5 Tips to Develop Your List of Target Companies

Have you been exploring alternatives to traditional job search methods? If you have, congratulations! You are on your way to greatly increasing your results and response rates! I believe you will find this does wonders, not only for reaching your job search goals, but also in keeping up your excitement and confidence in the process.

Developing the right list of target companies is so important, because done right, it will save you a tremendous amount of time and increase your interviews. Also, this process will save you the frustration of following the wrong job search methods, which can lead you to thinking you are not getting enough quality interviews because there is something wrong with you or your resume.

Here are 5 tips to start developing your own amazing list of target companies today!

Tip #1: Focus – Example A

For instance, if you would like to stay in the state of Georgia and remain in your current field of academia, then your goal is to find the institutions suited for you in your state. Identify where these lists of institutions are and track their movement and growth. Your best bet is to check out your trade and association journals for these lists, along with late breaking news like campus growth, appropriated funds, and promotions; anything that might indicate growth or development and a great reason for you to connect. Start by researching “academia+Georgia” or “associations+higher education+Georgia.”

Tip #2: Focus – Example B

Perhaps you are in sales and marketing of consumer goods and you want to move into a senior sales role for the “green” market. You are open to relocating anywhere in the U.S.; but to not spread yourself too thin, you must come up with a nice handful of portals you can use to find emerging or developing companies that specialize in your “green” market of choice. Begin by researching “green jobs+products.” Interested in wind farms or solar? Research “green jobs+wind farms” and “wind farms+USA.” You can also try “wind energy+investors.”

These are just a few examples. Not only will you find companies and decision maker names this way, you will also find articles and information on companies that are growing and developing new products and services. Any and all companies that you like should make your list!

Tip #3: Create an Abundant List

The general rule of thumb is that the smaller your geographic parameters are, the more you really need to dig to add anyone and everyone that meets your career focus parameters. If your list is too small, then your responses are minimized. Ideally, try to begin with 30 to 50 companies.

Conversely, you may develop over 150 potential company picks in your industry of choice. If this is you, then consider sending your mailings out in phases or hiring a printer (I like Insty Prints) to help you with your mailings.

There is another industry school of thought that prefers concentrating on just a few companies at a time. If you are not in a hurry and are willing to invest in learning and networking with key decision makers in each of your companies, then I would agree this method is also effective.

Tip #4: Get to the Decision Maker

Sending all of your correspondence to the human resource department will get you far less valuable connections and interviews. This is primarily because unless HR has been handed a job description that closely matches your qualifications at the exact time you send them your resume, they are probably not going to be interested in you.

So, don’t gamble your confidence away! Though you might hit the jackpot rarely, those just aren’t very good odds. Get to the decision maker; the person two to four levels above your ideal position that is going to be interested in hearing about your successes in productivity, profitability and problem solving. No offense to my human resource friends that serve a valuable and honorable function.

Tip #5: Follow Up

You have to be prepared to follow up with a phone call once you have sent out your correspondence. I know, you’re thinking, “but it is so uncomfortable to follow up with someone I don’t know and ask them for a job!” Good news! You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) come right out and ask them for a job.

As a professional, one of the things you must do is learn the basics of networking. We ALL have to do it, so let’s discuss for a moment the value of learning how to network in a way that is comfortable and breeds confidence.

When I network, I think about it in a way that does not put undue pressure on myself or the immediate outcome. When you follow up, don’t set yourself up by rationalizing that the only acceptable outcome is a job interview. Here is your realistic goal: make an introduction, either personally or via voice mail, that you feel good about. That’s it. When you go on a first date, do you berate yourself that no one got married at the end of it? Of course not! So just take a deep breath and give the situation a chance to materialize into something positive.

If you want to leave a nice voice mail message you can feel good about, try something like this: “Hi this is ____. Perhaps my name sounds familiar. I sent you some correspondence last week and indicated I would be following up with you. Its Wednesday, 10am, and I will be in the office all day. Please feel free to call me back at ____. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.” This is a nice general introduction. Not to short and not too long.

If you connect with your contact live, that’s even better! Say hello, inform him or her why you are calling and then share what you specialize in. Perhaps you increased revenue in your division by 57% last year, you are a turnaround expert, or you just lead your corporation through a very successful merger. Whatever your latest and greatest achievement is, that’s what you should lead with. State your achievement in just a sentence or two.

Then tell them that you greatly admire their company and it is for these reasons that you wanted to introduce yourself and find out if he/she might have an interest in learning more. This structure concentrates on your quantifiable achievements and is short and flattering – a recipe for success!

Using these simple tips will put your job search focus in order and allow for a smooth transition from one objective to the other. In no time at all you will have garnered positive results from your ideal companies!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.