Six Steps to Target Your Job Search

Does this sound like you?  Each morning you log onto your computer, check your email, search the internet for new jobs on the job boards, submit a few resumes, write a few emails and then sit back and wait, only to do the exact same thing the following day?  Have months gone by without many leads and you just cave into the negative feelings that bombard you from the press? 

I believe there are jobs out there.  I believe that if you have a solid resume with a solid background then you can and will find a job.  But think about that sentence for a minute.  Are you finding a job or hoping the job will find you?  Why not get proactive and target your job search toward the exact job you desire?

Start by writing down all the things you loved about your last position.  Next write down everything that either wasn’t perfect or you disliked greatly about it…was the commute too long?  Did you have to share an office?  Did you love the free coffee?  Think of everything you can and put it either in the “Things I loved” or “Things That I didn’t Love” list.  This could take a few days to complete.

Then take out a fresh piece of paper and write down everything you feel would be ideal in your next job.  Perhaps you’d love to work from home three days per week, want to bring your dog to work, need to leave the office by three every day and have to be able to ride your bike.  Ok.  Write it down.  All of it…from the environment, people, benefits, job content, upward mobility, industry, salary, bonuses, commute, company philosophy – all of it.

You can utilize the tools on the internet to learn more about the companies in your area.  Hoovers (the website) is a good place to do this research.  You can also take a look at the financial websites for more information about company performance, number of employees, etc.  Ask your friends if they know of any companies that match your ideal list too and research them.  Find the companies which best fit your list of the ideal situation.

Determine your top ten companies and then the next ten as backup.  These companies will be your primary focus to which you will market yourself.  And before you make one call, submit your resume to each of these companies via their websites.

Which department could best utilize your skills and experience?  Do you know anyone currently employed there?  Who is in charge of hiring?  Who in HR can you contact?  By utilizing

for this information, you should be able to find out how to get connected with the correct players. 

If you’re having a difficult time finding out who to contact at the company, pick the name on LinkedIn that is the closest and give them a call.  Introduce yourself by saying that you saw them on LinkedIn (which means they are in your network somewhere) and that you’re looking for a referral into X department.  Ask for a name.  If they give you the HR department, so be it.  Call HR and ask them for the name of the hiring manager.  Keep calling until you find out exactly whom you need to contact. 

The company may not have any openings right now that are a fit for you.  Don’t let that discourage you, especially if they are on your top ten target companies list.  Know that every conversation, every email and every bit of follow up you do is building rapport.  If you continue to approach them proactively and with a positive demeanor, they’ll think of you first when they DO have a job opening. 

Also keep in mind that somewhere behind the scenes they could be planning their headcount or budgeting for upcoming projects.  Make sure you’re at the top of their list for when the position opens by networking with the right people.

Here are a couple of additional things to think about:

Not only does it feel good to be proactive in your job search, but it can also be fun and rewarding.  You’ll learn more about what you want in your career and you’ll meet great people along the way.  And you could quite possibly get your perfect job too!  Happy job hunting!