Write your ideal job description. That’s the punchline of this post and it’s helpful for one very important reason. It will make your next play (i.e. your next job) more valuable and worthwhile. This is advice I’ve given to at least five people in the past fortnight.
Regardless of work history, profession or tradecraft, there are very few occasions where people have the opportunity to think deeply about how they would ideally invest their professional energy. The main reason for this is that as careers become appealing at a young age, people fight hard to gain access to jobs that set up a trajectory for success in that field. And as the pros and cons of careers begin to reveal themselves and ambitions evolve to consider family commitments (or a newfound passion for entrepreneurship!), I suspect many look to position descriptions they receive and online job ads for inspiration about their next play.
Consider this; When designing a hiring plan, I’m thinking about finding the best talent available to join a family where their life’s best work can accelerate their goals and dreams and, concurrently, contribute significant additional value toward AirShr achieving its mission.
Even the combined horsepower and best of intent that my co-founder Opher and I bring to crafting (what we think) is a compelling position description will be a half-formed thought. It might not look like it on paper given the language and structure, but it is. And why? Because at that point in time, with the information we have, this is what we think we need. What isn’t available to us or any other hiring leader, is input from high-calibre candidates who are likely to positively question the intent or detail of a position description. The opportunity in this context is that each and every position description is a working title. If you have suggestions that enhance the value of the role, let them be known.
The second half of this philosophy involves having a benchmark which can help determine whether a next play is worth pursuing. That benchmark is your ideal job description. For most, it’s likely that the high level nuts and bolts are already in mind, but it’s the details that count. So, start the first version (because this is an iterative approach) by opening a new note on your phone and ‘dot-point’:
1. I work in a culture where: [add text]
2. I’m responsible for: [add text]
3. I have the opportunity to: [add text]
4. My basic qualifications include: [add text]
5. My additional capabilities and experience includes: [add text]
Consider your ideal job description an evolving asset that’s your true north and bring it into conversations when applying for a new role. Newfound clarity on direction and the value you’re passionate about delivering will help you and hiring leaders build a better base for working together.
We relish these conversations at AirShr and have collaboratively built roles with new team members using this approach for some time. The results speak for themselves. If I read a cover letter or introductory email that said “Hi Phil, I’m interested in applying for [insert role title] and would like to share some thoughts about evolving the position description…”, it would almost guarantee an initial conversation.
Companies that aren’t initially open to this approach might not be aware of its positive impact. So when you open the conversation about your next play, do it from the position of understanding your benchmark and evolving the role that’s in front of you. It’s very likely you will add value out of the gate and in doing so demonstrate why you’re a compelling candidate.