In the Hidden Job Market, size of the company is one of the most important features you can consider in your search. According to Donald Asher, author of Cracking the Hidden Job Market, says that large corporations are easier to find, but small companies are the ones creating new jobs. It’s also a smart strategy to be looking for work in places others don’t bother. Everyone applies to the name brand companies that get plenty of press; you’ll have a better chance of being seen when you connect with smaller companies.
One big advantage small companies have over large is the ability to make decisions quickly. When you connect with a small company, chances are, you’ll be able to present your qualifications to the owner or decision maker without a lot of layers in between. They’ll be able to make a place for talented people, whereas large companies will have cumbersome processes and more specific job descriptions in place.
Asher also recommends that you consider the age of the company when working on your targets – he recommends companies that have been in business less than five years. Young companies offer more opportunities than mature ones. They’ll have less structure, need more help, and be hungrier than a well-established firm.
Think about how specific you can make your job search. Once you have a very specific target, people can help you locate prospects much more easily. Here is what a really specific target sounds like:
- “I’m looking for a small logistics company within 30 miles of my target location, between 100 – 300 employees, and that’s been in business ten years or less.”
- “I’m looking for a private high school where I can teach business classes and coach baseball. I’m looking for one that’s been in business five years or less and has a good academic reputation and an up and coming sports program.”
- I’m looking for a small law practice on the South side of town that employs about five partners, but no more than 20. “
Once your target is that specific, practice telling it to everyone you know. Someone will eventually recognize your target and say – “My brother-in-law works at a place just like that!”
You can also use research databases to find target companies. Dun & Bradstreet, professional membership associations and industry publications will all be rich resources for developing lists of companies that match your criteria. Hoovers and Google also have searchable business databases online.
Asher’s magic formula is to have 100 leads working at all times – a daunting goal, but one that he says will surely net you some interviews and at least one offer. Creating and working a list of size-appropriate targets is a great place to start creating your list of 100.