Tell Others What You Want…sometimes several times

I was reminded today about how important it is to tell people where you would like your career to go.

I have found over the last few years that the best way to get the job you want is to tell other people you want it.  Not necessarily that you need to scream from the rooftops and tell everyone you bump into walking down the hall.  It is important to tell the key people who could help get you there.  The ones how have influence in knowing when that position might be open and help advocate to get it for you.

The pattern that seems to work for me is to get into a job and concentrate on doing very good work in that job for about 1-2 years.  Then start letting people know where you would like to head next.  Maybe while having a coffee or lunch or just catching up, I ask them about what they might want to do after the current project is over.  Usually they will reciprocate and ask me, and I’ll let them know what position I’m eyeing next.  The technique works pretty well.  Now you’ve planted a seed for later.

Usually it takes awhile of continuously planting these seeds for anything to happen.  My experience is about one year.  If you left enough of the right people know what you want to do and if you are the right fit for that job, then an opportunity will open up and one of those “seed” connections will let you know.  You go for it, and hopefully get it.

The key here, which I was reminded of recently, is that sometimes telling someone just once isn’t enough.  Especially since it takes around a year on average to get the doors of opportunity open and the timing right.  People forget (especially since it’s your career, not theirs).  A few reminders every so often helps keep you at the top of their mind.

So what are you waiting for?  Start planting your seeds now…you’ll be amazed at what comes your way.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kiki on September 20, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Great advice!!!! I was asked that question recently, too.


  2. Hi Allison! Found your blog through your SWE candidate statement and was excited to follow you, being the blog addict that I am! I decided to comment on this particular post because I often have a hard time figuring out exactly where I want to go in my company and then articulating my goals once I’ve figured them out. I have been working on this though by utilizing techniques I learned at the Region Conference about how to map out my career. Can’t wait to read more of you blog (and catch up on older posts!)


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