Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Your Important Target Company List

 In this era of uncertain employment longevity, you would imagine that every savvy business person, employed or seeking new employment, would have a list of companies where they want to do business or get a job clearly in mind.
We call this your Target Company List.
Well, recently, I was presenting my “Non-conventional Job Search Tips” class to a group of 45-plus (for the most part) job seekers at a community-sponsored career center in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Now, this is a employment market that fortunately for those who reside here, is a hotbed of job opportunities due to the explosive growth of social media and bio-tech companies as well as those industries which feed these voracious companies.
I asked how many folks, of the forty or so gathered in the room, had developed a list of target companies where they wanted to work, in fact, where they deserved to work.
Only two hands went up!  Everyone in the group had their resumes, bios, 60-second elevator speeches, websites, LinkedIn pages and other tools in good shape.  But, they were lacking their most important tool, a target company list. 
My job search coaching practice has three parts: self-assessment, action plan development and then the all important third step, action plan execution.  The key component of the job search execution phase is compiling a list of ten to twenty companies within thirty miles of your home (keep the commute sane) where you believe you should be working.  The companies should meet your job criteria (that’s another subject) and you should feel you are a match with their mission as stated on their websites (check the homepage, press releases, bios, etc to learn what the company is trying to accomplish).
Then, via Linked In and Lead.411 and other sites offering information about these companies, you create a list of executives, past and present, who you then reach out to via email and voice-mail.  Your approach is simple: this is why I am contacting you (“I like the new xyz program you are developing), why I may be of interest to you (I have worked on xyz for five years with great results at abc companies), and I WANT TO MEET YOU.  The worst that can happen is nothing.  The best is that they respond.
Using this simple method, a recent client emailed the CEO of a major insurance company regarding his interest in joining their training team.  He got a response in two days and has been in conversations (this is important- conversations, not interviews) with them.
This was a “cold out-reach”, but actually a very “hot out-reach”, because he was able to connect the company and himself in three brief paragraphs in an email sent to a decision-maker gleaned from Linked In.
This takes some hard work and thinking, but it is well worth the effort, I promise.
Having a Target List of companies with whom you want to do business or obtain employment/consulting and then reaching out in brief, targeted emails to key executives is the best business-building or job-seeking tactic I know of.
Try it.  Today.  And keep at it. Begin a proactive outreach program today to YOUR TARGET COMPANY LIST.
Good luck!