Often top executives end up having jobs created for them. In fact, the higher you go, the more likely the next job you accept will be one that is designed to fit your talents.


Getting a Job Created Can Be Critical at Senior Levels

The higher you go, the more likely the next position you accept will actually be created for you. If not created just for you, then the position will have been a situation that is reshaped to fit your talents—in the course of your discussion with CEOs.

Keep in mind this simple thought: We all hire executives when we are persuaded that the benefits of having them on board will sufficiently outweigh the dollar cost.

This section will briefly discuss some guiding principles about our "create a job" approach. You can get offers, even when no current openings exist. You simply need to present yourself as a solution to a problem.

The most likely candidates who may be willing to create an executive job will include firms that are growing rapidly, bringing out new products, forming new divisions, acquiring other companies, or reorganizing. These are the firms that need good people, often from other industries. They are free to make decisive moves quickly.

As you might assume, your goal would be to communicate directly with the person you would most likely work for, or their boss. Entrepreneurs, of course, can create jobs, so can affluent individuals with large staffs and interests in many organizations.

The key factor to keep in mind is that you will need to be able to communicate a suitable benefit proposition.

This should be a concise and easily understood description of what you can do. You need to present the promise of tangible value on a scale large enough to warrant an investment in you. In your initial communication, you need to establish your credentials and mention results achieved in the past.

Achievements you cite don't have to be large, but they do have to be significant. Remember, if you have an exciting idea, it may help if you can show how someone else has already used it successfully.

Dealing with opportunities is a key job for many executives. Most don't have enough time, and they are predisposed to positive news from people who can help them. They will want to believe your message. You can get your message across by phone or letter. Just make sure your "benefit proposition" is clear and significant.

Identifying the company's needs and its vision is very important. Remember, your initial communication held out the promise of a significant benefit. What are your ideas? What makes you confident that they'll work? Do you really understand this company, its problems and its opportunities? Address these areas, but always remember to convey humility. Acknowledge that the other person has a better grasp of the problems facing the company than you could possibly have.

There are any number of phrases you might use. For example, you might say, "I hope you didn't find my letter too presumptuous. No doubt, you've already given a lot of consideration to these areas." Or, "I don't want to imply that I know your business better than you ..."

Comments like these set the stage for a cordial exchange of ideas. They can allow you to learn what the employer really wants, build rapport, and focus attention on the areas where you can help.

Your first goal is to find out how the employer views the problem. What do they see as the key challenges? What is their "hot button"? Where are their priorities? What attempts have been made in the past? How much progress has already been made?

By asking a few questions and listening carefully, you will find out what the employer really wants. Ask questions and make positive comments in response to the interviewer's remarks. Try to get the employer to share his innermost thoughts— his vision for the firm.

Only when they start to think about this and the achievements that they might realize, would they consider creating a job. If you are able to accomplish this in the first interview, that's enough. In your second interview, reinforce your value by drawing a clear picture of the benefits you can bring. Then, build enough enthusiasm to get an offer or be asked to speak with others.

Keep in mind that you will need to stir the employer's imagination. The employer should begin to anticipate specific benefits and relate them directly to your talents.

Your conversations should focus on the future, with the employer picturing a company already benefiting from your contributions. The decision to create a job is as much emotional as it is intellectual.

A dry recitation of proposed improvements won't be enough. You will have to convey enthusiasm and create a sense of excitement. Be ready to discuss general approaches you would take to reinforce the notion that you will succeed. Your best way to do this is to tell stories about your past achievements. If you build sufficient enthusiasm, the employer may conclude the meeting with a statement that they want to create a job for you.

How Some of Our Clients View the "Create a Job" Process

"I am now one of several HR directors for General Foods, and my job was created as a result of my direct contact. Creating jobs in our firm, and in most large firms, is rare. But our top executives do bring in people, and their decisions are as much emotional as intellectual. Also, when they have an executive lined up for a new job, it's a way for them to get their added budget requests rapidly expedited."

"This was the second time I have accepted a job that was created to bring me aboard. I met a friend at the annual meeting of a charity we participate in. One thing led to another, and my ideas on the future of his company got him interested. They created a role for me that I had a major part in shaping. I think this is the best type of job."

"Getting a job created is a longer process. However, it clearly should get more emphasis in your marketing service. With access to your website and a little creativity, it works. We did a letter that I used many times over, and it generated curiosity. Another important factor is that you avoid competition with this approach. It took many discussions, but a position was created to bring me aboard at a senior level. The job I accepted as VP Operations of a relatively new division was largely designed by me."