In her latest column for Changing Careers Magazine, Angela discusses how to know your audience, whether youre changing your career, just starting out or looking for a new role.
No matter how much time you put into packing yourself up as an as a product, if youre serious about a career move, it is crucial to identify the best audience to which to sell that product. This means identifying which employers you would most like to work for and those who are most likely to employ you. Your goal should be to collate as large a database as possible of potential people you can contact about your job search and it must contain only those individuals who will have an interest or can help you. List their contact details, including their social media handles, email addresses, postal addresses, locations and job titles if appropriate. Whilst it might seem like an ambitious target, it can actually be quite easy to build up a list of 1,000 names once you put your mind to it.
Start by identifying the top businesses that you would like to work for, taking into account your preferences on niche, their location, how many people they employ and whether they are advertising jobs on their website. This can generally be done quite quickly via a search engine.
Next, identify the movers and shakers in your chosen industry these are top level managers and you will tend to find these by searching each of the company names from your list, first from LinkedIn and then from Twitter and Google. By doing this, you should be able to managers at each of your preferred companies and you should also be able to find out their email addresses, postal addresses, job titles, phone numbers, locations and if they use Twitter and update LinkedIn, even their views!
Its also a good idea to identify experts within your chosen industry look at the associations and memberships are that the companies and people you have already identified belong to. As an example, if you were to search for Associations for Recruitment in UK, youll come across APSCO (Association of Professional Staffing Companies) and REC (the Recruitment and Employment Confederation). You can then look at their membership lists and even input a postcode to search for all the members in that area. This is a wonderful and very easy way to find more companies and influencers in your chosen sector.
To immerse yourself even further in the industry, try to attend or even just research further opportunities such as networking events or conferences. You can identify people who have spoken at the conference as well as companies that have had stands there and individuals that have organised it. For every company you find, add a few people from that company to go on your list its easy to continue to grow it and so worthwhile, as the more targeted approaches you make the closer you will become to your perfect job. There are always industry events going on within every industry they are generally advertised on websites such as Eventbrite and are often free! Attend and collect an attendee list from the organisers if provided, because this will enable you to add more names to your list of people who are very active in the industry right now.
Recruiters within your chosen industry are also really valuable contacts for you, too. Identify all the recruitment companies that specialise in your sector and then start to make contact with their consultants. They are extremely useful as they often know about hidden jobs that have not yet been advertised by companies.
It might not seem like the most obvious source of information, but friends and family are a very important set of people that can help you to achieve your career goals. It can be difficult to ask for favours, but approach it in an informal manner, let them know what you are looking for and ask if they know anyone who might be interested in hiring. You are not asking this set of people for a job, you will instead be asking them to give you introductions to others who may be in a position to do so, and they can often be a very helpful source.
If you are entering the workplace for the first time or have re-trained in order to pursue a change of direction, schools, colleges and training providers are also a vital source of information. They will have connections with employers and all of them are now targeted to maintain a record of their leavers and how they have progressed. Therefore, they will be only too pleased to hear from you about your progress and you can ask them if they can introduce you to anyone who may be able to help you.
Remember, you are the product and you have now identified the buyer! To match the two together comes the sales process. Often, job seekers launch straight into the sales process not having covered any of the ground mentioned above and are then surprised when they send application after application without success. Whether its revising for an exam, whether its dressing up for a party where you hope to meet a new partner or whether its preparing to find a new job, preparation is key and really is worth the time.