If you want to land the big job, author Patty Azzarello says you have to get on “the list.”
She discusses this topic in her book, “Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life.”
Azzarello knows a thing or two about climbing the corporate ladder, serving as the youngest general manager at HewlettPackard at 33. By 38, she became a CEO.
“For any good job there is a list of people that the decision maker will choose from. If you are not on the list, you won’t get the job,” she wrote.
So, how do you get on that list?
Ask yourself: Who does the decision maker listen to? Azzarello says an executive will often listen to his/her direct reports, an assistant, some of her peers or key customers. If you don’t already know someone inside the company, try starting with human resources.
Ask: To whom does the leader go for input? If you can decipher who reports to the decision maker, then you have your next target.
Work to develop a relationship with someone on the inner circle.
In Azzarello’s case, a mentor helped her get on the list for her first really big job. Once she got noticed, she landed the position even though her background was different from the other candidates. But, once in, she was able to explain how she’d be even more successful than her competition.
Remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease? Azzarello stresses the importance of doing some outreach. Create opportunities to meet and impress people in a company’s inner circle. Then, she said, send them an email expressing your interest in the job. Ask what they think is most important for this role?
“You can also write a short article that demonstrates your expertise on an area key to the job. Or share some recommendations about which outcomes you would drive if you were in the role, and ask for feedback,” she said.
During this process, make your claim and tell people the role you want. If you think a new role needs to be created, then talk about it, Azzarello said. But don’t be too pushy or annoying. “That can get you on a different list,” she wrote.
As you’ve figured out, there is a certain element of politics in this “list” concept. “You really do need to get your name out there and position yourself clearly in the place you want to be – like a political campaign,” Azzarello said. This doesn’t have to be ugly or shallow, she added.
“If you do this based on a steady record of excellent results, if you run your ‘campaign’ in such a way that you are always giving more to your network than you are taking, it won’t feel ugly or disingenuous. It won’t feel too political.”
If you’d like to read more of her advice, you can download a free ebook chapter of “Rise” on Patty Azzarello’s website at www.azzarellogroup.com.