A common dilemma that companies face is
whether to focus their products and services as broadly as possible, and
thereby target the largest possible addressable market, or focus narrowly to
target a win-able beachhead.
So too, is the dilemma that people face when positioning themselves from a career marketing perspective. Focus broadly or position narrowly? Conventional wisdom is to look at the myriad of opportunities in the marketplace, your breadth of skills and target the largest bucket. Why close the door on potential opportunities that you could be a fit for?
The argument here is to position yourself as narrowly as possible, the bulls-eye for "three percent of the market," knowing full well that in the process you will rule yourself out for the other 97 percent of the market opportunities out there.
Think of this approach as the "narrow net" strategy, whereby the target buyer for what you are selling is thrilled to find that there is actually someone out there offering your unique combination of attributes.
Put another way, if the "Groucho axiom" was that Groucho would never want to be a member of a club that would be willing to have him as a member, in this model you only target companies that are completely thrilled to have you as a member.
Does the approach work? Absolutely, and I make this assertion from two different points of reference. One is having guided many job seekers across industries as diverse as technology, real estate and retail, I have seen how aligning specific skills and/or a specific passion with a specific "hire me" message tilted towards the narrow net target has translated to a great outcome for the seeker and a great hire for the company.
Two is that having interviewed literally thousands (and hired hundreds) over the past 18 years, I can tell you that the broad folks never stand out except in the strongest job markets.
More to the point, the bulls-eyes (every job has a bulls-eye hire) literally bring tears to your eyes. You are thrilled that someone's career path so tightly vectors with the position that you are looking to fill and can't wait to connect with these people.
Not only is such a strategy great for getting hired but it is great for thinking about what your unfair advantage is, what career path you aspire to and equally important, what does not fit into this bucket. It's the distinction between marketing yourself as a finely tailored suit and shopping yourself as "off the rack."