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Why these are LinkedIn's top companies — and how to get in the door

What do these five tech giants have in common that makes their employees want to stay?
Image: Glass and metal spheres under construction in front of an Amazon building in Seattle
Glass and metal spheres under construction in front of an Amazon building in Seattle on Oct. 11, 2017.Elaine Thompson / AP file

With a healthy labor market and a robust economy, now is an ideal time for job seekers to make a move toward landing their dream jobs. And at which companies might those jobs be? The answers surely vary widely, but according to a new report from LinkedIn, we can make an educated guess in saying that Amazon, Alphabet (aka Google), Facebook, Salesforce and Tesla are likely choices; these are 2018's top five companies ranked by the work-focused networking platform.

The list, which ranked 50 organizations, was assembled based on the LinkedIn activity of the hub's more than 540 million members. Daniel Roth, LinkedIn's editor-in-chief, tells NBC News BETTER that the company looked at key factors pertaining to user interest and demand: "Firstly, when a company puts up a spot, how many people view it? Secondly, how many users are following that company? Third, we checked out user interest in the company's employees. Finally, we looked at retention: Once hired, do people stay?"

These Big Companies Offer Solid Salary, Benefits and Parental Leave

These are all giant, growing companies with global brand recognition, so some rationale for why they're drumming up interest could be that they have the resources to market widely, as well as the ever-expanding need for talent. But there's more that makes these companies stand out in the crowd, and it comes down in part to what they offer.

Salesforce provides 26 weeks of paid time off for primary caregivers, 12 weeks of paid time off for secondary caregivers (up to $5,000 per week), plus a "gradual return to work" policy.

Though Roth noted that he can't speak for each of these companies' packages, his safe guess is that each of the list-toppers offer competitive pay along with healthcare, a 401(k) and probably stock options. Additional research reveals that all these companies tout paid parental leave policies for both mom and dad. Salesforce, for example, provides 26 weeks of paid time off for primary caregivers, 12 weeks of paid time off for secondary caregivers (up to $5,000 per week), plus a "gradual return to work" policy. As more millennials become parents, this is an invaluable plus.

Tough Challenges and Thorough Training

Tech companies like these are famed for providing maximum in-office perks a la sleep pods and beer kegs. That's all well and good, but it's probably not what's baiting and retaining millennials; it's high caliber challenges and opportunities to acquire skills that will be useful in the future.

Speaking from experience is Neel Somani, a 20-year-old U.C Berkeley student who worked as a software engineering intern at Google last summer.

"If I'm at work, I generally don't care about the mini perks that are there for entertainment value,” says Somani. “They're honestly a bit distracting.”

Image: People walk into Google's New York offices
Google has a strong employee training program. Spencer Platt / Getty Images file

What might a candidate like Somani care about? Hard challenges with rewarding payoff.

“People want to work places where they're given hard challenges and can reap the benefits,” says Roth. “Amazon and Tesla are giving people something big to take on, which is [rewarding] to the employee as they can take on those projects and bring massive wins that will be useful down the road.”

Millennials also want to work in a place that will provide them the tools and training to succeed.

“I did really enjoy Google's accessibility training program,” says Somani. “It basically taught us how to think about products so they can be used by all users, rather than just 'users like us.' That was pretty insightful."

Amazon offers to prepay 95 percent of tuition, textbooks and fees for its employees to receive training in "professions of the future.'

Free Tuition? Yes, Please (If You’re Looking Down The Road)

Some companies are paying for workers’ education beyond the office. Amazon offers to prepay 95 percent of tuition, textbooks and fees for its employees to receive training in "professions of the future," according to LinkedIn.

“Tuition coverage is a huge perk,” notes Somani. “Usually the sponsoring company requires you to work for them for a few years after they've paid for your tuition, though, so the tuition coverage is really only compelling if it's the kind of job that I could see myself continuing for several years. It's a substantially different perk than on-the-job training, though, because it's fundamentally academic in nature, meaning that the company is paying for you to learn things that aren't necessarily directly applicable to work.”

How To Get In The Door

Now that we have a sense of why these companies are so attractive, how on earth does one get her foot in the door? It's a bit daunting when you consider the competition.

"On LinkedIn, Amazon's job ads have accrued 55 million views (and eight million applications) in the past 12 months," Roth says. "Competition for engineering jobs [at Amazon] is understandably intense, with 52 applications for each opening. LinkedIn data shows that each sales opening, on average, elicits 401 applications."

Here are expert’s tips on making your application stand out.

1. Know The Company Inside and Out

“Learn everything you can about the company and role through research, friends and social media,” says Mikaela Kiner, founder and CEO of uniquelyHR. “Get clear on why you want to work for that company specifically and make sure your passion shows during the phone screen and interview process.”

2. Be A Story Teller

“Tell real stories, whether in the cover letter or on your resume,” says Roth. “Make sure you tell a story about a success you've had, as well as what you've learned from a failure. You have to know the stories in your life that have built you as an employee that can solve this company's problem.”

3. Make A Portfolio Accessible Online (And Link To It On Your Resume)

“Have a portfolio and prominently feature it online,” says Jason Patel, former career ambassador at the George Washington University and the founder of Transizion, a college prep company that is focused on closing the Opportunity Divide in America. “Your best work should be apparent on your website — hiring managers don't have the time to sift through every page. Make sure to feature a link to your website on your resume.”

4. Use The Right Verbs

“If the action verbs in the post relate to your experiences and qualifications, use [them] in your resume,” says Patel. “This will help you get past electronic resume reader.”

5. Tap Into Your LinkedIn Network

Use your network including your network once removed to figure out who you know,” says Kiner. “It's always better if someone refers you so you know your resume made it to the right recruiter or hiring manager. There's nothing better than an introduction. Use your network including your network once-removed to figure out who you know.”

Apply Now — The Job Market Won’t Always Be Like This

If you’re in a position to switch careers or try something new, now is the time to get moving. “This is a great time to be a job seeker,” says Roth. “Brush up on your skills and be ready to tell your story so you’re aligned for the future. The labor market won't be this tight.”


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