So there you are, coasting along at your current job. You enjoy your work, and you especially like your company.
The thing is, you’re feeling a little restless lately. Perhaps you know your job so well that you could do it in your sleep. Or maybe you don’t see much opportunity for growth or movement in your department. That little voice in your head is saying it’s ready for new challenges, but the thought of leaving your awesome company is really daunting. There’s got to be a better way, right?
Before you start polishing up your resume, it’s worth thinking about how you can create your own opportunity at your current company. But how do you do this? Where do you start? How do you even get the right people to listen to you? Read on for five easy steps for creating a new job at your current company.
1. Define a Current Business Problem and Match Your Skills to It
For your boss and company to consider shifting your role, they’ll want to know what’s in it for them. So, look around. What are some of the biggest challenges and problems that need to be solved at your company? Perhaps your department lacks a comprehensive training program, or maybe no one has developed a much-needed social media strategy. Maybe the marketing department is down a person who has never been replaced. Try matching up these opportunities to your own expertise, and think about what you can offer.
2. Create a Detailed Plan
Now that you’ve identified a new role or opportunity you could fill, you’ll want to create a plan. First, create a thorough job description, along with a set of goals for this position within the first year. (To speak your boss’ language, create it using the same format that your company uses already.) Spelling out exactly how this role will look will give management a better idea of what you can accomplish.
Then, put some thought into what will happen to your current role—will you keep some of your tasks and transition some of them to others, or will your boss need to hire a replacement? Remember, if that’s the case, you’ll need to make an especially compelling argument as to why your new role is needed or how it can impact the business. On that note:
3. Pitch the Idea to Your Supervisor
By this point, you might be so excited about your idea that you want to run straight to your boss’ boss (or higher). However, the best place to start is usually your immediate supervisor. He or she will hopefully be a great initial sounding board. Start by scheduling a meeting during a quiet time when your supervisor will be less distracted. Next, present a simple outline of your idea, starting with the business problem you will solve. Be sure to mention your strong interest in developing your skills and owning your career. After all, you’ve already mastered your current job, and you’re ready for new challenges now. It also wouldn’t hurt to mention how much you enjoy working for your current company and how you’d like to stay there long-term.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor to punch holes in this idea; you’ll want to be prepared to answer challenging questions if your idea gets to the next level. If your supervisor agrees that your idea could work, then ask about the next step—i.e., the right people to talk to in order to make the job a reality.
On the other hand, if your manager shows resistance, ask him or her to think about it some more and then get back to you with specific feedback. Maybe your idea could still work with a little tweaking. Or perhaps your supervisor is afraid of backfilling your role, and you need to work on a better transition plan. If the idea is flat-out rejected, don’t be afraid to talk to a mentor or trusted colleague who has a fresh perspective—he or she may have a different idea for approaching matters (or other thoughts on how you could shift your role).
4. Revise Your Idea and Present it to the Decision Makers
Once your boss has green-lighted the idea and pointed you to the right folks to talk to next, take another look at your plan. You’ll want to tailor your approach based on the people you are meeting with. If you’re meeting with a high-level director, you might want to pare down the details and focus on results. If you’re meeting with human resources, you’ll want to include some specific experiences that showcase your untapped talent.
No matter what, again you’ll want to focus on how this new role will be a great thing for the company—and why you’re exactly the right person to take it on.
5. Be Patient
Even if everyone from the custodial staff to the CEO thinks your idea is wonderful, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be starting your new job within two weeks. Some ideas need to be vetted with the right people before they can take flight, whereas others may simply need the right funding to become a reality. And unfortunately, some ideas may depend on the right timing. Your organization may need to wrap up current strategic projects before the right resources can be redirected to your idea.
But remember: If your idea is worth doing and you’d really enjoy it, try to hang in there until the timing is right—it just might pay off in the end. In the meantime, use that waiting period to brush up on those skills you’ll use in your new job. You never know when you’ll be tapped to make that jump.
Have you ever created your own opportunity at your current company? What did you do? Share your experiences with us at The Muse!