Writing Your Resume To Appeal To The Small Business Market
I witness it all the time: professionals and executives wanting to cast a ‘broad net’ for the job search in order to scoop up opportunities. This (generally) does not work because your ‘broad’ message will not sell you to a ‘specific’ audience.
In defining your target audience, beyond the type of role (position title) and industry to which you wish to market your value, the size of company can be instrumental in narrowing your message.
It’s widely purported that small companies do a majority of the hiring, and as such, I often recommend job seekers consider this market when aiming their job-search arrow. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.gov) says that small firms represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years. A recent article at Entrepreneur.com cites stats from a study that says more than 40 percent of small businesses plan to hire in the next six months. In fact, the president’s jobs plan claims to focus on small business support because of this reputation for hiring.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of careerists aspiring to un-suction themselves from the pull of large-company magnetism where pay and other benefits often reside but where employees feel lost and nameless in a sea of other employees. To adjust their career course, they look to the small-company market.
In a recent resume writing collaboration with a senior operations executive working for a large, Fortune 500 enterprise, we deliberately, and with surgical strike prowess, transitioned his message from large- to small-company centered. One strategy we used was to create a headline tailored to his NEW, smaller audience’s needs, including the needs of non-profits and startups. Here is the resulting headline:
Industry Changing Pioneer Intent Upon Impacting the Wider Community Through COO Skill Sets, a Personal Passion for Mentoring and Developing Top Talent, and a Keen Ability to Drive New Opportunities in a Growing Market such as ….
Non-profit Entities | Green Energy Start-ups | Companies Poised for Growth
Additionally, we scaled his achievements stories to resonate with the target (small-business owner’s) situation. Since small businesses typically have revenues below $5 million (although, I’ve heard small business defined as companies with revenues up to $50 million), spouting multibillion-dollar results and $200 million sales streams may turn off a small business owner. He may sense that you will not be satisfied with such low revenue and profit stakes that his small company offers.
How do you scale large numbers? One way is to replace them with percentages, where feasible. A before and after example follows:
- Before: Boosted revenues from $75 billion to $100 billion, in one year.
- After: Boosted revenues 33%, in one year.
Show HOW You Do What You Do To Show You Are a Small-Company Fit
Keep in mind, as important as the numbers are, ‘how’ you made this revenue growth happen is equally critical. Articulate your leadership story, showing that you used skills in communications and trust building to remove barriers and create a community of team members working together for a common cause. Demonstrate your talent to nimbly effectuate change, and to do so with limited resources, since small companies often act on decisions more quickly and with fewer resources than do larger, more bureaucratic companies. SHOW, through custom-crafted stories, that you will fit into the small-business environment.
To help you locate which companies to target and to understand their culture, other attributes and needs, you must conduct company research. First, go to Glassdoor.com and search by company name to find lots of good information related to that company, including reviews written by employees, providing insights as to the culture environment. As well, many of the Glassdoor company listings are enhanced to show the company website and size, so you can determine if they fit your target market.
Another helpful research site, and one that specifically caters to the small-business market is Manta.com, a great destination to unearth small-company details. Moreover, consider researching companies on LinkedIn and the many online Business Journals published globally yet focused on location-specific reports in all the major US cities.
Scoop up as much detail as you can, including areas of growth opportunity and your audience’s specific ‘needs.’ For example, local business journals often report on companies that are breaking ground for new office buildings, indicating a potential need for new staff – from business development, to accounting, to operations professionals, and more! By tapping into this repertoire of online resources (and of course, conducting online and in-person networking), and by adapting your resume content to the needs of a small business, you can create a tailored and compelling message that attracts the small-business market, helping you to land that next great job!