The Market Paradox

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One common problem that I see with job hunters and companies, is a too wide focus on the market. There is a paradox in market size. In general, the job hunters I meet are afraid of saying specifically what exact job they want. Instead, they say something along the lines of “I can take any job” and the rationale for doing so is that they want to have a larger number of opportunities open to oneself.

There is a problem, though.

Job Hunter’s Perspective

Let’s start from the perspective of the job hunter. The rationale for addressing a big market right from the start is if that there are more opportunities and therefore easier to find a job. For instance, if we don’t have any criteria at all, in Sweden we would have a possible job market of 1.5 million jobs per year. Which is the total amount of jobs that are posted at Arbetsförmedlingen each year. However, we would obviously have trouble fitting really well with all those jobs and we have limited time as well. We can’t apply for 1.5 million jobs. We have to decide where to hunt.

Recruiter’s Perspective

Let’s look at it from the perspective of a recruiter or employer. They will always have more than one candidate and as I have talked about before, it is good to position yourself to the specific company that you are reaching out to. In other words, you should never say that you are applying for a job because you need the money or that you just need to find a job. Those are bad reasons because it makes the person on the receiving end feel like you are applying for really any type of job. You don’t really want to work for them but you just need to find any job. You need to provide reasons to why you want for their company and in this position specifically. Because the other candidates will do this.

So it all comes down to this. If you say that you are “a person looking for a job because you need to support yourself”, you are basically open to any job, but you won’t have a good success rate with the employers. Because there will be some other job hunter that want the particular job that he/she is applying for more than you. This other job hunter will do a better job positioning themselves for that particular job.

It is not about making the market as big as possible

It is not about making the market as big as possible. Because when we try to make the market as big as possible, we will naturally have a lot of applications with very low success rates. Finding a job is like finding a needle in a haystack. You need to talk to a lot of people, apply for a lot of jobs and do a lot of things. Then all of a sudden, you will find some opportunity. That is how it works. In that process, you need to be super clear about what you are looking for. If you tell me that you are looking for a job as a bartender in Stockholm, I can talk to my bartender friends in Stockholm to see if they have something. I can also refer you to someone if I hear about any jobs like that. If you say you want to find any job? Well, I can’t refer you at all. Because I don’t know what you want.

Think about it as two different circles. One of the circles is the total job market. In Sweden, this circle is about 1 500 000 jobs per year. This is all jobs and you have a pretty bad chance at interviewing for all these jobs. If you would apply for all these jobs, your success rate would be around 0 %. There would even be jobs that require specific legitimations that you won’t have. However, if you think about another circle that is a part of the job market. Like Java programming jobs, if you are a programmer knowing java. Well, then you have a pretty high possibility of being invited to an interview, right?

So, you can decide whether you want to be specific and target a small part of the job market efficiently or if you want to be unspecific and target a large part of the job market in a less specific way.

I see a lot of people, both entrepreneurs and job hunters, who want to make their markets as big as possible. But the results from that thinking will be that you will not have a high success rate in the market. Companies are not looking to hire new people in general. They need someone that solve a specific problem they have. Like increasing sales, solving engineering challenges, or something else.

What to do instead

So you have to think about what smaller market you can really ace and become better at addressing. Whenever you have decided on a market, then you can think about:

  • What are the major companies in this market?
  • Who are thought leaders in the market?
  • Which events are the people working in this event going to?

This will make it possible for you to really target a market, or a small niche of the market, where you can have a really good success rate with your applications. Because, you know which are the major companies, who some thought leaders are and where you can meet people that care about the market. You can start using the same words that professionals use in their LinkedInprofile on your LinkedInprofile. You can start to write about things that other professionals in this field are writing about.

So I urge you to do this, think about the job market and your specific place in it. What area of the job market can you really ace? What is your specific niche?

Everything will be easier when you figured this out.

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