Quite often when clients contact me for help in their job search, they aren’t sure what exactly they are pursuing. They may not have a clear idea of what qualities they want in a job. They don’t know what industries they want to work in, or even what specific employers they want to focus on. Also, they might have a tendency to post something on LinkedIn that reads: “I just graduated with a degree in communications. Does anyone know of any jobs out there?”
If you don’t target specific employers or industries, you’ll get frustrated quickly in the job search. But perhaps you already know this!
According to Wikipedia, marketing is the process of choosing target markets, and communicating the value of a product or service to those customers. This is very similar to your job search.
Except you are marketing you, and the target market is the specific employer for whom you believe you are a good match. Your mission is to communicate the value of your service to those potential customers (read employers) so that they will hire you.
Here are 5 reasons why targeting specific employers makes sense for your job search:
1. It Gives You Focus
Without focus your job search may feel like you’re getting up and trying to boil the ocean every day. It makes it hard to develop a job search strategy when “everything” is in your scope of desirable work.
2. It Makes It Easier for Others to Help You
Who doesn’t want help in the job search? When you target potential employers and go after them, you make it easier for others to help you. The more specific a request you make of someone, the easier it is for them to respond to you.
For example, what can I do to help the person with such a LinkedIn post example? Practically nothing, because I don’t even know where they want to work, what kind of industry they are looking for, or even the kind of company they’d like to pursue. Sorry, pass.
3. It Removes Indecision and Enables You to Take Action
With a clearly defined target market it is much easier to determine where and how to market your services. You know what networking conversations, job opportunities, and informational interviews you will pursue, because they align with your plan.
Sure, there may be the occasional one-off or exception. But you’ll be able to make those decisions consciously because you have a plan, and know when you are making an exception to it, or changing it to accommodate new information you acquire.
4. It Takes the Wasted Effort Out of Your Process
I’m not an advocate of you going out there and wasting your time sending out 500 resumes, scatter-shot and “hearing nothing back.” In the time it takes you to complete and send 500 applications (and it is time consuming), you can have many more, higher quality conversations and interactions with your target employers or your network.
5. When You Target Specific Employers, You Boost Your Chances
All research about the job search supports this notion. I’ve heard recruiters say that they best way to find good job opportunities is while they are still in the organization’s pipeline, before they’ve been posted. To do this, you need to be both focused, and connected.
So before you develop resumes or cover letters – produce any collateral online or off – target specific employers for whom you desire to work.
Then focus your marketing efforts on convincing them you are the best qualified for the job.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friend, Lea McLeod.
About The Author: Lea McLeod is author of the Resume Coloring Book. Check it out if you are struggling with writing your resume in today’s job market. She’s also founder of the Job Success Lab so that you can GO PRO in any job! Follow her on Twitter and her blog: DegreesofTransition.com.