Better resumes from organization and industry structure

researchNo one can know every industry, company or function intimately – and certainly not as well as the client knows about his/her job. However, there is a path to knowing enough about a broad swath of these structures to gain instant credibility with a client. I didn’t learn this until I started to work in Executive Search recruiting.  I started out in the research organization and as part of our job we actually pieced together organization charts of specific companies (often with names – UGH!) so that we could find people to recruit. This was in the pre-Internet days so we worked with a lot of directories and phone calls. We also had to determine industry structure so that we could determine what parts/segments of the industry and companies were appropriate targets for finding candidates that matched our clients’ requirements.

In resume writing as well as career coaching, clients want us to be knowledgeable of their situation. Understanding how organizations and industries are structured is enormously helpful in establishing ourselves as knowledgeable and credible.

The starting points for industry structure is the table of SIC codes (the abbreviation for Standard Industrial Classification), a four-digit codes established in 1937. In the U.S., SIC codes are being supplemented by the six-digit North American Industry Classification (NAICS) codes. By grouping types of companies – based on their business – into certain codes, a map of the industry structure is created. Need more information than just the SIC code? Now that you know what to look up, try Wikipedia.

The next step is find out what companies fall into what code.

Finally, it is useful to drill down into company structures by creating organization charts. This will show the job titles and who reports to who. This can be done generally or specifically for a particular company. It can be done for the company as a whole or for individual business units, divisions or departments. Some of this can be gleaned from client’s resumes by looking at the job titles and career progression.

It takes time to build this expertise, but with this knowledge in hand, it is easier to build trust with a client that we understand them, develop resumes that resonate with the client and the market, and coach clients on career decisions with more confidence.