From Dr. Christopher Salute’s That Professor Life Blog

It’s no secret that the Fortune 500, an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks 500 of the largest United States corporations by total revenue for their respective fiscal years, is a well revered list of the “who is who” in Corporate America. The list includes publicly held companies, along with privately held companies for which revenues are publicly available. But, why is important to you as a job seeker?

We know the Fortune 500 list is ever-changing. But, targeting companies which are always on this list (or usually) is important because a larger revenue means a more recognizable brand, more stability, and typically better pay and benefits. Plus, you’ll be working on projects that can potentially be more fulfilling. 

The last (and more subtle) reason for breaking into the Fortune 500 is that other great employers like to either poach from their competitors or find folks who have worked for large brands because: 

  • Large brands like those of the Fortune 500 train well 
  • They also have great best practices because they have obviously found success
  • Lastly, these brands gave you access to other great talent in your network, going forward. 

It’s a very similar concept to going to a strong University. Once you’ve selected a great brand, you will have training and networks from those institutions that are typically strong and unmatched. But, finding access to these great brands, just like gaining admission to a strong can be a Challenge. 

But is it impossible? No. 

In fact, working for a large brand like a Fortune 500 business is accessible through the following actions: 

  • Proper Training and Certification
  • A Network of top-level mentors who believe in you 
  • Tenacity 

Let’s start with what the Fortune 500 should be look at most: proper training and certification. That’s what a utopian employment environment would look like. Everyone is assessed based on their skills and talent and the best person gets the job. But, that’s not always the way it works because resumes, university branding, etc. will always change the way a very human process is executed. Nevertheless, your skills/training and any associated certifications are very important. Universities are not the only place for your find your skills and training. Boot Camps like Cogent University can help you stack certificates in addition to your University degree. And, you’ll find applied skills that take you beyond textbooks and classrooms. 

Secondly, because Fortune 500 brands are so successful, not everyone is going to have access to them. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just a rule of numbers. Top brands are successful for many reasons: one of them is efficiency. So, when employees refer colleagues or mentees, they are going to weigh those resumes more heavily. Or, if they can search a resume and find other comparable brands, they may do that. 

But, having the skills and the network are not going to be enough for the Fortune 500 if you don’t have the will to keep fighting for the job you want! We call that tenacity. It’s important to note that you can do everything right and there may just be another candidate who was a better fit at that time. 

That’s why we love our bootcamp model. Cogent University provides training, a network of alumni working in the Fortune 500 and the ability to help our candidates continue to apply. It’s a truly unique opportunity for folks looking for that extra boost after graduation.