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Recommended Career Change Resources in the US and Canada

In working with clients over several years, I have created my list of recommended career change resources in the US and Canada that I believe to be most relevant for executives in transition. I did not include this information in my book, 12 Steps to a New Career, because I realized the only way I could keep that information current would be to make it available on this website.

Researching career change resources relevant to executives in the US and Canada can quickly become overwhelming. If you have been doing all your research on the Internet already, you probably know that the vast majority of the information is not relevant to what you want to know.

Please use these Recommended Career Change Resources as a source to start your research. It will help you focus on what you want to know. If you find a particular resource is no longer available or if you find another resource that you think should be listed, please let me know and I will amend this document. You will be helping others, as well.

The research below is separated into the following two sections: Researching Companies and Industries and Researching Self-Employment Options

A.   Researching Companies and Industries

Research companies before you attempt to contact them or when you need to prepare for an interview. If you are considering making a change from one industry to another, this summary will help you decide where to focus your time more effectively.

1.   Company websites

Go directly to a company’s website and browse around looking for information that is of particular interest to your job or career search objectives. This helps you to get a feel for the company because what they put up on their website is important to them and what they think should be important to you. Go to their About Us page or look for the Site Map to find pages that are of interest. Check out their Newsroom or Public Relations section and read press releases.

If it is a publicly-held company, check out the Investor Relations or Investor Information section on their website. You often will find a link to their annual report and their SEC annual Form 10K

2.   Company filings or registrations with governmental organizations


  • SEC – If the company you want information on is a publicly-held company, you can access the company’s SEC reports online and download financial schedules in an Excel format at no cost. –


  • SEDAR – The website for Canadian Securities Administrators System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR). You can obtain information on companies and download copies of their annual reports.-

3.   Online and print publications

Go to the websites of information publishers and various print and online media and do a search on an industry or a specific company. Most of the websites require that you register but there is no charge for a basic level of service. If you want more details, you will have to pay a fee. And, the information may not always be current. Consequently, I suggest you use them only as sources of topical information on current issues. The sites that might be worth a try are:



  • Canada Business Network, a government business information website –
  • Canada One business resource and directory –
  • Industry Canada, a government sponsored website –
  • Business News Network –

4.   Library

Visit your local library or, better still, a larger regional one. Get a library card. It’s free. That card will enable you to access a large amount of data that will only be available to you through the library. Your taxes enable libraries to subscribe to data providers that are not available to you individually or may only be available to you online if you subscribe and pay a substantial fee.

Most libraries have a reference desk staffed by people who make it their business to help you find information you want to know. They can often point you in the right direction by knowing the best source of information for what you need. By asking you the right questions, they can also help you narrow your search and reduce the time you might otherwise have spent on your own.

Using your library card, there are two ways you can conduct research online:

  • Libraries subscribe to a large amount of data sources that may only be available to you using computer terminals at the library. You will be able to conduct research, create lists, and, for a nominal cost, print information on their printers.
  • You will be able to log on to the library’s website remotely and conduct research using the data services the library has subscribed to where the publisher permits remote access. You may not be able to access all the information the library has but you should be able to gather most of what you need. You will then only need to go to the library for information you cannot access remotely.

To better understand how to use your library card, check out the New York Public Library online resources at or the Los Angeles Public Library online resources at You might also contact the university where you obtained your degree to see if alumni can access the university’s library system.

If you are searching for companies with a specific business focus or you are making a career change to a different industry, you will want to focus on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and then develop lists of companies that show that code for the locations where you want to work. Someone might refer to it as the SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) Code as that was what it was called prior to 1997.

The reference numbers in parentheses below, e.g., (R338.09), reflect the Dewey Decimal Classification system that was conceived by Melvin Dewey in 1873. It is the predominant system used by public and university libraries in the US. Some of the reference books you will find helpful are as follows: (Not all libraries will carry all the books)

