Growing Within Your Company:
Killer Competitiveness, Becoming a Job Magnet

by Pam Lassiter, Principal of Lassiter Consulting

Pam LassiterDid you ever play with magnets when you were a kid? Brio trains and science kits have given way to your playing with magnets at a more sophisticated level: medical equipment, cars, even name tags. Attract, repel. Pull, push. Could you be a magnet, the kind that draws interesting work towards you, rather than your needing to chase it?

Drawing work towards you, having people recruit you for high-profile projects, desirable teams, and leadership positions is certainly less work than looking for opportunities and is highly gratifying. How do you set yourself up to be that desirable commodity that attracts work that you truly love?

Killer Competitiveness: Becoming a Job Magnet

Becoming a job magnet isn't done casually or by coincidence. It's part of your overall career planning. You're thinking about where you might like to be two jobs from now, then designing the strategy to get you there. The steps it takes to increase your opportunities while decreasing the wear and tear are actions that you can start right now, and they'll benefit both you and your company.

Coming Attractions

The next six issues of the WITI Career Newsletter will explore six different strategies for growing within your job and/or your company:

  1. Be Hot

    Easier said than done, right? This is easier than having teenage children think that you're hot, however. This is career hot and is within your control. Here's how you get started. Let's say that your function, or the type of work that you want to be doing in a job or two, is directing software engineering. Congratulations, getting focused is the toughest part. The next part is just a little research: what does it take to be the best VP of software development in the world? Seriously. Don't shoot too low in your research or you'll only find out what your current company wants. Go to help wanted ads, ignoring geography, that have keywords of "software management," "VP software," etc. Identify the recurring themes in these ads. The words that pop up again and again are market needs, i.e. hot areas. Companies are short on their supply of these skills or they wouldn't be advertising for them. (Read more about "Sharp Skills" in The New Job Security.) See what's in high demand and, as long as it's in line with your career goals and your interests, go get it! If your company doesn't pay for the training, pay for it yourself. You're on your way to killer competitiveness when you stay at the cutting edge of your field with Sharp Skills.

  2. Be Visible

    This is an on-going task, and it isn't about self-promotion. It's about sharing expertise, leadership, and success. Being visible isn't something that you do once, let's say by making a speech, then assume that people are going to remember you. An old rule of thumb in sales is that it takes 5 "touches," i.e. times that people hear about you, before they remember you. What are your five times? Who do you want to remember you? If you're developing a new skill and want the senior executives to know about it, show them a sample of your results. Maybe you publish something (non-proprietary) about the new video game you've developed, including credit for your company? Maybe you step forward, volunteering to lead a project while everyone else steps back? Maybe you take a leadership role in a professional association? My upcoming article on the WITI website, "Reputations that Last: The 5 points of being a Star" will give you additional ideas. You can be the hottest woman in technology and unless you act on ways to increase your visibility, only your mother will know it.

Not tall orders are they, being hot and being visible? It's taking the time to think about them that's the challenge. Being both are within your grasp. What are two small steps that you are going to take today to get you started? Becoming a job magnet is your reward.

About the author

Pam Lassiter is the author of "The New Job Security," a Wall Street Journal, careerjournal.com Award Winning Book, and principal of Lassiter Consulting, which provides senior-level outplacement and retention services to companies and executives internationally. Pam hosted ExecuNet's New England regional networking meetings for 12 years and makes appearances on national television and radio programs. Her articles on career management appear in human resource and business publications including Fast Company, Fortune, The Financial Times, Bloomberg radio, and CFO.