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):
- Sales volume.
- Number of employees.
- 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.
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 — Guidestar.org. It lists almost all of the nonprofits in the U.S.
Updated June 2019
© 2010 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.