The job search process is challenging and can become difficult if you don’t have a plan and specific systems in place to help you. Using a systematic approach with repeatable steps makes the process much easier and more effective.
Once you’ve done a self-assessment to understand your career goals and determined your job search goal, the next step in the job search process is to begin researching potential employers. This task becomes easier if you have a template to follow. The purpose of an account profile template is to provide some structure for researching a potential employer in order to put together a strategy to go after them. Using the same structure and process for each employer will make this process more efficient and effective.
The first step in the account planning process is to research the account. This will allow you to communicate to the account that you know their business and position their talents, skills and experience in the context of their business initiatives and priorities. This in itself will increase your chances of getting the job.
The second and most important step in the account planning process is developing the account strategy and action plan. This will guide you through the job application process and allow you to work through the plan in a systematic way. It will also help you recognize when the application process is stuck and when you need to take action to move to the next step. Ultimately, it will act as a marker to keep you on track toward landing the job.
Finally, you will need to execute the plan. Having a plan in place will make it easier to move the potential employer through the hiring process. It will also help him gather the resources he needs to get the job. These resources include customizing your resume and cover letter to match the job requirements, aligning references relevant to the position you are applying for, and gathering other information the employer may request. You will be able to be more proactive in gathering these resources and presenting them to the employer at the right time instead of reacting and waiting for the client to request the information.
The key to using this template is that you don’t need to follow it line by line. Only collect the information you will need to engage the employer and develop the account plan. Spending too much time researching the account is just as damaging as not spending enough time. You can always go back and collect any missing information when it becomes clear that you need it to move on to the next action item. On the contrary, do not skip the research part or minimize it. You will need this to develop a successful account plan.
Some of the resources you will need are provided as hyperlinks within the account planning template. There are many more available. As you discover additional resources, you may want to save them somewhere in the template.
The purpose of this section is to develop a general understanding of the account, the industry it is a part of, and its relative position in the industry. This information can be obtained from the company’s website, its annual report (if it is a public company), Wikipedia, and other sites such as Yahoo or Google. You can find information on smaller or private businesses on the Better Business Bureau website or on the site of your local Chamber of Commerce.
General Description (1-2 sentences describing the company)
Industry and position
years in business
Locations (where you are interested in working)
Annual revenue and trends (expansion, contraction, etc.)
Number of employees
Products and services they provide
Clients (key clients for them and with whom we can currently work)
Competition (Do you know any of them?)
This section will help you understand how the company is doing and what actions you can be taking to improve your performance. Pay special attention to which aspects of your financial performance you emphasize (revenue, income, cash flow, etc.). This will help you position SMS offers in a context that is meaningful to them. Sources for this information include company financial reports and some of the sources mentioned in the previous section.
Statement of income
Growing or shrinking?
The information you discover in this part of the profile will help you discover what they are focused on and what is important to the company. This will help you figure out who to target and what your message should be. For example, if the company is focused on growth, demonstrate how your services can help them achieve this goal. Sources for this information include financial publications such as BusinessWeek and industry-specific business magazines.
Market initiatives (What do they say about how they approach the market?)
Financial Objectives (Sales, Revenue, Profits, ROI, Shareholder Equity, etc.)
Corporate Culture (What is important to them?)
Once you have completed the previous sections of the profile, you should already have been able to identify who these people are. Additionally, you should be able to identify which of these you will need to target in your job search. If you don’t have contacts in the account, you may be able to leverage the contacts you do have who may know the people you’re trying to reach in the target account. This information is available on company websites, in financial reports, on social networking sites like LinkedIn or Plaxo, or simply by Googling the person. Finally, you should collect information about each of the people you plan to target, which you can use to personalize your message to them, mention them in your communication with them, or take advantage of to contact them. you can use it to personalize your message to them, mention it in your communication with them, or take the opportunity to contact them. Key people include:
Human Resources Contacts
Hiring managers in the departments you are interested in working for