Targeted Job Search & Lateral Moves

by Beverly Harvey

In today’s tumultuous economy, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll find your next position on a job board or through a recruiter mailing campaign. As you can imagine with 760,000 jobs lost so far in 2008, there are thousands of applicants for every single senior-level position.

Your best strategy today is to use the targeted approach. This involves:

  • Choosing a specific company that you would like to work for,
  • Pinpointing a problem that you can solve for that company,
  • Identifying and connecting with executives in the company,
  • And then either asking one of your new contacts to hand deliver your resume to the decision maker…or…calling the executive to schedule a time to network with him/her.

Just this week a client told me that this is how she landed her last two positions. The specificity and extra work pays off handsomely. And actually, it’s not that much more work … it’s simply a more focused process.

With the collapse of the mortgage industry and severe downturn in several others, I’ve been repeatedly asked, “What are some lateral industries that I could switch to so I don’t have to start all over again?” and “How do I find a company that can utilize my expertise”? This is a tough question because often times your innate talents and interests are what drive you into a particular industry. While your talents and interests cross over into other industries, you may have no interest in the other industry. However, here’s one method that can help you with your decision.

Step 1 – Industry Code

Start with your current industry’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. If you don’t know the code for your industry, you can find it at either of the two websites listed below.

NAICS Association (
Under the NAICS Drill-Down Menu, look through the list until you find your industry. Click on the two-digit “Code” and you will see a list of related fields which the site calls, “Titles.” By clicking on the Title’s six-digit code, you will be taken to a screen with an explanation of the industry and cross references to other industries. Make a list of the industries that sound interesting.

U.S. Census Bureau (
You will see a list of the NAICS Codes and all of the nested sub-level codes. By clicking on any one of the codes, you will see an explanation of the industry and cross references. Drilling down on the cross references, you can find lateral industries.

For instance the Finance and Insurance NAICS code is “52.” It includes 121 industry sub-sets that could provide you with some ideas for a lateral move. Read through the list and determine what industry sub-set you might like to explore.

Step 2 – Publications

Using some of the publications listed below (Fortune, Inc., Forbes), conduct further research into specific companies in those industries.

Fortune (
Using Fortune’s “Industries” list, find the industry you’ve selected as a possible lateral move and click on that industry. The site will display a list of the companies in that particular industry. If you click on the company name, the site will display a profile of the company.

Fortune also provides lists of Top Companies, Top Industries, CEOs, and companies listed by geographic location at You can select a state and view an interactive map of Fortune 1000 companies in your state. You can then click on the company and get a corporate snapshot, including the name of the CEO.

Fortune also publishes a list of the fastest growing industries as well as many other lists including:

  • High revenue growth
  • High EPS (earnings per share) growth
  • High profit growth
  • High return to investors
  • Big / Small Employer
  • Top 5 in its industry
  • Best company to work for
  • Top 500 Headquarters

Inc. Magazine (

Inc. publishes many lists including:

  • Inc. 5000 fastest growing private companies in America
  • Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies By Gross Dollars of Growth
  • Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies By Revenue
  • Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies By Metro Region
  • Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies By Industry

Inc.’s website features interactive maps highlighting the density of:

  • Top 100 Companies by Revenue (with icons showing location on US map)
  • Top 100 Companies by Growth

You can search the Inc. 5000 and Inc. 500 lists by state to find the companies in your geographical preference and browse the 2008 Inc. 5000 by Industry and get a list of companies and locations. You can click on the company name to view a company profile (year founded, growth, revenue, number of employees, rankings, and a link to the company website).

In September 2008, Inc. published this list of Top 10 Industries by Median Growth Rate:
1. Energy 298%
2. Government Services 220%
3. Security 200%
4. IT Services 187%
5. Software 187%
6. Consulting 182%
7. Telecommunications 171%
8. Advertising & Marketing 167%
9. Real Estate 167%
10. Financial Services 165%

Forbes Magazine (

Forbes publishes many lists including:

  • Fastest Growing Industries
  • America’s Largest Private Companies (sortable by industry) — Includes interactive map by state, a list of Newcombers, and list of Private Tech Companies
  • Asia’s Fab 50 Companies
  • Global High Performers
  • Forbes 2000
  • Next Step – LinkedIn

Step 3 – LinkedIn

Now that you’ve gathered a list of target companies, go to ( and do an advanced search on the company names to find a list of people that work in those companies so you can establish a connection and dialogue.

You can read more about using LinkedIn in your job search in my January 2008 newsletter. If you’re a new subscriber, send an email to beverly@harveycareers with “January 2008 CNT” in the subject line and I’ll send you a copy.

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