Vertical Job Hunting Techniques in a Tough Economy

December 25th, 2008 by

December 24th, 2008

Recently I read a very interesting online article entitled, Young Graduates Struggle for Silicon Valley Jobs at I was surprised by a comment made by a young university graduate who was seeking a marketing job in the Silicon Valley.  The person indicated that they had applied for about 25 marketing jobs without receiving much of a response from employers; they gave the impression they were very disappointed by the results.  If you are looking for a job in this tough economy you’d best prepare to send out a minimum of 400 resumes; at the same time, you need to make your resume focused and relevant to the company you are targeting.  Listed below are a few “vertical selling” techniques that can be used to improve your ability to secure a job in this tough economic market.

Industry Verticals in your Geographic Region – Determine how far you are willing to drive and categorize the various companies in your geographic region into verticals.  In the case of the young person in the article, he is looking for a marketing job in San Jose. A great place to start researching is the City of San Jose’s Office of Economic Development at – In a brief search of this site, I was able to find the following examples of verticals in the High-Tech sector: Computer Equipment, Online Auction, Semiconductor Equipment, Electronics Manufacture, Software, Contract Manufacturer, and Aerospace/Communication. 

Vertical Market Opportunity – Take the verticals and list them across the top of a page, then start researching what companies fall within these verticals and list the companies below its respective vertical heading.  The following site lists 1055 tech companies at and provides a link to each company’s website.  If you are serious about getting a job you need to visit the website of all 1055 companies and put the company in the appropriate vertical.  The information you want to collect is the total amount of companies in each vertical, total employees, and company size (large, medium or small).  When this data is collected, my recommendation is to target the vertical that has the most companies and employees.

Company Market Opportunity – Now it is time to start looking at the companies within your target vertical and prioritize the companies based on how well the companies are performing.  Research the press releases and financial statements: Are they making money? Do they have money in the bank? What is its debt situation?  These are potential indicators on the probability of the company’s willingness to add employees in a tough economic market.

Deep and Wide – In the case of the article, the person is looking for a job in marketing; the next step is to identify the key people in the target vertical companies: who are the VPs of Marketing, Directors, Managers, and Product-Managers? You need to get on the phone and call these people; the most important step is to find out what projects they have on the go and what the challenges they face are. Update your resume explaining why you are the best person to help them address the challenges they face and make sure all of your contacts have a copy of your resume.

When you are done with the first vertical, move on to the next one and start the process again.  Make sure you are taking notes on your conversations with your target market contacts and look for requirements that are repeated; then, tailor your message to these requirements.  Buy a CRM package like ACT to help organize all the data that you are collecting. 

On behalf of POIM, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous, happy, and healthy New Year.



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