Why You Need a Targeted Job Search

Target Audience 3d words in an open door to illustrate searching for and finding niche prospects and clients through advertising and marketingThe idea of pinpointing and then refining your target market of employers is an overwhelming concept for most. A bigger universe intuitively seems more likely to result in employer interest. “If I send out my resume to as many employers as I can,” the mentality goes, “surely some of them will be interested in me.” But the opposite is true: The more you funnel the universe of employers into a laser-focused, precise, narrow segment of those who would love to hire you, the more successful you’ll be.

To understand the importance of target marketing in your job search, let’s first define a target market: “A specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services,” says Entrepreneur.com.

Adapted for a job-seeker, that would be: “A specific group of employers at which a job-seeker aims his or her talents and services.”

Here’s what a target market is not (even though some marketers of products and services mistakenly define their target markets this way): “Anyone interested in my products or services.”

Here’s how the marketing process works for those marketers who define their target market as “anyone interested in my products or services:”

The marketer creates advertising or promotional material and then disseminates it to those perceived as “anyone interested in my products or services.”

This process may have a familiar ring to job-seekers because it is essentially the way most of them conduct their job searches:

The job-seekers create advertising or promotional material – in the form of a resume and usually a cover letter – and disseminates it to those perceived as “anyone interested in ‘me as a product and the services I offer,’” typically employers who have posted vacancies on job boards or advertised openings in other media.

Smart marketers know that both of these approaches are backward. If you want to sell a product, you don’t create the product first and then go to stores hoping people buy it. You’d first do research. You would find out who would use the product, what customers are looking for in this kind of product, how this product would help them, how you’d get it to market, and what the packaging looks like. Once you understand that, you would perfect the product and go to market.

Just as no universal products appeal to all consumers, no universal job-seeker appeals to all employers. Neither jobs nor employers are one-size-fits-all. Savvy job-seekers survey the universe of employers to determine how to break the market down into a more manageable subset of employers that will be keenly attracted to what the job-seeker has to offer.

The proven strategy of target marketing enables the marketer or job-seeker to reach the customers/employers whose needs are most likely to be filled by the entity being marketed. That’s a big reason to use target marketing in the job search – but just a few of the other reasons include:

  • It’s more efficient. Yes, target marketing requires a big investment in front-end research. But that investment pays off when the job-seeker is productively going on interviews instead of sitting on his or her posterior by the computer uploading resumes to employers who might be interested and waiting for hiring managers to call.
  • It targets the portion of the job market most likely to hire. A huge number of jobs aren’t advertised. Employers hold back on publicizing vacancies for all kinds of reasons, but if you can get in on the pipeline of an unpublicized opening, you’ll have a huge advantage over the vast hordes responding to job postings.
  • Through target marketing, you’ll be a better fit and happier with the employer at which you land than if you took your chances with answering ads. Since you’ve carefully vetted each employer in your target market, you know you’re a good match and you fit the organizational culture. The outplacement firm Lee Hecht Harrison notes that 70 percent of its clients get new jobs through target-market methods, a figure consistent with other studies.

These steps of identifying and narrowing the market are part of a process that also includes approaching employers, developing and proposing solutions to them, handling their objections, closing the sale, and following up.

If you need help with your job search, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

3 Ways to Tap into a Pipeline Job

Now that you have the skinny on the unpublicized job market, let’s look at how you can break into it. When job-seekers search for new jobs, one of the most important elements of a successful search is developing job leads. How can you find a consistent source for open jobs in your career field? The answer, of course, is that you cannot. No one consistent source exists. There are, however, several methods that all job-seekers should consider using in uncovering the largest number of job leads.

While other ways of unearthing unadvertised jobs exist, the key to mining the unpublicized job market is deploying strategies that break you, the candidate, into the middle of the hiring process – before positions are publicly known. Even better for you as a job-seeker, if you can make a strong case for your fit with an unadvertised position, you’ll face much less competition from other job- seekers, immediately improving the chances that you’ll get a job interview.


The No. 1 reason networking is so important and effective is that, as we’ve seen, so many jobs are not made public – through advertising or other means. One of the best ways a job-seeker can find out about these jobs is through word-of-mouth. Networking is a highly effective way for job-seekers to hear word-of-mouth news of unadvertised vacancies. These vacancies may eventually be publicized, but most jobs start out hidden, and only the decision-maker knows.

More job leads are developed/discovered through networking than any other method. Networking involves using the vast numbers of people that you know – your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, customers, vendors, associates, and others – as information sources for job leads.

Networking is simply about building and maintaining relationships with the people around us. The more people we know – and the more people the folks we know are connected with – the more powerful our network. Remember to not only maintain your current network, but strive to regularly add new contacts – especially those who work for prospective future employers.

