This is special for Engineer PhD or some other PhDs applying industry jobs.
My suggestions is:
Do not waste time on small companies. You will definitely find a good position at a good company if you try hard.
So just find out the fortrun 500/1000 company list, pick out the ones fit your background, then apply it through some ways.
If you happened have some chance to apply small companies, then try them as test. Just do not waste too much time on them. They cannot beat the offers from big companies, as somebody said. It is rumor that small companies provide better future, better benefit, higher salary... Not true at least to PhDs.
And as the last year of PhD will be a tough time, you have no time on 100 companies. So just select the big ones and try.
Research Labs are not your only aim. Some other development positions may provide better career path if you do not want to do research after maybe 10 years.
From industry, you can jump back to academia.
If you are really interested in research labs, then be prepared of hard competition if you have no strong network or famous boss or strong publications.
Do you really want to compete with other senior PhD and other senior researcher, or you want to compete with Masters? You decide.
from a friend