Does your next job exist yet? Maybe.
But many times jobs are created, or tweaked, based upon specific needs at a certain time, even connected with the talents of certain individuals.
This is one of the reasons why some jobs are filled before they’re even posted: The hiring manager was taking advantage of a great match of someone’s existing skills to address a specific pressing need.
That gives us a clue how we might be able to work the process to our own advantage. The key is to demonstrate to the right hiring manager how you have the skills to address an important unmet need. There’s a lot of flexibility in these three aspects, because we’re talking about something that hasn’t been created yet:
- The hiring manager: This could also be a key influencer, or a group of managers, or other leaders who will possibly affect the creation of a job.
- Your skills: Ideally you already have the skills and have demonstrated them in your work. But desire, initiative, relationships, and creativity all play into this as well – you’re trying to capture the imagination of the hiring manager in a credible way.
- Important unmet need: Ideally this is a need which has already been identified, has no known solution, but the managers are willing to spend money to solve the problem. When this situation happens, you have a very narrow window of opportunity to make your proposal, and other concerns (like losing you from your current job) may make it hard for them to support you. So more realistically, this is something you have to develop over a longer period of time: To identify the need, to convince people it’s a problem that needs to be addressed, to develop and demonstrate your skills to address it, and then to find some kind of event or “decision trigger” which will move people to take action.
That will help move someone to think about creating a job, or to change the definition of an existing role. But you may not yet have put your personal stamp on the job description itself. The trick here is to demonstrate that you could also be helpful in DEFINING the job, because of your expertise in the area. Depending on how open the manager is to receiving advice from you, this could take a number of forms:
- helping to clarify which job tasks and deliverables will create the most value for your organization;
- supplying supporting data from credible sources such as industry experts, other organizations doing similar things, or even competitors;
- some well-thought-out steps – “Here’s how I would approach the job or recommend others to get started.”
Remember all of these may be conversations and relationships that take months or even years to reach the goal. But if you have focus and persistence, you may just be able to help someone create the job of your dreams!
And then move into the role, of course.
by Carl Dierschow