Grab Your Next Big Promotion—Because No One’s Going to Just Hand it To You (Pt 4)

GrabYourNextBigPromotion_4_FeatureYou’ve proven your objective and subjective qualifications.

You’ve solicited the recommendations you need to stand out from the crowd.

You’re ready to make your big play and grab the job you want.

And there’s one person you have to grab it from…

It’s Time to Reach Out to Your Desired Position’s Hiring Manager

Now—not when your desired position actually opens up.

Put yourself on your hiring manager’s radar ahead of time and, yes, you increase your chances of receiving the position when it opens up, but you also do your hiring manager a favor.

57% of all jobs remain unfilled for three months or more. 62% of IT hiring managers report it takes longer every year to fill vacant positions. The IT skills gap only widens when hiring managers try to fill leadership positions.

These are the numbers your hiring manager faces whenever a position opens up. These are the numbers that she worries about at night.

At first, it might feel forward to put yourself on your hiring manager’s radar before your desired position opens up. But when you do, you save her from undertaking a 6-month search to find someone for the job.

Do her—and yourself—a favor. Set up the meeting now, show her you’re perfect for the job, and grab your desired position before it even opens up.

The Simplest Way to Set Up a Meeting with Your Desired Position’s Hiring Manager

Ask your boss to set up a 30 minute informal meeting with your hiring manager.

If your desired position has more than one hiring manager, set up meetings with all of them, but give special attention to the hiring manager who you will ultimately report to within the position. The other hiring managers will usually defer to her choice.

Even though this meeting will be informal, you still want to prepare for it. Preparing will take 1-2 hours, maybe less depending on how organized you’ve been throughout this process.

To prepare:

  1. Document how you’ve already been doing the job. Create a 1-page outline of the activities you’ve followed and achievements you’ve completed as you’ve developed your objective and subjective qualifications.
  2. Document how other people think you’re great for the job. Collect the written recommendations you’ve received from your boss, your peers currently working the position, and the position’s stakeholders.
  3. Document how you not only can do the job—you can improve on it. Review your notes from the meetings you conducted last month. Pay special attention to the problems your future stakeholders identified with how your desired position currently serves them. List these problems out, and identify potential solutions to each. Put these problems and solutions on one page.

Make two copies of these documents—one for you, one for your hiring manager—and bring them with you to your meeting. 

To Ace the Meeting = Listen More than You Talk

Even though you’ve done all this great preparation, don’t walk into your meeting and assault your hiring manager with reasons why you’re perfect for the position.

Instead, approach her the same way you’d approach a prospective mentor and ask her to talk about her own needs first.

First, ask her pretty much the same questions you asked the position’s stakeholders:

  1. How does this role serve you on a day-to-day basis?
  2. Are you satisfied with how the role is serving you?
  3. What changes would you want to see in the role?

And after you’ve talked about her—what she’s working on, how the role helps her, how the role could help her more—take out your documentation and ask to review it.

Talk her through each point, and then ask:

4. Do you think my experience is applicable to the role?

Listen to her response, take notes, ask for elaboration when required, and then, finally, ask her:

5. What can I do become the perfect candidate for this role?

Even if she’s already impressed with your candidacy for the role, press her (gently) for specifics on what skills, qualities, relationships and work experience you can develop to become truly perfect for the role.

To Get the Offer—Follow Up Regularly on These Points

After the meeting, send a thank you email. In this email, list out the specifics she mentioned of what you need to do to become perfect for the role.

At the end of the email, ask her if it’s ok if you update her on your progress with each of those points.

Every hiring manager interested in the development of her future staff will say “Yes” to this request. And when she says “Yes”, you have the perfect excuse to remain on her radar—and continuously improving the quality of your candidacy in her eyes—right up until the day the position you desire opens up.

Well, actually, to be more accurate… if you develop this relationship properly then the position may never “open up”. When the need arises, your hiring manager may just hand it to you.

And when she does—grab it.


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