Identifying Your Target Market in the Job Search Process

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Editor’s Note:  The Coffee House Mentor is a series of 10 topics that discuss all aspects of the job search process.  This blog on targeting your search is the fourth article in the series.

Last week we discussed how Rick was extremely organized when he developed a plan for his career.  He had researched the steps and strategies that he would take in order to create an effective plan.  This research led him to identifying the process, and the corresponding strategies he could use, to attain his dream job.

Rob, the mentor of the group, built upon these thoughts and continued on by discussing the process for identifying the people and organizations a person should target in their job search campaign.  While many people wait for a job to open and then they apply for the position, Rob is teaching his five mentees the value of being proactive in their job search.  He reasons, “If you have already made contact with the people within an organization, when a job opens up you will have a leg up on your competition.   This is because you already know the people within the organization, and people hire people they know.”

To help Rob get his point across, he passed out three worksheets.  For the next 35 minutes, the group reviewed the worksheets and discussed the process of targeting the job you want.  The following are the three worksheets the group reviewed:

  • Establishing Your Target Market
  • Institutions Within Your Target Market
  •  Target Market Contact List

“Establishing Your Target Market” is the first worksheet they discussed.  This worksheet is a summary and review of the information that Rick presented earlier in the session.  This form has you outlining the type of position you want to pursue.  It includes the specifics about the organization such as the type of sports organization, the level of competition, the geographic location, and the size of the community.  Rob went on to say that “Once you have identified this information, you will move on to the second worksheet which is entitled “Institutions Within Your Target Market.”

This second worksheet has you identifying each organization that meets the criteria from the first worksheet.  For example, if you are interested in working at an NCAA Division I institution within the state of Washington, your target market will include Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Seattle University, University of Washington, and Washington State University.  If your criteria also includes that the organization has football, then you have narrowed your list to Eastern, UW, and WSU.  Once you have listed every institution within your target market, you will now move on to the third worksheet.

The third worksheet, entitled “Target Market Contact List”, has you identifying the name of the organization and contact information of the supervisor or manager you will want to connect with.  Once you have organized your target list and identified the contact information, you will now want to create a strategy for how you will network with the people within the organization.  This networking is key for eventually getting a job in the company.

By knowing where you want to work, you can identify the people you want to network with in order to build a relationship.  This information is helping the mentees to become very organized in their job search process.  Rob instructed each mentee to insert the three new worksheets into the fourth section of their worksheet binder.

For more information about the job search process, please contact Howard Gauthier at or go to our website at  Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!


Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his latest book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at



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