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We are in the “Information Age,” and Wow!! that has helped the job search candidate, such as you. It is much easier these days to compile research information on industries, companies and decision makers than it was just a few short years ago.

With your New Year’s Resolution in hand to improve your employment status, you are ready to commence a hard-hitting, comprehensive, multi-faceted job search.

What should you do first? Decide where to direct your job search. Because you will receive the warmest reception in the job market where you have the experience, training, education, or certifications that a company seeks.

You may target by geographic area, industry, company size, function, or position.

Geographic area. Most folks living in San Diego want to stay in San Diego, so targeting by geographic area is easy. Or you may decide to expand the geographic area, and open yourself to the possibility of relocation to a different geographic area. Recent studies show that some states are adding jobs faster than others: Texas, Florida, North Dakota, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, as well as Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado are adding jobs faster than states such as California, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Missouri, Michigan and West Virginia. Target a state with a vibrant economy for best results.

Industry: Database research is the easiest way to target by industry. Standard Industrial Codes allow you to specifically target by industry. For example, if you want to target the Aerospace industry, look at SIC#3721. If you decide you want to work in the Healthcare Industry, look at SIC codes in the 8000 range. If you want to work for a distributor of Sporting Goods, the best SIC code is 5091. Interested in the Software industry? Try SIC code #7372.

Company Size: Often a job search candidate will want to target larger companies under the assumption that larger companies are more stable and offer more opportunity. Actually, most of the job creation in the USA comes from small growing companies, and most folks in this country actually work for small companies. Technically a “small” company is 500 or few employees. Actually, most companies have less than 50 employees.

So if you want a more viable job search, target smaller companies. Target companies in growing and vibrant industries for the best results. Need more training, or a special certification to qualify? Get it! What are you waiting for? Opportunities come to those that prepare themselves for those opportunities. Vocationally-oriented training is a wise choice.

Function: Direct your efforts toward the most appropriate departments in the companies that you select. For example, if you have been working in the accounting department for the last seven years, then you should target the accounting department.

Position: It is also vitally important that you target the correct decision maker. For example, if your past experience has been working for a manufacturer in the area of production, you may want to target the manufacturing or production manager. If you have been working in the accounting department of a company, you should target the accounting manager or controller. If you have been working in marketing, who is in charge of the marketing department?

The human resources department is usually there to screen you out. If you answer a published opening on one of the numerous internet job sites, your résumé probably ends up in the human resources department, along with dozens, and maybe hundreds, of other résumés. Nothing you can do about that. Do not rely on internet job sites. Do not ignore them, but do not rely on them for your next career connection.

You should target the decision maker in that company that fits your area of expertise. If you are an accountant, target the accounting department and the accounting manager – or controller – specifically for an informational meeting. Learn from that individual how your experience would transfer into their industry. He or she is an expert in the industry and has the inside information, if you will. You can learn from them how your skills and experience would transfer to their industry. Perhaps you could ask about performing an internship for a few weeks or months so that you can gain experience, experience that you can add to your résumé.

Another way to look at it would be to target a decision maker that fits the type of work you are seeking, the person you would report to if you were hired. If you have been working in inventory control, the inventory control manager would probably be your supervisor.

Richard M. Knappen is president of Chessmen Career Movers, an outplacement, career management, and consulting firm that is one of the oldest locally-owned companies in its industry in Southern California.

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