There’s huge competition for almost every job opening. No doubt you’ve experienced this yourself, or have watched as others struggled in their job search over the last few years. If you now are back to work, congratulations.
Now it’s time to be planning your NEXT job, so you have a much better chance to reach your career goals.
At the extreme, there are two kinds of jobs: ones other people create, and ones you create. The former are what most people consider as The Job Market, so it’s where 98% of workers are competing.
Let’s explore the other 2%, where you create your own job. One example is if you were to go start your own company – buy a franchise, turn a hobby into a business, and so on. That’s what I’ve done after I got laid off, and now I am running my own business coaching consultancy.
A LOT of people have done this during the recession. Sure, most of these fledgling businesses will fail, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. Even if you start a company and don’t manage to make it work, you’ll learn a great deal along the way, which can also make you a more valuable employee. And it doesn’t have to ruin you financially, if you’re thoughtful about limiting your investment and bootstrapping your business as it builds up.
The neat thing about having your own business is that there’s usually no competition for the job. Competition is for getting CUSTOMERS, which is a great thing to learn.
Remember, the two extremes are waiting for others to create jobs, and creating your own job. Fortunately, there are several interesting alternatives in between. In these cases, you want to work with a key decision-making manager to:
- Customize a job opening to your particular skills and needs. As a result, the job opening is more attractive to you, and less attractive to others. And the hiring manager is more likely to see you as the best fit.
- Define a job which is tailored to how you can best deliver value for your employer. In this case, there’s often no interview process at all, because of the understanding that you’re the only logical choice.
- Integrate together multiple jobs. These days, most companies are desperately trying to do more with fewer employees, which means that jobs which might have been distinct have been merged. If you have a chance to create a combination which you find interesting and motivating, AND which delivers great value to your employer, you might be able to position yourself as the most logical choice to fill that job – especially if it includes the work you’re currently doing.
The key to all of this is to develop relationships with some key decision-makers. That takes a long time and focused attention, and is likely outside your current job responsibilities. It takes extra effort and initiative, for months or even years.
When I was able to create or influence three custom jobs over my career, it was based on:
- Finding key managers who were open to this kind of thinking, and who recognized that I was a valuable employee.
- Working with them closely for an extended time – my best champion was someone I worked with off and on for nearly a decade.
- Understanding what that manager needed in the coming years, and quickly adapting at every reorganization or change in direction.
- Staying focused on delivering value for the company, not just my own career goals.
As you see, this takes time and focus. Which is why you need to get started NOW.
When you work your way into a job you’ve designed, the competition will fade away. You’ll be the best fit, and the person most excited to make sure you succeed.
by Carl Dierschow