January 27, 2016

How to Create Your Own Job (and Pitch It to Your Boss)


It can be frustrating waiting around for the next promotion or job opportunity when you are itching to get ahead and find your dream job.

Why wait? Why not create your own job opportunity and pitch it to your boss?

Yes, you read that right: “Create your own job.” I swear, it in’t as crazy as it sounds.

Surely it makes more sense to have a go at creating your own job than it does to stay in a role that bores you and leaves you unfulfilled? The advantage of creating your own job is that you can ensure it is perfectly suited to your skills – meaning will automatically be the No. 1 candidate, and you know you’ll love doing your job. You invented it, after all!

If you are successful, you’ll end up with a great job that you love. If you fail, well, you don’t really lose anything. You just keep working the job you already have.

The idea of creating your own job sounds nice – but how do you make this pipe dream a reality? There are a few things you need to do if you’re going to maximize your chances of successfully creating and working your own job. The first – and most important – step is to come up with an arresting idea that turns your boss’s head.

Brainstorming Your Own Job

There are a couple of methods you can use to craft your dream job description.

First, you can start by thinking about any problems that seem to constantly hinder business processes are your organization. Can you solve this problem by crafting a new role aimed at tackling it?

For example, let’s say your business is always losing sales. Maybe your salespeople need to brush up on their skills. This could be an opportunity for you: Could you become a sales team trainer or an internal consultant who assists salespeople during difficult pitches?

TypewriterThe second strategy for crafting your job is to take a look at your competitors. Do they have any value-adding roles that your company doesn’t have? Do any of these value-adding roles look enticing to you?

You might find that a competitor has an additional quality control role that has reduced defects in their products. Do you enjoy quality control? Then this may be the perfect role to pitch to your business.

These are just guidelines. There are other ways to craft your ideal job description, but remember: You only have a chance of convincing your boss to let you have that job if the role also adds clear value to the business. It’s important that you like your role, but it’s also very important that your role adds something to the business. Otherwise, your boss will have no problem shooting down your proposal.

Pitching Your Made-Up Job to the Boss

Believe it or not, creating your own job is the easy part. The had part is getting your boss on board.

You need to sell your boss on the idea that this new job is valuable to the business and, therefore, you should be allowed to take on this new role. As with any sales pitch, you’ll need to develop a presentation or pitch that really convinces your boss of the strength and value of your idea.

Your pitch needs to include several things:

  1. a description of the job and the qualities the job demands;
  2. the skills and abilities you have that prove you are perfect for the role;
  3. the hard, quantifiable benefits to the business of implementing this role (e.g., efficiency gains, time savings, increased revenue, reduced product costs, etc.);
  4. examples of other businesses that have implemented this role;
  5. a succession plan for your current role and/or the responsibilities of the role;
  6. an overview of obstacles that may arise in implementing this new role and how you will overcome those obstacles;
  7. and a list of milestones you will aim for in the new role (e.g., “Project costs should be reduced by 10 percent within two months” or “The ratio of sales pitches to completed sales will improve by 6 percent within three months”).

Use this information to create a compelling, coherent, and highly passionate pitch to your boss that sets out your plan for performing a completely new role within the business.

viewOf course, there is no guarantee you’ll get what you want, but following this approach should maximize your chances. Be prepared to negotiate: You may need to entertain a variation on your proposal such, as an initial trial period or a slightly modified role that combines your current job with your proposed job.

At the very worst, your boss will be impressed by the enthusiasm and imagination you have shown. That should get you on the radar for future promotions, which is never a bad thing.

Read more in Starting a Career

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.