Answering the following four questions can generate both a job search strategy and top-line plan to improve your job search.
1. Whom do you want your job search to target?
Select industries you feel qualified to work in. Then narrow your job search to a dozen or so specific companies based on whatever is important to you, such as:
- Marketing (or other) orientation,
The categories and companies you select to target can be based on whatever you want, although the more obviously you are “qualified” for the industry, the easier your search will be.
This is your target job search list that needs to be communicated to your network and used to develop your personal marketing story and tools. While the story and tools will be very similar, each company will need to be approached with a tailored message.
2. What should you accomplish for them?
Note that I didn’t ask: “What would you like to do for them?”
You need to sell yourself as being able to accomplish whatever each company perceives is important. Therefore, you need to research the key strategies, challenge, and opportunities each company has identified.
One approach that can work for large companies is to research all of their executive openings for the past several months, regardless of function, and look for common themes and intangibles.
3. Why should they want to hire you?
Remember that your targeted job search companies first screen typically is whether you have done a similar job at a similar level for a respected company. I consider this a personal risk reduction approach by the recruiters (both company and search firm) that helps protect them if they bring in an unsuccessful employee.
Then they may screen for accomplishments relative to their strategies, specific skills, reputation, job hopping/stability (either can be preferred), desired salary (too much/too little), location… the list is endless.
You have to make it obvious that you have the skills to accomplish what each company has identified they need to have done. If possible, it’s best to prove you’ve already accomplished for another company what they’re hoping to achieve.
If you can’t prove this “square peg in a square hole” fit, then you’ll need to work harder to generate a job offer. Regardless, executives are hired everyday from different industries because they communicated enticing expertise and proven results that are only slightly related to the hiring company’s job spec. My career proves this.
4. How do you get them interested in you?
This is your personal job search marketing plan aimed at these dozen companies.
It includes all of the typical job search tools and a networking/communications plan that will get your positioning and relative experience in front of the hiring managers at the companies you selected.
While these four questions are straight forward, it takes discipline and hard work to answer them effectively.
It also takes hard work to develop the plan and tools and to execute the job search to get your targeted companies interested in you.
Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonline, ENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.