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Find “Ins” with Target Companies by Collecting Demographics

Demographic information about target companies and potential hiring managers can help you during your job search in crafting a powerful value statement later on. When writing marketing copy, such as your value statement or even profile information, being able to visualize your target audience is often helpful. In marketing, this imagining of a target audience is called personas.

On a spreadsheet or a piece of paper, list your ten target companies and fill in the following information for each:

  • The company’s mission or vision

  • Its top three goals

  • Its values

  • Its industry

  • Its location

  • One to three main competitors

  • The position you’re looking for

  • Its size (revenue or number of employees)

  • The top three struggles that the company or industry is facing now

If the companies you’re targeting are publicly traded, all the basic information you can possibly need is included in their annual reports. If not, explore the companies’ websites or LinkedIn profiles to find it.

Collecting these companies’ basic information not only can help you write a strong value statement but also may give you new insights on how to position yourself in the market. For example, a client was going for a position designing eLearning curriculum for corporations. He discovered that the company’s previous person wasn’t very creative and the company had some pretty serious deadlines to meet.

So instead of sending over a traditional résumé, he designed an eLearning course about himself and about his experiences. It was an eLearning résumé. A critical component of this résumé was how little time it took him to do it. He addressed the company’s two primary concerns — creativity and speed to implementation.

Now you’re going to drill a little bit deeper and try to understand the hiring manager at each of your target companies. Using LinkedIn’s people search or a people directory called ZoomInfo, try to find out who the hiring managers may be at your top ten companies. Look at their profiles, Google their names, and then fill out a demographic analysis on the following dimensions.

Note: Some items in this list require some speculation. That’s okay for now. Just guess or make it up. The point of the exercise is to help you step into the hiring managers’ shoes and see things from their perspective, not to pass an accuracy test.

  • How old are they?

  • Are they male or female?

  • What’s their career, rank, job position, or title?

  • How much money do they make a year? (speculate)

  • What’s their education?

  • What do they do in their spare time? (speculate)

  • What websites or portals do they visit for information? (speculate)

  • What are their professional activities outside of work? Do they volunteer?

  • What problems are they facing?

  • How are they similar to you?

If you can answer these questions for your target hiring managers, then you have a shoo-in on making a huge lasting impression. Why? Because, like it or not, people are more comfortable with people who are like themselves. That’s just basic psychology.

Use your demographic research not only to inform how you define your brand but also to keep track of at least one thing you can relate to about a person or company you’re targeting. Then lead with that common thing when it’s time to reach out.

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