How to Avoid Landing in a Dead End Company

Use your sweet-spot to consider which companies line up with your strengths and weaknesses.

There are two courses of action, and before we get started, let’s review both.

The first method, what we refer to as “spray and pray“.The spray and pray method does not always work well

Send your resume to as many companies as you can locate who are running ads for open positions. Using the 2011 statistics off NAICS, there are ~16 million businesses in the US.

Worst is the statistic, ~80% of all hires are now done via some sort of an internal referral, indicating most of these jobs are not advertised outside the company. The nightmare are those companies who have to advertise to find employees because no-body inside the company would refer a friend to work there.

If you are coming out of school, you’ve spent numerous years getting ready to find the right job “and” the right company. You deserve the best if you “believe” in yourself and your abilities. Considering the best jobs are likely not being advertised. Don’t just “spray and pray” and take the 1st job which comes your way if something better is around the corner with more effort on your part.

The net result, this first method, while it may have worked well many years ago, does not work all that well today. However, it is still “a way” to locate a job.

The second method, using your strengths, find those companies which are the most likely to require the skills and capabilities you bring to the table.

Then determine which “type” of companies you want to pursue. This is the method we mentor and coach on using “street-smarts” to help find, “the right company for you”.

Providing you have created “your sweet-spot“, you already have a good idea of how your skills and capabilities line up with potential markets and/or industries to pursue a career path and find the right companies to consider.

Let’s look further at the “type” of companies you may want to pursue.

While building a list of your strengths and weaknesses, which begin to define your sweet-spot, we asked you to add in your “beliefs” in a previous article. This is not your religious beliefs, it is how you interact with the world.

As an example, are you more interested in a close knit community on the job or perhaps giving back to the local community? Do you work well independently or better in a team approach? How much responsibility and independence do you require to enjoy working for a company? It is these types of questions which lead to your “business beliefs”. These beliefs are important as you short list the “right” companies for your career path.

There is an old saying in sales: “If you don’t believe in the product you are selling, you will never succeed.”

From past experience and watching individuals from numerous companies, those who were “thriving” and having fun at the same time, believed in the same things the company did. They were in sync with the direction of the company and talking with them, you could hear the belief in their own words.

The company was not an “it”, it was part of who they were, and their career. This is not to say working for any company is fantastic every day, it is more like being part of a large family, (there are 6 kids in my family). There are good days and there are bad.

Using the list of your strengths and weaknesses around skill sets, capabilities and beliefs, (your sweet-spot), you can now build a list of “attributes” which begin to define the right company for you.

With these attributes you are ready to begin building a list of the right companies for you to pursue.

Selling snake oil at a carnivalYou may be asking, what do I mean by “pursue”? Another part of our beliefs is you need to consider the “hiring process”, is a “buying process”. Right or wrong, you need to be prepared to “sell yourself during the hiring process“, while looking for a job which matches your career path. The good news, using social interaction, it can be a much softer “sales cycle”, to land a job, compared to what many first think about when we say “be prepared to sell”.

We’ll wrap up here for now. As a reminder, keep working on your sweet-spot, and how it focuses you on the right companies to pursue. In future articles, we’ll discuss “finding” the right companies which match up to your sweet-spot, as well as avoiding those which do not.

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One Comment

  1. “Find a job you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Whoever you know that seems to have found this, hang out with them and find out why this is and how they got there.

    Great stuff SS Prof!

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