Ever walk into a place and the hair on the back of your neck stood up?
What if the next thing which happened in short order is you were offered what is “supposedly” your dream job? Would you take it “hoping” for the best? Or would you do some research to figure out who is “behind the curtain pulling the strings”?
Our advice, don’t end up in this position if you can avoid it. Most ask us at this point, so what should I have done? Before you ever set foot inside a company, do your research upfront, not after the fact. Bad news early is good news.
Choosing the companies you want to work for is like deciding where to go on vacation.
In a previous article we asked you to determine your sweet spot and we discussed how to avoid ending up in a dead end company. Let’s begin to drill into how to locate those companies which match your sweet-spot.
As a reminder, your sweet spot includes capabilities, skills and beliefs. Both strengths and weaknesses. This is where we highly recommend you begin, not digging through the want ads and on line job board postings. (Don’t just spray and pray.)
Using your list of strengths and weaknesses, build a list of markets and/or industries which require your strengths in combination with your degree. An example from when I began my career is listed below.
Here is an overview of my sweet-spot when I graduated:
- Strong chemical knowledge, (required in positions under review).
- Project focused in the physical world, (not the “quantum chemistry” level).
- Practical applied science, (weakness is theory).
- Working with people, (not test tubes).
- Newer, (not older technology).
- A fast growing company, (odds favor a smaller company).
- Future advancement opportunities within the company.
- Overseas opportunities, (to travel is in my blood).
A short list of my industries and types of companies to pursue was:
- Chemical Manufacturers of all types
- I trimmed this to petro-chemical, chemical, pharmaceutical, & beverage
- Growth rates of 10%+ last 5 years, (still do-able even in today’s marketplace)
- Leader in their industry and/or market place
- Promote from within the company
- A manufacturer with their own technology, not an assembler/OEM
Think about your short list of companies to pursue and make sure various attributes about your “beliefs” are included.
An example from mine, I had a strong desire to grow with any company I joined. (This is my belief and part of who I am.) To achieve this, I was looking for fast growing companies, which creates more opportunities. As well as a company which promoted from within.
Taking this thought further, can you begin to see how you can ask questions during the interview which helps find out if your beliefs match how the company behaves towards employees and their customers? Remember, “bad news early is good news”.
We firmly believe while focusing on your career, “learn to disqualify, don’t concentrate on qualifying”.
When the right company comes along, you will know it based on how well they resonate with your beliefs. The trick is getting down to a manageable list of companies to pursue while entering and/or changing career paths. Realizing some of the ones on your list will turn out not to align with your beliefs and many may not be hiring when you need a job.
Remember, ~80% of companies currently hire based on some sort of referal, so don’t plan on seeing the job postings. You will need to “find the ones you want to work for in today’s world”.
Now, using virtual space and your short list, go locate companies within your geographic range. Odds are you’ll be looking for the top 3 to 5 companies in any one industry/market, not the bottom feeders. Then see if any are within the areas you will accept living in. (My short list example did not have a geographic limitation, I was willing to move to any place in the world.)
With your 3 separate short lists in hand, now what?
As a reminder these are the 3 lists for you to prepare. Whether in your mind, on paper or in a file. Begin the process and keep updating them as you find out more information about you, your business beliefs, and which companies are falling or rising.
- Your strengths and weaknesses.
- A short list of the “types” of companies within the chosen industry/market.
- A specific list of the companies you prefer in your geographic area.
The next step is utilizing social tools to “disqualify” companies on your list and replace them with others as you seek out potential employers. With the Internet, it is impossible for any company to hide all of their dirty laundry.
This is not the point to determine if you will resonate with the company from the inside, you are doing an external review. We also caution on tossing too many to the wind without checking out and confirming what you read and/or learn externally.
The truth is always some place in the middle from what you read and/or hear.
With your final list of companies to pursue, one of your best “business” social tools at this point will be LinkedIn. It does not mean don’t use other social tools. It is the fact LinkedIn will allow you to determine who in your current network may be able to introduce and/or recommend you to somebody in one of the companies on your list.
Remember, 80% of job hires is now occurring based on some form of a referral. Here is an article on the usage of LinkedIn to help you locate these potential companies and get refered by some one in your personal network.