When you’re ready to seek that next job, the simple way of uncovering unpublicized job opportunities and leads is by asking people in your network what advice they might offer for someone seeking the type of job you’re looking for. Keys to success include knowing exactly the type of job you seek and asking your network contacts not for a job, but rather for information, advice, and referrals that may lead to a job. These conversations may reveal information about pipeline jobs.

Pipeline Jobs

As we saw in Part 1 of this series, a pipeline job is a vacancy that an employer is in the process of creating but is not yet official. Once the job is official, the hiring manager may ask around within the organization for referrals of qualified candidates before making the vacancy public.

As we noted in the Part 1, many hiring managers prefer getting internal referrals because once they publicize the job, they know they will be bombarded with resumes, many from unqualified candidates. They will then have to process those resumes. Referrals from known and trusted employees are always preferable.

Once the hiring manager starts asking for internal referrals – and especially when he or she posts the position to the public – competition will increase exponentially.

Many employers have highly developed employee-referral programs and reward workers for suggesting a hire. Social media has fast-tracked the employee-referral process and vastly increased its reach.

3 Ways to Disrupt the Pipeline

    1. Referral Cover Letter: Once you have a network contact who has told you about a pipeline job, one effective way to approach the hiring manager is with a referral cover letter. The referral cover letter is an extremely effective type of cover letter that springs from networking efforts. The referral letter uses a name-dropping tactic as early as possible in the letter to attract the reader’s attention and prompt an interview. The opening sentence for a sample referral follows:Dear Mr. Fouche,Nancy Jones of Green & Associates Advertising suggested I contact you regarding possible public-relations opportunities in your firm.
    2. Informational interview: This technique can be effective even if the job for you hasn’t even entered the pipeline. Research the needs of targeted employers. Especially conduct research into recent news stories about the organization (Is the company expanding to new markets? Introducing a new product? It will likely need to hire). Another way is by networking with organization insiders and asking them about company needs and challenges. But the best way is through informational interviewing, a sub-set of networking in which you conduct brief interviews with people inside targeted organizations and ask what keeps them up at night.Informational interviewing is exactly what it sounds like – interviewing designed to yield the information you need to choose a career path, learn how to break in, and find out if you have what it takes to succeed. It’s a highly focused conversation with someone in your career field who can provide you with key information, such as the issues and needs a given employer is facing. While an informational interview is not a job interview, the information gleaned can be used later in your approach to an employer. Armed with knowledge about problems and needs within an organization, you can propose ways that you can meet those needs and solve those problems.
    3. Creating Your Own Job based on Employer Needs: This technique may enable you to get a pipeline job before it even enters the pipeline is trying to create a job for yourself – where one currently doesn’t exist – based on a deeper exploration of the employer’s needs or problems. With this technique, the job-seeker identifies the employer’s needs and/or problems and proposes that the employer create a job that the job-seeker will then fill and meet the needs or solve the problems.

Finally, realize that sometimes a referral doesn’t pay off immediately or directly but lays the groundwork for a future opportunity. Keep following up on pipeline jobs.

If you need help tapping into those pipeline jobs, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule


*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

Are You Executing A Passive Or Active Job Search?

There are two basic types of job seekers: passive and active. Passive job seekers are those who choose the path of least resistance. They typically just send out résumés, then sit back and wait for a response. Active job seekers proactively seek out opportunities, target specific companies, and pursue them relentlessly. They reach out to others to request the information and help they need. They proactively think about how they can bring value to companies. Passive job seekers use two approaches, both of them marginally productive at best and totally ineffective at worst:

  • A serial approach where they update their résumé, submit it to job openings posted on Internet job boards, or to recruiters, and ask network contacts for leads. In all cases they wait passively for responses.
  • A trial-and-error approach where they begin with one method, such as submitting their résumé to posted positions on job boards … and when that approach fails they switch to another method … and when that doesn’t work they try another method. And so on. This trial-and-error approach makes for a very long and drawn out job search. It leads to frustration and disappointment. It also drains the nest egg.

Consider browsing online job boards as the least productive activity. Many of the jobs posted there come from recruiters testing the waters for potential available candidates. They’re also the most dangerous if you’re still employed because you never know whom you’re sending your résumé to, and how it may bounce back to the company where you’re employed. Job search is marketing! You need to actively market your qualifications. Create a job search strategy similar to that of a business. Think about the companies you’ve worked for in the past. Most likely they used multiple mediums and venues for marketing their products and services. You need to do the same. In today’s economy, you need to blend a targeted search with the traditional job search methods. You need to create a multi-channel, multi-media strategy that leverages your efforts and provides a return on investment of your time and resources while shortening the time it takes to land a high-paying and meaningful position.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.