Most executives would rather sit in their home office, make on-line applications and then wait for the recruiters to call, than to do what it really takes to find their next better job. 

No research, no cold calls – just submit that resume from your computer to a prospective employer’s computer.  Not too much fuss and virtually no muss.  

There is only one problem with this approach: you are not searching for a job you are applying for a job.  Blindly applying for every job you come across that you think is a fit is not searching for a job.  That is the least effective way to find your next better position, according to a host of career counselors.  This is the non-contact approach.

Photo: Joe Calomeni, CANVA.COM

You are applying for jobs and that is the least effective way to find your next better position, according to a host of career counselors.  This is the non-contact approach.

Targeting employers has consistently proven to be the most effective way to identify the best positions.  You see, many of the best jobs are never posted.  They are filled based on referral, not by search firm consultants or with the help of those annoying automatic trafficking systems, the bane of most job seeker’s existence. It is all about the relationship.  Building a network of professional colleagues is very much a “contact” sport.

Here are four easy steps to target an organization.

  1. Make a list of the areas of the country where you would like to live, then target companies in those geographic areas based on research, hopefully something more robust than simply Googling the organization’s name. That is what early careerists may do.  You must dig deeper. As one executive said, “When I looked at a certain market, I thought I knew which company I would most like to work for. After completing my review, I chose a competitor to focus on.”
  2. Send a letter or email to the CEO and explain that you have identified his company as one that you would like to work for in the future.  Focus on your skills and successes.  Be succinct but make it clear you a have the experience and record of accomplishment to add value to his/her organization.  Ask to be considered if a suitable position becomes available. After sending the letter, attempt to connect with the CEO on LinkedIn.
  3. Identify other executives in that organization on LinkedIn and send personalized notes expressing interest in connecting since they work for a company you admire.    Then work to enrich those connections by sharing relevant information along with offers of help so that they become something more than a number on your LinkedIn profile. This is called building a network within a network. It can be an enormously powerful strategy for your job search. This takes time but it is the best way to identify the “better” jobs.
  4. Set up Google news alerts for that organization, the CEO and those other executives with whom you have connected.  When something positive arises in the news feed, be sure you let them know with a handwritten note, at best, or an email.  

Now repeat the process. 

The more targets you have, the greater the chances for a timely success.