I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life. Full bio
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
I was a Fortune 500 HR SVP for ten million years, but I was an opera singer before I ever heard the term HR. The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic the action became. I started writing about the workplace for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1997, but it took me ages to find my own voice. Now I write for the Huffington Post, Business Week, LinkedIn, the Harvard Business Review, the Denver Post and Forbes.com and lead the worldwide Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people. Stop by and join us: http://www.humanworkplace.com
The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
When you’re in a job search, your plan is important. We laid out a job search plan in this story.
As you begin your job search you’ll want to zero in on a career direction, and brand yourself in a way that supports that direction. If you have an Electrical Engineering degree, for instance, and spent three years doing technology quality testing but now you want to be an Applications Engineer working with customers, you’ll need to brand yourself to show prospective employers that you’ve already done most of the things that Applications Engineers do.
You may not be 100% sure of your career direction right now. That’s okay. You’ll continue to refine your career direction as your job search progresses.
Today we’ll talk about your Target Employer List.
Your Target Employer List is an important part of your Job Search Toolkit. Here are all six elements of your Job Search Toolkit:
- Your Human-Voiced Resume
- Your Pain Letter template (to keep on your computer’s hard drive and use as a starting point for every Pain Letter you write)
- Your Target Employer List
- Your Human-Voiced LinkedIn Profile
- Your network
- Your job search business card — get these at Vistaprint and hand them out in your networking travels.
Your Target Employer List has three functions. For starters, it gives you a roadmap to follow as you begin to reach out to employers with your Human-Voiced Resumes and Pain Letters. You can continue adding new employers to your Target Employer List as your job search progresses, and you can also remove employers from the list as you learn more about each organization and about what you want and need in your next job. So the first function your Target Employer List will fulfill is that it will give you a path to follow as you begin your job search.
The second function of your Target Employer List is that it will allow you to track your job search progress. You can update your Target Employer List each time you send anything (an initial Pain Letter + Human-Voiced Resume packet or a followup email, phone call or LinkedIn invitation) to a manager on your list. That way you’ll be able to track your job search activity.
The third function your Target Employer List will serve for you is that when people ask you “How can I help you in your job search?” you’ll have a good answer for them. You’ll be able to say “Thanks for that offer. That’s very kind of you. Do you happen to know anyone who works at one of these employers?” and show them your Target Employer List.
Here are four ways to construct your Target Employer List:
Let’s dig in to your ideal job situation as you prepare to create your Target Employer List.
Answer each of the questions below based on your current thinking.
What kind of work environment do you want – an office, a retail store, your own car or a company car in a sales position, a lab, or something else?
What do you want to spend your time doing at work – on the phone, working by yourself at your computer, collaborating with other people, or something else?
What kind of clothes do you want to wear to work – a suit and tie (or proper business attire for women), a business-casual outfit like khaki slacks and a polo shirt for men or a simple pair of slacks and a casual top for women – or something else?
What kind of organization do you want to work for — a hospital, a university, a large corporation, an agency (like a Public Relations agency or an Advertising agency), a newspaper, a startup company, a government agency or something else?