Published: Feb 15, 2011
As a recruiter who has hired thousands of people for very diverse industries, I often get asked, “What are the hot industries right now?” In today’s volatile job market, this question becomes even easier to answer: the hottest industry right now is… the industry you really want.
Ok, I’m assuming you don’t want to manufacture a Betamax or do something else that doesn’t exist as a viable industry. Even if you love the Betamax, your chances for getting a job in that industry are nil. It does matter that your target industry is viable. It is helpful if your target industry is growing. However, it’s more important that you are passionate about your choice of industry than what is happening within that industry. I would bet on a candidate passionately going after a stagnant industry over a candidate indiscriminately chasing a rapidly growing industry.
This is not woo-woo theory but actually very simple logic here:
Job search is tough; the ones who survive really care. You will encounter problems, delays, and unexpected surprises (not all positive) in any job search, regardless of how hot your industry or how desirable your background. When you really care about your target industry, you will be willing to stick it out. When you don’t care, you will lose faith quickly, try something else, and then never get enough momentum in your job search.
Prospective employers hire for desire. Recruiting is not an exact science, and you can’t get recruiters to agree about much (not everybody reads cover letters, not everybody cares that a resume stays on one page). However, every recruiter that I have ever asked about desire always confirms that they will take a less qualified (though still qualified) candidate who really wants the job over the best qualified candidate who is lukewarm. Once required skills are met, desire trumps skill. One surefire way to prove desire is to know your target industry inside and out. People who are passionate will do this needed research.
The best industry research goes deep. You better be passionate about the industry you go after to learn enough about it to differentiate yourself. This is not about a cursory Internet search or reviewing the website of a handful of companies. You need to map out all the competitors – the top 5 or 50 if that’s how scattered the market is, as well as newcomers. You need to be aware of trends and challenges. You need to find the decision-makers, follow them on social media, and know enough about them to carry a conversation with them. The expertise you need to penetrate a target industry is too difficult to master if you’re not interested.
You can and should have more than one target. You can absolutely go after media AND technology or financial services AND consulting or even pharmaceuticals AND non-profit. You will still need to get momentum, show desire, and perform the in-depth research for each and every industry choice. But definitely make a choice. The jobseekers who say they are interested in everything will find nothing. The jobseekers who choose narrowly will find a wide range of possibilities.
--Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine
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