Here’s a Smart Way to Switch Jobs Inside Your Company

In the changing landscape of IT, you need to take a proactive look at your current position to see if it will exist in a year or two. Of course you can’t know for sure if it will, but you – more than anyone else – understand just how busy you are, or will be if the landscape shifts.

Moving JobsFor example, if your company switched operating systems, or moved to a thin client, or adopted Google Docs, would you still have a purpose? If you wouldn’t, you’ll soon lose that job. Of course, if that happens – you reason – you still have skills you can bring to a new company. But if the switch is part of a greater industry trend, then that new job may not exist, either.

Many of these changes are cloud-related. The jobs aren’t going away. They’re changing. As TechRepublic wrote:

As with most new technologies, cloud computing won’t promote a destruction of IT jobs, but rather a change in their nature. Just as developers have to adopt new mindsets to develop cloud-based applications and services, DBAs will have to adapt to cloud-based and Big Data oriented systems…

Meanwhile, IT is blending into business units. Rather than existing as a centralized department, IT will be spread across the organization. Marketing will have a Big Data expert, Accounting will get one or two programmers, Web Applications will get a DBA.

What will these new jobs be? Again, you’re in the best position to know about the changing needs of your company. They’re usually found at the pain point — a known, or even unknown, problem, need or want within the business.

As technology shifts, you’ll likely need more of a background in business. IT will be less about keeping the lights on and more about increasing value. That’s not news. But do you know what role you’ll take in this change? How are you going to prepare for the industry’s transition?

The answer is to start now by looking at your secondary skills, your hobbies, your college minor and anything that interests you, even skills that aren’t necessarily IT-related. Use your credentials in these areas to look for a new and different job within your company. It’s easier to define a new role at your existing employer because you already have a record of good service.

Nick Corcodilos from Ask The Headhunter told me, “I think it’s key to wander around, ask for advice, offer to help ‘on the side,’ using some of your skills, and gradually work your way into a new team.” He calls it “JHBWA” or “Job Hunting By Wandering Around.”

If you’re a desktop engineer and have studied project management, your email pitch might go like this:

John,

I wanted to reach out to you and offer my additional skill sets to the company. If you didn’t know, I earned a degree in English, wrote in for my college newspaper and still enjoy writing to this day. I also went to school at night while working here to get a degree in project management.

In addition to my ongoing role, please feel free to tap me to perform other IT as well as administrative functions, allowing me to take some work off of your plate. This can include documentation, presentations, small or large projects. John, you now have a project manager.

If you’d like, we can schedule a short meeting to discuss how I can better help you

I saw that pitch recently and thought it would certainly pique the interest of the supervisor.

Now should you expect a pay reduction by switching jobs? That depends. If the job you’re applying for is already listed, it has a figure in mind that may be below yours. However if you’re inventing the position, you may be able to move and keep or increase your current pay. You are doing more after all.

Of course when you make your pitch, be careful not say that you want a new job because you don’t see a future in the current one. You don’t want them going there. But you can offer to do both, to prove that the new job exists.

If and when the music stops, you’ve already picked out your chair way ahead of time.

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