Recruiters and others in the biz of HR often talk about “the war for talent.” It is a term originating from Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Company in 1997 and a book by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones and Beth Axelrod. To quote Wikipedia, “…war for talent refers to an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees.” The question I pose to you is, “How talented are you?” Sure, you could point to your resume and what you achieved. No doubt, you could argue your qualifications ad nauseum in any interview. However, before you can initiate your case to a hiring body you need to be chosen as a potential candidate. In this post, I am going to show you how to stack the deck in your favor. But first, an unpleasant truth I want you to consider.
Do you know who is looking at your resume? To be clear, once you send it in to your prospective employer, who evaluates it? The cynical among you will no doubt say that a machine is viewing it first and you would be correct. However all things being wonderful, a human being will be amazed by your work history and contact you for potential employment. Yet, this returns me to my previous question, although slightly edited. Who is the human being looking at your resume? Are they a senior recruiter and, as such, can scan your resume in three seconds and discern whether or not you may be a good potential hire? Or are they someone more junior and only looking for a certain number of keywords? No way to know, for sure. In order to satisfy the cursory view of either type of professional, I suggest being as strategic as possible with your choice of employment. Why? All things being equal, a software developer from Google will be more coveted than a software developer from Joe’s Software Shack. (I made that last company name up. Apologies to any Software Shacks owned by a “Joe.”)
Such being the case, jobs at the “best” companies will continue to pay off for the duration of your career as recruiters consider your resume. Yet, not everyone can work at Google or Facebook or (insert hot company name here). An alternative is to work for the “next” Google or Facebook or (insert hot company name here). How do you that? Glad you asked.
One way to find up and coming companies that could be the “next big thing” is to search out enterprises that are attracting venture capitalist funding. I would try the following searches on Google (with results restricted to the past year) and Google News (for the most current information).
- “early stage” (funding OR expansion) keyword
- “angel investor” (funding OR expansion) keyword
- (“series A” OR “series B”) (funding OR round) keyword
- “invested in * startup” keyword
Of course, it’s also worth your time to research who is investing major funding in startup companies related to what you do.
- (top OR best OR leading) venture capital firms in keyword
Monitoring the rumor mill to see who might be bought or acquired could lead to something fruitful for your career.
- (” * is rumored to” OR “in talks to “) (buy OR acquire OR merge) keyword
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I would focus a search on companies that are winning awards, since that may garner the attention of investors and potential acquisitions.
- allintitle: award winning keyword
- intitle:best of keyword
- (intitle:”award winning” OR intitle:”nominated for”) keyword
I know I said “finally,” but let me mention one more direction to try. Consider a close look at companies that have been cited as being among the “fastest growing.”
- ” * named fastest growing” keyword
What do you think of these ideas? Inquiring minds would like to know. If you would, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Happy job hunting! (If there is such a thing.)