Want a Job? Create It!

Recently I’ve met with three different people looking for jobs.  They’ve come to me somewhat frustrated and out of options, or so they feel.

The first,a clothing designer, was laid off from a major clothing design company.  Since she was fairly high up in the company finding a similar job had slim pickings.  After some time, she had not found anything.

The second, a recent graduate from college at a fairly reputable school, has serious overseas experience and was having the dickens of a time finding work in the business consulting world.  She wanted to work for a major consulting firm here in New York, as she had some previous internship experience at one.

The third,a former managing director at a major investment bank, was recently laid after the new bank that acquired his failed company phased out his division.  He has been looking for several months, but because so few jobs are available at his level, has not been successful.

I told each of them the same thing:  don’t wait for a position to become available, create it.

When you apply for a job, you get in line with 10,247 other people, many of whom are just as qualified as you, or more.  It then becomes either a factor of luck, patience or connections that gets you in the door.

Nothing wrong with that, but little is left to your own choice.

Instead, when you create a job, you are in line with virtually no one else for it.  When you get the interview for the job you are creating, you are much more likely to have a captive audience from the potential employer.  And lastly, it will add instant credibility to who you are as a person by demonstrating you are someone who is an independent thinker, a leader, and who thinks outside the box.  All desirable skill sets.

In fact these skill setsare not much different than that of an entrepreneur’s.  That is why these people can be called intrapreneurs, people who create products or services inside a larger company.

Here are the five steps to creating your own job:

1. Pick the Company: decide on which company you would like to work for and why.  Come up with a list of at least five.  Rank them in order of preference.

2. Do a SWOT Analysis: learn all you can about their operations.  What makes them tick?  Where are their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?  Use research and your detective skills.  Speak to employees, managers, whomever you can get in front of for this.

3. Identify Your Target: define two or three top weaknesses, opportunities and/or threats.  Ones you think you know something about on how to address effectively.  Rank them in order of impact if they occur and the probability it will happen.

4. Build the Solution: using your experience, determine two or three solutions for the company on how to quickly resolve the targeted problem.  Make it realistic and detailed.  Write an executive summary page with additional details available if/when asked for them.

5. Find a Sponsor:  someone inside the company in a position that can bring you and your idea in, if they like it.  Someone who can get you in front of who you need to get in front of. Someone who can vouch for you.  They are crucial to getting your idea heard by the right decision makers.

And then you go and make it happen.  The results from the three I mete with:

  • The clothing designer created a really wonderful new line of organic cotton clothing with an outrageous slogan.  She met with the chief designer at a major clothing manufacturer.  They hired her on the spot.
  • The college graduate identified an opportunity that top consulting companies in New York were missing out on, involving financial derivatives (something she knows a little about.)  She had three meetings with one of the firms, with growing excitement on both sides of the negotiations, and hopes to be hired next week.
  • The former managing director and I first spoke three days ago.  He immediately came up with a suite of products he had long forgotten he created a few years back.  When he introduced them for his (now defunct) investment bank, they did quite well.  With excitement, this week he is setting up first meetings with similar banks he feels might benefit tremendously from his model.  I suspect he, too, will be quite successful.

And if they can do this, so can you.  Being UnReasonable means taking the intrapreneurial approach and actually creating that dream job you want.

Action Steps for the Week:

In order for you to really get excited about this approach, you must find your “secret sauce”.   Something the company doesn’t realize is their challenge and you have an answer that addresses it.  Or it is something they know they have to deal with, just not a clue on how to go about it. And you do.

Once you get an idea of the general area(s) you can deliver, do the five steps above.  After researching the companies and determining which one(s) seem most likely to be candidates for your secret sauce recipe, find your sponsor.

Not sure how to do this?  Who do you know who knows someone who works there at a senior level?  Still nothing comes up?  Then whom do you know who may know someone who works there at a senior level?

Keep doing this until you find the sponsor.  They will then open doors for you like you cannot imagine.