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Candidate Help & Advice

How to Create Your Next Great Career Opportunity

Next Job photo from ShutterstockEarlier this year, I was approached by a successful thirty-something director level who was nearing his fourth year of employment in a multi-billion dollar Atlanta company. As is true of many high achievers who don’t want to settle for less than they deserve, he wanted to find a better, more challenging job in which he could gain more income and find more personal growth. He enlisted me to mentor him in defining his next career role and developing a strategy for gaining such a role.

In our first session together, I was surprised to learn that he wanted to stay with his current employer. (Most high performers in large companies who come to me want to get out.)  Due to the lack of growth and low churn in upper management roles within his company, we agreed that he would probably need to create his next career opportunity rather than wait around for a “standard” position to become open and compete for it. If he could create a job he wanted and for which he was qualified, then he would stand a good chance of landing it without having competition!

During subsequent conversations, we were able to define a new role for him and develop a strategy for securing it. This gained him an immediate increase in income, a title improvement from director to senior director, and more interesting work that made his contributions more valuable and notable to upper management.

You, too, may find it helpful to follow steps similar to ours in order to create your next career opportunity:

  • Identify needs within your employer that are not being met, such as an operational deficiency or a marketing need.
  • Choose a need that you can address by applying your current skills and knowledge.
  • Determine what position could be created for you and where within the organization that position should reside.
  • Document specifically how to describe/define the need and your fitness for the new position that would address the need.
  • Identify the person to whom the position would report and determine who would likely need to approve and fund the creation of the position.
  • Define how you want to propose the position to the proper people and ask for a meeting.
  • Make the proposal and continue to pursue it as long as there is a possibility.

To some, these steps may seem obvious. My response is this: Few people make the effort to do this, so go forward and make it happen!

Next, consider this: Much of this approach can be used to create your next career opportunity in a new company, whether you are employed or unemployed. If you can identify a specific company with specific needs, that is ideal. If not, you still can increase your odds of creating your next job/role by defining needs you can fill and sharing your vision of what you want to do next with potential new employers.

I’m sure that some readers will view what I have suggested is fantasy. Strategically developing a plan and then landing a career opportunity that they envision sounds unbelievable.

But, I want to assure you that many job seekers have been able to find their next jobs utilizing such a strategy. When you present yourself as an enthusiastic, knowledgeable person and share with others how you can deliver value in addressing a need that companies are likely to have, purposeful networking is a powerful vehicle for generating opportunities.

As I mentioned in Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),

… there are three types of people in the world — those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who fail to notice things and eventually wake up to ask “What happened?

I hope that this information will help you make things happen in your career.