheet.

It doesn't matter where you write down the names of the companies you are interested in as long as it is something you can email or print off and physically hand to someone.

If you already know of some companies you'd like to work for, add them to the list as well.

You don't have to know people at the companies on your list today.

Eventually, you are going to meet someone at these companies and they will become part of your professional network.

Got your timer set?

Ready, set, go!

When the timer expires, stop!

How did you do?

Do you have some companies on the list?

Keep this list accessible.

You are going to use it every time you meet with one of your professional contacts.

If you want to spend some time cleaning it up or expanding on it, go ahead, but don't over think it.

It's a tool to generate conversation and connections.

Next up, we are going to focus on how to use the lists of people and target companies you have already created to start expanding your professional network beyond the people you already know.