If you’re feeling lost in the job search, it’s likely because you don’t have a clear target in mind.
Think of it like this. If you went shopping for a car – any car – think of how easily overwhelmed you would be by all the choices – if you DIDN’T know what you wanted.
Do you want sedan or SUV, or a truck? Performance or comfort? Convertible or traditional? Are you going to haul stuff in that car or just look cool driving it? Usually when you shop for a car, you have an idea of what you what it is you’re looking for.
It’s not all that different with your job search. When clients contact me for help in their job search, they often aren’t sure what exactly they are pursuing.
They may not have a clear idea of what qualities they want in a job, what industries they want to work in, or even what specific employers they want to focus on.
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?”
(Just for the record, please don’t make posts like that on LinkedIn. It just shows you have no focus, no plan, and questionable judgment. Plus it makes me crazy.)
If you don’t target specific employers or industries, you’ll get frustrated quickly in the job search. 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 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. 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.