Your Target Market: A job seeker who feels that his or her job search has stalled needs to take an honest assessment of his skills and experiences in light of all the changing market forces around him. The very fact that you are in a job search says something about either your skills or your cost in your prior employer's micro-economy. It might also say something about your prior employer's ability to meet the changing needs of the macro-economy.
Things to consider are:
- Regions: Has your industry moved across country or even to another country? If so, should you relocate or should you look to transfer your skills elsewhere?
- Industries: What one or two specific industries do you have the most experience in, and to what specific industries can you potentially transfer your skills and experience the easiest?
- Firms: Should you move upstream to larger firms, downstream to smaller or secondary firms, or cross-stream to competitors or multi-national firms?
- Skills: Do you need to take courses or gain certifications to acquire additional skills needed in your industry, or do you need to completely retool yourself to change careers? (Most people change careers two to three times in their lifetimes.)
Your Connections to Your Target Market: There's some truth to the old adage "Who you know is more important than what you know." Think about it: We call on recruiters because they have contacts and knowledge of inside opportunities that we don't. We network with peers, friends, relatives and industry insiders because they MAY have contacts and knowledge of opportunities we want. And we research the Internet and industry magazines looking for people that have information or connections we would like. So if your job search has stalled or consistently results in the response, "We've selected another candidate," you should reconsider your connections to your target market. You may need to broaden the number of contacts and sources you have in your chosen target market. Your recruiters and contacts may not be in your target market. They may not be focusing their energies on you for some reason (see #3 above). Or they may simply not be on par with your career goals-meaning they don't have the connections and leads that they say they have.
For example, if your target market is in technology startups, then your connections should be 90% focused on venture-capital (VC) firms, recruiting firms that specialize in technology startups, and websites, magazines and organizations that identify and assist startups. If you're spending more than 10% of your time in general career job sites, general technology recruiters or similar non-specialized sources, then you are wasting your time.
As a second example, I was referred by my network contacts to Mark Wayman, an executive recruiter specializing in CXO-level opportunities in the technology and gaming industries. He seemed like a great fit for my skills and experience, so I called Mark to introduce myself. I quickly learned that Mark Wayman is also known as the "Godfather of Las Vegas" since he is known for his very specialized and extensive contacts and relationships with all of Las Vegas' major industry leaders. Thus, if Las Vegas is one of your target markets at this time, then Mr. Wayman is an ideal connection for you to make.
Your Interviews: If you're getting several first interviews but no second interviews, then something is missing in this critical, final step: the job interview.
If you're working with recruiters, they can generally find out from the prospective employers what happened in those prior interviews. Alternatively, you could ask one or two recruiters for a mock interview to evaluate your presentation and style. Be sure to let them know you want honesty, not sugar coating!
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.