What is the hands-down fastest way to advance your career? It’s all about getting with the right company at the right time.

Choosing wisely is a far better way to advance than putting in years at some companies, earning extra degrees, and even knowing the right people. It’s important to consider timing every bit as much as cultural fit, compensation, job function, or anything else. Ask the most successful people for advice and you will often hear that “timing is everything.”

How do you know if a company is headed in the right direction? Here are five of the best places to look…

CrunchBase is the best way to look into a company’s trajectory before and after an IPO or other exit. You can quickly find out how much funding a company has received, in which form, and when. It also displays the funding stage and exit details, if applicable. Recent and significant funding is always a good sign.

Inc. 5000
The Inc. 5000 is a list of the 5000 fastest growing private companies in the US. This can be quickly sorted by a number of factors including growth rate, which is a great metric for salespeople. It also give you the rare chance to look into the numbers at private companies, which often present some of the best rapid growth opportunities (the top company this year grew at 100,849%). There are several sources which provide the same information for public companies.

Glassdoor is an increasingly easy way to find out if a company has the right culture for you, and if a company is heading in the right direction overall. It’s especially effective for larger companies that have lots of reviews, and a great way to pick up on common themes. It’s important to remember that many reviews are from underperformers were fired or quit. Also, certain companies have legitimate growing pains and may warrant continued research. A rating of under 3 can be a red flag for any company with a large enough sample size.

Research firms Gartner and Forrester apply only in technology sectors, and provide an idea of how a company stacks up against some of the major competitors. Both firms plot companies into different categories based on vision and execution. The most visionary companies often present more rapid growth opportunity if they execute well enough.

A company’s LinkedIn page is best snapshot of a company. It may not tell you as much about growth rate and funding, but does show a brief summary, a list of specialties, industry, location, website, jobs, updates, and the true number of employees. On top of that, you can find out who can connect you with a company, and look into the backgrounds of leadership and potential peers.

– The Leyden Group matches top Sales and Leadership professionals with the most innovative and quickly growing IT and Software companies. Please visit our Current Sales Openings page to stay updated on jobs in your area.