Reference USA (now Reference Solutions), a 43-million active business online 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. Beyond that, Reference Solutions/Reference USA can be searched by several fields that job seekers care about, including:
- 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 the database cost?” I have the best answer. It’s free.
About 85% of US public libraries subscribe to the database if you’re wondering where to find it. They provide 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 the database there and from home.
However, most libraries provide online access to the database, so job seekers don’t have to visit their libraries in person.
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.
Watch this video for an in-depth understanding of how to research businesses and spot target companies:
Watch this video to understand the complete integration between the database and Indeed’s job ads:
You can also:
- Register for a bi-monthly webinar offered by Reference Solutions, especially for job seekers, on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 10:00 a.m. CT.
- Ask a reference librarian for help.
- Click around and discover how to use the database by experimenting with it.
Plus, 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 January 2022
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Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
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