Hunt Companies, Not Jobs

It has been months since the downsizing. You have sent out countless resumes and your job search has been dragging on and on. You have been dutifully following all the recommendations you've learned about what goes into an effective job search. And you are feeling so low that you are contemplating "throwing in the towel."

Is there a better way?

Stop job hunting. Start Company Hunting.

In job hunting, we look for job openings. In company hunting, we ask ourselves questions such as:

- Where would we like to work?
- What organizations do we most admire?
- What organizations could use my skills the most?
- Where could I work where I could really make a difference?

Make a list of the companies that bubble up in this thought process. Sift and sort the list for the ones that most attract you. Identify your target employers and pursue them.

This is NOT a new idea.

The job hunting guru himself, Richard Nelson Bolles, advocates this in his classic book What Color Is Your Parachute. Contrarian headhunter Nick Corcodilos also advocates it.

Why is this approach better than job hunting? There are three main reasons:

1. Everybody else who, like you, is unemployed is doing it. The sheer numbers work against you. However, in Company Hunting, you are one of the few. You will stand out like a star.

2. You've heard of the "hidden job market," right? That is, the vast number of unadvertized jobs and needs that exist inside companies. Traditional job hunting via job boards misses this job market completely. In Company Hunting, you by-pass the job boards and go after the company itself where the "hidden" jobs await.

3. Employers are in business to serve customers and to make money. Therefore, they are always interested in talking with someone who can help them do those things or solve problems related to those things. In traditional job hunting, you urgently need a job, but the employer may not feel the same sense of urgency. Company Hunting, by contrast, is more like consulting since you have already thought about the employer's goals and needs, and how the employer could use your skills.

So, how do you operationalize this approach? More to come in the next blog post.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, March 2, 2010

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