Reference USA (now Reference Solutions), a 60-million business on-line database, is a big data job search dream. Big businesses, medium-sized businesses, small businesses, it has them all!
It’s an almost complete directory of US businesses and government entities. Beyond that, Reference Solutions/Reference USA is searchable by several fields that job seekers care about, including:
- Sales volume
- Number of employees
The search results help job seekers find and focus their efforts on the best potential employers. Thus, they save a lot of time.
Users can enter search terms, and the database will return a list of matching employers. From there, it lets people drill down on each employer for more information and a link to the company’s website.
Free Access to the Reference Solutions/Reference USA Database
If you’re asking, “How much does Reference Solutions/Reference USA cost?” I have the best answer. It’s free.
If you’re wondering where to find it, about 85% of US public libraries subscribe to the database. They offer free access to anyone who has a library card.
Thus, a job seeker can drop into their library, go to the reference desk, and ask a librarian to show them how to access Reference Solutions/Reference USA there and from home.
Most libraries provide online access to the database, so job seekers don’t have to visit their libraries.
You can go to your library’s website and check the Electronic Resources section to see if they carry Reference Solutions/Reference USA.
I need my library card and its PIN to get access. I get a free download of a certain amount of files per day — more than enough to keep a job seeker busy with employer leads.
If your library doesn’t offer the database, you can ask to get access via a partner library.
It’s Easy to Learn How to Use Reference Solutions/Reference USA
After logging in, the database is easy to use. Job seekers can teach themselves. If that’s not comfortable, they can ask a reference librarian to walk them through it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reference librarians are there for just that and have a great deal of job search research expertise.
You can also watch this helpful video on the basics and then have at it:
Searching for Businesses on Reference Solutions/Reference USA
I also like this video that shows how to find businesses using the database:
Also, don’t miss the comments below. You will find more learning resources and a story about a happy outcome!
Guidestar, a Similar Database for Nonprofits
But what if a job seeker wants to work for a nonprofit? Good news! There’s a similar database for that — Guidestar.org. It lists almost all of the nonprofits in the U.S.
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Updated February 2021
© 2010 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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