Reference USA

Why Reference USA Will Help You Find Your Next Job

Reference USA, a 44-million business on-line database, is a big data job search dream. Big businesses. Medium-size businesses. Small businesses. It has them all!

It’s an almost complete directory of United States businesses and government entities. Beyond that, it is searchable by several fields that job seekers care a lot about, including (but not limited to):

  1. Industry.
  2. Sales volume.
  3. Number of employees.
  4. City.
  5. State.
  6. Zip code.

The search results help job seekers find and focus their efforts on the best possible 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 detailed information and a link to the company’s website.

Free Access to Reference USA

If you’re asking, “How much does Reference USA cost?” I have the best answer of all. It’s free.

If you’re wondering where to find it, about 85% of public libraries nationwide subscribe to the database. They provide free access to any library patron who has a library card.

Thus, a job seeker can drop into their local library, go to the reference desk, and ask a librarian to show them how to access Reference USA on-site or from home.

Online Access

Most subscribing libraries also provide remote on-line access to their patrons. So job seekers don’t have to visit their libraries. Instead, they can get online, or on the phone, to their local library to see if they offer the database.

I need my library card and its PIN to get unlimited access for research. Also, 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 a particular library doesn’t offer the database, job seekers can also ask the reference librarian to help them get access via a partner library.

It’s Easy to Learn How to Use Reference USA

After logging in, the database is straightforward to use. Job seekers can teach themselves. If that’s not comfortable, they can ask a reference librarian to walk them through logging in and doing some searches.

Job seekers shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help. Reference librarians are there to help and have a great deal of job search expertise they can call on.

People can also watch this helpful video on the basics and then have at it:

Searching for Businesses on 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 them — It lists almost all of the nonprofits in the U.S.

Happy hunting!

Image: stokkete
Updated June 2019

© 2010 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 7

  1. Donna –
    Aren’t public libraries a terrific and underused resource! This is one of the first resources I included in my book. Great post!

  2. Any job seeker that is glued to the chair in front of their pc and not utilizing their local public library is missing out. I think using ReferenceUSA for that reason alone is enough. Very good resource article and I will be sure to pass along the information.

    Derek Dostal

  3. Thanks Donna! We’ve had the opportunity to work with local libraries all around the country and share ‘best practices’ when using ReferenceUSA as part of a Career Search Strategy. If your local library has not sponsored one of these FREE! workshops, you may want to contact them. In the interim, we host a regularly scheduled webcast that specifically addresses folks who are new to using ReferenceUSA or anyone who might want to hone their skills.
    These hour-long, interactive presentations are open to anyone and are also FREE! – all anyone would need is internet access and a dedicated phone line.
    These are held every Friday at 11 AM Central (Noon EST/ 9 AM PST).
    To register: call 800 808 1113 for more information. Seating is limited!

  4. Thanks for the info Rick. I’m posting it to #jobhuntchat, #careerchat, and #hfchat this week. My job search clients invariably discover target companies they’ve NEVER heard of when they use RefUSA. I’m an evangelist for your wonderful, FREE database!


  5. At BJM, we’ve been Teaching all our job seekers that “The Modern Public Library will make what you can find on Google look pathetic.”
    Of course, very few know about the Google Advanced Search box, which does help people search more effectively. But even so, we always stress – “Get to know your local Reference Librarian.”
    I’ve seen people use SIC or NAICS codes and Reference USA to find employers doing their specific kind of work. We had one Operations Manager who was very depressed, until we got him to go the library. On Reference USA using NAICS codes, he found 130+ companies within 10 miles who could be employing an Operations Manager. Within six weeks he was hired full time at a great job.
    Ironically, we had the Reference Librarian from the Harris County Barbara Bush Library presenting to our Senior Manager’s Group…. Yesterday morning and she was singing the praises of Reference USA.

  6. Rich,

    Truer words were never spoken! Thank you for sharing your testimonials for ReferenceUSA and reference librarians.

    Now that ReferenceUSA has partnered up with Indeed it’s a more powerful job search tool than ever.


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