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You Can Create Your Own Job

Getting a Job Created For You.

You can get a job, even when there are no openings and a company has not placed any help wanted advertisements. Your task is to be able to show an employer that you can impact their business in one of three ways; by being the solution to an existing problem, helping them to increase revenues and contribute to growth, or by demonstrating your ability to implement cost-saving techniques.

  1. Focus on small to medium size growth companies. Smaller firms are more likely to make decisions more quickly without all the red tape. College degrees and age factors are less important than your ability to help them make money or solve problems. Larger companies tend to have set budgets and hiring practices are typically slower and involve more steps. They also tend to have more stringent hiring guidelines. However don’t eliminate large companies. If you believe you have the skills and you know the market and the industry, you could be a highly attractive candidate.

  2. Get to the right decision maker. Contact the manager to whom you would normally report, not HR. If you are unsure of the person you should speak with, call the Vice President or General Manager of that division, or in a smaller company, the owner or President. Use the "sifting principle." If you place a stone at the top of a pail of sand, you can sift it down. But the same stone placed at the bottom of the pail will not sift upwards. Most executives understand networking concepts and enjoy mentoring. If they are not able to help, they may refer you to someone else who can.

  3. Your method of contact is the telephone. As I consistently point out in this column, the greatest chance of generating meetings is to focus on the telephone, not the resume, as your contact tool. It is a more proactive tool and allows you to deal with "objections."

  4. Do your research. Be prepared with enough information to discuss how you could contribute the most benefit and impact business outcomes. Be knowledgeable about the industry, company history, products or services they market, their major competitors, and the challenges they face.

  5. Ask good questions. What are the priorities and the major problems they face? What is the manager’s vision for the department and the company? Asking good questions helps to build rapport, makes for a more balanced conversation, and allows you to specifically focus your presentation on areas where you can have the greatest impact.

  6. Sell yourself as a benefit to the company. Show enthusiasm. Project yourself as a problem-solver, project manager, or specialist able to provide solutions to the identified problems or concerns. Show how you can create tangible value by using examples of past achievements dealing with similar situations. You might also suggest a method of dealing with an issue that emerges through your discussion. It demonstrates your ability to think on your feet and is an indicator of the talent you offer.

  7. Offer to provide a free service. If it appears you are not generating any enthusiasm, offer to provide some free service that demonstrates your problem-solving capacity. You might, for example, suggest a willingness to study a specific problem area that was discussed and provide a report outlining possible solutions. Focus your report on areas where you know you could make the strongest contributions if you were a part of their team. Any report you provide should then contain a recommendation that they create a job for you. This is a tactic frequently used by management consultants, investment counselors, and sales professionals as a method of developing new business. If you are unemployed, you might offer to work for the company for a few weeks without compensation enabling them to gain an appreciation of your value.

  8. If there is no possibility of employment, switch to a networking approach and ask for advice on how you might achieve your career goals. Don’t forget to ask for referrals, they are the lifeline of the networking process. Most successful managers enjoy assisting others and will usually be quite receptive.

The bottom line, 70% of all jobs are found through direct personal contact or networking methods. If you want to work for a company even though there was no advertised opening, call the hiring authority and ask for a meeting. Most companies are well aware of recruiting, hiring, and training costs. Often executives can be motivated to action when they find good talent – it can save money. If you can demonstrate a particular skill and can be viewed as a strong contributor, jobs can be created. Every day professionals are achieving new opportunities through these tactics.

- Lawrence Alter

Author Lawrence Alter is president of L.D.A. Enterprises, Ltd.; a Minneapolis based outplacement and career management firm. He is a recognized expert in career growth techniques and former columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Send ideas or questions via email to: Website address:
©Copyright 2008 Lawrence Alter. All rights reserved.