I’m not an expert. I’m just a guy who likes to think about stuff.
People tend to think that their job search is limited to those that are advertised. That’s simply not true. Companies have all sorts of problems – some that they don’t even realize. A job seeker would be wise to think of the problems companies have and how they can solve them.
Have you ever given any thought to creating your own job? You’re helping to solve a problem and, since there’s no one currently doing the job you’re proposing, there’s no one to compete against.
What does it take to create your own job? These 3 steps:
- Think about what problems companies have
- Think about how you can solve those problems
- Ask your potential hiring manager to have a conversation about the problem
What problem does the company have?
You’ll have to do some guesswork to come up with problems companies have, but that isn’t too hard. For instance, if you’re a job-seeking project manager, and you look at a company’s LinkedIn profile and notice that there are no project managers, there’s likely a problem. No one claims responsibility for the execution of a project. Departments are pointing fingers at each other. Cost overruns, time delays, scope creep – all are potential issues. As a project manager, you can go to potential hiring managers inquiring whether these issues are affecting business. Approach hiring managers asking about a metric that they value (e.g. cost, time, productivity, etc.)
How can you solve the problem?
In your initial contact with hiring managers, tell them a story. People love stories! The story should be about how you solved the problem the hiring manager may be experiencing. The story shouldn’t be too specific – just enough to make the hiring manager want to talk to you. Contacting hiring managers in this manner lets them know that you’re thinking about the problems their companies are facing specifically. It’s not a form letter you send to everyone. Who pays attention to those anyway?
Ask for a conversation
Notice I didn’t say ask for a chance to talk about a job. Don’t even mention a job. In fact, technically, there’s no job to mention, since there was no job advertisement. Ask for a day and time to chat about the problem. How do you get the hiring manager’s contact information? I mentioned that in a previous blog post, but in short, company email addresses are pretty easy to guess. They are typically:
If the email you send bounces back, try another configuration of the email address. You should get it right eventually. Simply ask for a chance to talk and wait for a response.
Try following this process for multiple companies simultaneously. Never contact just one company and wait to hear back – contact several. You improve your chances of getting callbacks the more companies you reach out to. However, don’t email just any company – only the companies you think you can help and the companies you’re interested in working for.
Let me know how it goes!