  • American Business Disc (Reference USA) – Search for over 12 million companies and 120 million residences. Like a giant yellow pages, the information is limited. Available online through a link to your library from home with a library card access code.
  • America’s Corporate Families (R338.09) by Dun & Bradstreet. A print version is usually available and may be accessible online through some library systems. It lists companies by parent and subsidiaries, divisions and major branches with cross references from a known name. This is still an excellent way to find all the companies associated with a parent and for searching for overseas operations.
  • Business & Company Resource Center by Infotrac/Gale – Available online through a link to your library from home with a library card access code. Reflects brief company profiles, brand information, rankings, investment reports and other company information.
  • Corporate (R338.7) by Lexis-Nexis – Some libraries carry this in print version instead of the Million Dollar Directory because it is a lower cost guide. Usually only available online at the library. It comes in 8 volumes and includes an alphabetical listing by company name reflecting officers and key functional heads. Has cross-reference for who owns whom, regional groupings, brand names, and NAICS codes.
  • The Directory of Business Information Resources (R016.65) by Grey House Publishing – Lists industry associations alphabetically by business description and includes an NAICS cross-reference. Also lists industry newsletters, trade shows, directories and databases, with reference to websites. This is an excellent source to find where to network, prepare articles for a trade publication, or to obtain copies of the publications to research an industry.
  • Dun & Bradstreet Industrial Guide (R338.0025) – Lists companies alphabetically by city and state. More libraries will have this because it contains most businesses in every community. It only lists company contact details. No size, NAICS, or management information is included.
  • Gale Business Resources (Thomson – Gale) – Available online through a link to your library from home with a library card access code. Contains detailed information on 200,000 S. companies including essays for 54 industrial categories.
  • Hoovers Handbook of American Business (R338.74) by Hoovers – A five-volume print version available in many libraries. This is the same information that is available online but you must pay a significant fee to access the material online. Includes alphabetical listings, profiles of most exciting companies, growth enterprises, major global enterprises, and major US private companies.
  • Million Dollar Directory (R338.09) by Dun and Bradstreet – Many libraries have this in print. Accessible online at the library only. Probably the most comprehensive listing. A five-volume set that lists over 1 million of America’s leading public companies including 136,000 private companies, if they have 180 or more employees, or 900 if a branch and they have $9 million or more in annual sales. Volumes 1 – 3 list companies alphabetically showing contact details, sales, employees, bank and accountants, NAICS code with description, and officers and directors. Volume 4 lists companies by city within states. Volume 5 lists companies by NAICS code and grouped by industry. If you want companies in a particular industry or industry segment, this is the place to look.
  • Regional Business Directory (R338.7) by Dun & Bradstreet – Many libraries carry this three-volume series in print. It includes business rankings by employees and sales, cross-references by city and NAICS codes.
  • Standard & Poors Industry Studies (R338) – Provides descriptions of 52 industries including recent developments, industry basics, and summary financial and statistical data for major companies in that industry. Great starting point if you are looking to change fields (industries) and you want to get some basic information before you start networking.
  • Standard & Poors Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives (R332.67) – Most libraries have print version. Accessible online at the library only. Three volumes include SIC and NAICS codes, an alphabetical listing, a separate directory of directors and executives, and cross-references by SIC, NAICS, and city and state.
  • United States Business Directory (R338.702) by InfoUSA – Lists 12 million companies with 20 or more employees by city and state, including SIC codes, contact details, number of employees and sales (uses a code to define a range).
  • Who Owns Whom (R338.025) by Dun & Bradstreet – Most libraries carry the print edition and it may be available online at the library. Alphabetical listing of companies worldwide showing subsidiary operations in other countries. Sorted by parent and sub and sub by parent. Great reference if you are an expatriate looking to make a job or career change or if you are trying to find subsidiaries of major companies that operate in a specific country. Includes names and contact details of senior management, although the information is typically two years old.

5.   Career Resource Websites

These other sites often have information that might be helpful to you.

  • What Color is Your Parachute? Richard N. Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?, created and maintains this website where you will find a wide range of career-related information with links to sites he has researched. There is something for everyone on his site but the information is more relevant to those starting or in the early years of their careers.
    We mourn the passing of Dick Bolles in March 2017 at the age of ninety. Dick was the genesis of the field of career development and he was the inspiration and, in many instances, a mentor to the rest of us who contribute to helping individuals make career changes in our own areas of specialty.
  • CEO – The website contains links to a large amount of information of interest to executives, but not necessarily career-related.
  • – This website contains reviews by former employees covering personal observations, observations on salaries, and suggestions to management on larger, more well-known companies. It is well worth a look.

B.   Researching Self-Employment Options

1.   General information

You can find helpful information about self-employment or starting a new business at:

  • Inc. (magazine now owned by Mansueto Ventures LLC) –
  • Entrepreneur Magazine –
  • Canadian Careers (a good portal that lists a range of career information inclding links) –

2.   Consultancy

You can get help and information on starting a consultancy by beginning your search at the following websites:

  • Use Google to search using the keyword management consulting with and without quotes
  • Institute of Management Consultants –
  • Canadian Association of Management Consultants – (Canada)

3.   Small business

You can get help and information on starting a small business by beginning your search at the following websites:


  • Google search using keywords “Small business” with and without quotes
  • Small Business Administration –
  • The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council –
  • SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), a resource partner with the U.S. SBA –
  • Venture capital sources – – The National Venture Capital Association’s website allows you to click on links to VC sources but does not provide abstracts so you can evaluate if they would be appropriate for you. Check out some to see what advice they give entrepreneurs about their investment process and business plans. Check out their Resource Links, which contain VC sources in your area and those in other countries.


4.   Franchise

You can get help and information on starting a small business by beginning your search at the following websites: