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.

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Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
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Is Your Job Search Strategy Producing The Results You Want?

iStock_000030155864SmallA focused job search includes extreme clarity, a concentrated effort, persistence, and out-of-the-box thinking. It also includes a system and methodology including upfront analysis and planning, research and investigation, a due diligence process, organization of multiple concurrent activities, and precise execution.

In Bryan Golden’s, nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column, Dare to Live Without Limits, his March 4, 2009 column in The Resident is entitled “Concentrated Effort Brings Success.” He writes, “It’s true, success does take effort. But it also takes as much, if not more, effort to continuously struggle without being on a path to success. Living takes effort. However, you have the power to formulate any strategy you want for expending your effort. You can scatter your efforts so nothing is accomplished. Or you can concentrate your effort into a powerful force.”

Here is an analogy Golden provides to make his case: “What happens when spilled jet fuel on a runway is ignited? It burns, creates a lot of heat, but doesn’t get you anywhere. But burn it in a jet engine and you then have the means to get to a specific destination.

“Why are there different results? When fuel burns on the runway, its effort is dispersed and nothing is accomplished. When it burns in a jet engine, the effort is concentrated and the effort is concentrated and directed in one direction. Only in the engine will the fuel’s effort get you anywhere.”

Only in the engine will the fuel’s effort get you anywhere.

“It’s true, success does take effort. But it also takes as much, if not more, effort to continuously struggle without being on a path to success.”

The same can be said for job search.

  • Focus your job search efforts. The intensity you build with focus will help you carry the day.
  • Decide on the type of job you want. Create a job description for your ideal or dream job. Be precise and include the challenges, responsibilities, team environment, and culture.
  • Decide what type of company interests you. Would you prefer to work for a company funded by private equity or venture capital? Would you prefer to work for a large public company or small privately held company? A forward thinking, fast paced company or a time-honored, deliberate company? A regulated or non-regulated company?
  • Research your ideal job. Talk to executives who have held the position in which you are interested. Do a target-gap analysis of the skills, knowledge, and abilities you’ll need for your ideal position. Decide how you’ll overcome the gaps.
  • Perform an analysis of your existing network. Develop a strategy for expanding your network so you can connect with the people who can help you.
  • Study your target companies. Talk to people who currently work for your target companies, as well as those who previously worked for the companies.
  • Study your target industry. Conduct research to find out where the industry is headed, how the industry is faring in this economic downturn, and what challenges and barriers the industry faces.
  • Create a customized version of your marketing materials (résumé, accomplishment stories, positioning statement, cover letter, and other materials) that you can use for your target job. Use these customized versions as your leave behind marketing pieces. In other words, materials you can leave with people you have spoken with regarding your target job. By way of an example, consider meetings you’ve had with sales professionals. Most likely they provided customized documentation and left a brochure and other marketing materials for your review and consideration. Follow this strategy and you’ll find your job search efforts more rewarding.

The bottom line: Job search is all about networking and getting internal contacts at target companies to recommend you.