Setting Up Your Job Search Target Market

By Frank Traditi

Job search target marketing is a simple concept - it's about managing your resources. Why do you have to manage your resources?

  • They are limited (time and money)
  • You have specific and highly marketable capabilities
  • You must narrow down your prospects to those most likely to hire you
  • You don't have time to waste

The amount of time you want to spend on your job search dictates the level of detail you need for your target market. Regardless, you can never know too much about your prospects. This is where you must invest time in market research. Market research is sizing up the company prospects that most closely match the value proposition you bring to the table.

Knowing your target market saves you an enormous amount of time and energy you'll need when marketing yourself to these companies. You also avoid the "shotgun" approach - blasting out as many resumes as you can and hoping something hits.

Target Market Blueprint
Creating the target market for your job search is simply answering a series of questions and formulating a snapshot of the kind of companies that best fit what you have to offer. Again, the purpose of this exercise is to narrow down the playing field.

The Target Market Blueprint is staged in three distinct sections:

  1. Prospect Profile
  2. Unique Characteristics
  3. Your Value Proposition
Each section of the blueprint is organized by specific questions you need to ask yourself and the relevant information about the type of companies you want to target in your search.

Prospect Profile
These questions focus on the basics for your plan. They are mostly demographic type questions that require some specific data about your target market.

  • What industries are you targeting?
    (technology, health care, finance, manufacturing, retail, services, government, non-profit, etc.)
  • Private or Public company? Reason for your choice?
  • Prospect location?
    (local, national, international, multi-location, single office)
  • Size of prospective companies?
    (list both revenue and number of employees)
  • What do these prospective companies sell?
    (products, services, consulting, all of the above)
  • What stage are these prospective companies in?
    (start up, early adopter/innovative, growth, stable, decline)

Unique Characteristics
This section looks at special qualities, challenges, issues, and the mindset of your target market. Your answers here are more subjective and intuitive in nature.

  • What challenges are unique to this target market?
    (no management talent, technology issues, highly specialized products, long sales cycles, highly competitive, etc.)
  • What political or environment issues are affecting them?
    (government policy, rules, regulations, etc.)
  • What do you anticipate their priorities to be for the upcoming 6 - 12 months?
    (marketing, sales, technology, new products, contracting business model, etc.)
  • What significant problems are these companies dealing with today?
  • What does the competitive environment look like for these companies?

Your Value Proposition
This section takes what you have identified in your target market plan (above) and matches that up with your value proposition or, in other words, what you bring to the table.

  • Who are your best prospects for your next career move?
  • How might they perceive your special skills and talents?
  • What might they want from a candidate like you?
  • How can you solve their problems and satisfy their needs?
  • How can you increase their profitability?
  • What is the potential of this market?
  • What is most important to these companies?

Remember, you are not limiting yourself by choosing to target certain companies; rather you are launching a job search campaign aimed directly at the companies you most want to work for. If a company not on your target list shows up on your radar screen, you can still pursue it if it looks like a good opportunity for you.

You may be asking, "How many companies should be on my list?" There is no magic number. Too few companies may not give you enough choices, but too many may spread your focus too thinly. Keep your list to a size that you feel you are capable of working effectively. You can always add or delete companies from the list as you find out more about your prospects at each one.

Here's to hitting the bulls eye every time.

Copyright © 2006, Frank Traditi

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