58% of those who attend The Five O’Clock Club decide to change careers. This makes us experts in
helping people decide what they want to do next and also in helping them get into those fields or industries. This article is just one step in the process. For more information, click on the link at the end of the article.
Selecting Job Targets — Your Key to Career Change and Job-Hunting Success
A job target means selecting a specific geographic area, a specific industry or organization size, and a specific position within that industry. A job target must have all three.
Select your targets. Using our methodology, conduct a campaign aimed at each. Concentrate your energies, and you increase your chances for success.
Approach each target with an open mind. Commit to a target, but only as long as it makes sense. You can change your mind after you find out more about it. It makes no sense to strive to be a ballerina after you find you have absolutely no ability as a dancer. Commitment to a target lets you discover your real possibilities and increases your chances of landing a job of your choice. The unsuccessful ballet student may have something else of great value to offer the world of dance–such as the ability to raise funds or run a ballet company.
The Results of Commitment
Commitment increases the chance that you will come across clearly and enthusiastically about the industry and the position you seek; it will help you do a thorough job of networking the chosen area, of investigating and being knowledgeable about the area, of conducting a thorough search, and of being successful in making that career change.
If the result of your initial commitment is that you realize a job target is not what you thought it would be, you have resolved the issue and can move on.
Jim, a marketing manager, had targeted four industries: environmental, noise abatement, shipping, and corporate America, a backup target in case the other three did not work. He conducted an excellent search aimed at the environmental target, an area he had always wanted to explore. It was only after a brief but committed job search that he found the environmental area was not for him: the people in it were different from what he had expected. He would not be able to do the things he had imagined he would do there. That target no longer interested him. The noise abatement and shipping industries, however, were very exciting to him, and he found a good match for himself. Later, his exploration of the environmental area paid off. He was employed by a shipping company in the containment of oil spills and successfully made a career change.
Commitment to a target means you’ll give that target your best shot–and results in a better job hunt than if you had no target at all.
Target a Geographic Area
Targeting a geographic area is usually the easiest part of the targeting process. Some people decide that they want to work near their present homes, while others decide that they would be willing to move where the jobs are. Are you willing to move anywhere? Are a small town and a big city the same to you? Would you move to the coast? To Arizona? Would you rather be near your family? If you want to stay where you are now, target that area as your first selection–and you’ll have a better chance of getting offers there. If you really care about where you live, target it.
Think about where you stand on this. You will be assigning yourself an impossible task if, for example, you want to be an export manager but want to work only in a geographic area where there are no export-management positions. If you must live in a particular area, be realistic about the kinds of jobs open to you there.
Resolve this issue. Then you will know if you’d be willing to change your target industry so you can live where you want, or change your geographic area so you can work in the industry or function that interests you.
Target an Industry and a Function in That Industry
Many people say they don’t care what industry they work in. When pressed, they usually have stronger opinions than they thought.
If you think any industry would be okay for you, let’s find out. Would you work in the not-for-profit sector? If so, where? In education? A hospital? How about government? A community organization? Does it matter to you?
Would you work for a magazine? A chemical company? The garment industry? How about a company that makes cardboard boxes? Or cheese? Does it matter to you?
Does it matter if the organization has forty employees? What about forty thousand? Four hundred thousand? Does it matter to you?
You’ve Selected a Target If . . .
. . . you can clearly state the industry or organization size in which you’d be interested, your position within each industry, and some guidelines regarding geographic location.
For example, if you’re a junior accountant, you may already know that you want to advance in the accounting field. You may know that you want to work for a small service organization as an assistant controller in the geographic area where you are now living.
If you have clearly selected your targets, then you can get on with finding interviews in your target area. To do that, you would conduct a campaign in your target area. (Job-hunting campaigns are covered in our books.)