Everyone looking for a job should have a list of 10 target companies. These are companies where you’d like to work if a position came open matching your skills and experience. Not having this list puts you at a distinct disadvantage when networking.
You see, I may not remember everything about you. But I am likely to remember a few of the companies you shared with me. Why? This is a very tangible bit of information. And often when I ask “what are your objectives?” I get:
I’m looking for a sales position in a stable but growing company
If this is your response, I will not remember it and I may not remember you based on this answer alone.
I am looking for a director level position in apparel sales based on the West Coast. My target companies include Nike, Under Armour, Adidas.
Now that I can work with. And you can do a nice job reinforcing those objectives through the use of a few simple tools:
1. Hand me a networking business card. I created a really simple template here that you can download and use starting today. It’s called the Flashcard™.
2. Hand me a one-sheet that highlights your skills, experience and accomplishments. And, yes, here’s another free template. It’s called the SoloSheet™
3. Ask to be added to my Watchlyst™. This is a one page document I keep (and you should too) to help track the job objectives of those in my network looking for a job. You can learn about the Watchlyst here.
So to answer the question about choosing target companies, you have to identify the possibilities first.
Task: Build a list of 100 companies. Selection criteria? (1) in your industry and (2) in your target geography.
Start with the ones you know. Determine whether they have an office/territory in your target geography. Get in your car and drive around key industrial areas and keep your eyes open for companies as you drive down the freeway (sounds funny, but it works). Find others in your network who are targeting the same industry and ask for their list. Use the internet, the local chamber of commerce or a local business journal.
Task: Shrink the list (50 companies) based on a few other factors. Criteria: (1) company size and (2) industry sector
Do you want to work for a really big company with a powerful brand and big budgets? Or would you rather be a part of a younger, more nimble start-up?
Is there a segment of the industry that you like better? Athletic apparel vs. outdoor? Shoes vs. t-shirts?
Once complete, this new list of 25 or so will be your big target list. These are the companies you are really feeling good about and want to share with others. And you are free to share this larger list with your close-in network. But I have one more task for you.
Task: Reduce this new list to 10 target companies. Criteria: (1) Name Recognition and (1) Culture
Why 10? An easy number for people to swallow and a list you can quickly communicate to people.
I say name recognition because I think that helps. If people in your network have never heard of any of these companies (especially the people not in your industry), they will be less likely to make the connection if they see a job advertised.
And culture is important. Make sure that your top 10 represent a place you’d really like to work. If you are really into casual Fridays or company picnics, find out where all that happens and put them in your top 10.
But what if my top 10 target companies have no jobs for me?
That’s OK. Because while these are target companies, they are also examples of the types of companies where you’d like to work. Any suggestions from your network with jobs from similar companies will be welcome, right?
So now you know how to choose them. But how do you penetrate your target companies?
Do you have any secrets to choosing target companies? How did you do it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Also . . .
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Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: flashcard | Job Search | Social Networking | solosheet | Strategy | target companies | watchlyst
Categories: How To Find A New Job