by Dino Londis
How do we look for a job now? Typically we search for our job title, in our geographic area, send our resume, hope for a call, rinse and repeat. But why not search in other ways - like this: Take your skills and create a unique position, the position you want, the position that is you. Then approach companies where you want to work and pitch yourself.
Okay, I have to admit I haven't tried this, but I keep poking it from different angles and it seems to hold up. I think about my wife's small business as a photographer. If someone approached her promising more clients, or offered to share resources to save money, she would seriously consider it. She's not advertising for help, but maybe she needs to be shown the need.
Taking that as an example, you need to clearly show the employer what you're giving them, because they hadn't thought there was a need it. It's a pitch, or a query.
Writers do this all the time. Publishers didn't put out an ad for a vampire-based romance novel. No, Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight and submitted it to nine different publishers and, with the help of an agent, got an offer.
So what did she do? She wrote a novel, which set her apart. She approached publishers that weren't expecting to hear from her, got rejected, but kept pursuing others until she got a yes. Now she's doing what she has always wanted to do.
IT might seem more constrained, but combine your soft skills and your hobbies with your tech skills and you may be qualified for much more than an off-the-shelf IT job.
This transition might work right where you are. You'll certainly get traction with your pitch because they know you. And if not there, then similar niches may exist at similar companies. You'll have to do heaps of research, but the information is probably available online. For example, look on Dice for jobs similar to the one you're trying to create.
If you're currently unemployed, this is always another way of introducing yourself to a company. Offer to work on a temporary basis, in your newly created job, to prove your value. Even if you get rejected, you could end up with new relationships. When hiring times return, they may think of you.
It would seem the best way to succeed is approaching small to mid-size companies. Because larger firms are saddled with the multiple layers of interviews and have already set their budgets for the year, your sales pitch won't translate well. You really need one or two people to pitch this idea to - and need to be in a room with the person who can say yes.
The only limit is your imagination and your courage to try. If you pull it off, you'll be doing a job you love - which would put you in rare company. Only 16 percent of Americans love their jobs, I hear. You'll have little fear of job loss because it's one of your creation. You may even transition to consulting and find true freedom.
What do you think? Do you think it will work? Have you done it? Let me know.
Dino Londis is an applications management engineer in New York.