Have you ever interviewed for your dream job and the hiring manager wasn’t convinced you had enough experience to hit the ground running? Have you ever wanted a new position within your company but management did not believe you were qualified?
And here is how I got around these roadblocks and succeeded in securing the new job: I created and shared the plan for my #First90Days. Here’s an example: It was the 90s, in the height of the dotcom boom. I was working in Silicon Valley and wanted desperately to join the management team of a well-funded startup, but I only had a few years experience – and all of it was in consulting. I had never actually worked in a startup or led a marketing team. I interviewed for a startup job I desperately wanted. Although the CEO really liked me, he did not think I had the right experience for the job and wasn’t convinced I could hit the ground running. He did not want to risk this position on someone that was not proven. In an effort to change his mind, I researched the market, learned the business inside and out, and put together a killer 90-day plan. He was so impressed that he hired me on the spot.
So, what is important in a 90-day plan? Here are a few key elements I highly recommend:
Expertise. Research and truly understand the market the company is in as well as the key aspects of the position. First and foremost, your plan has to convince management that you understand their business and the role they need to fill.
Actionable. It is not enough to talk in generalities. Your 90-day plan must include the actual actions you will take. The hiring manager needs to understand exactly what you will be doing during those first 90 days.
Results oriented. You have to show the value you will provide the company. What deliverables will you complete in the first 90 days? Will you increase revenue? Train more sales reps? Decrease costs? What metrics are you willing to say you will impact? How are you going to be a catalyst for change in the business?
Polished. This deliverable will be the primary indicator of the quality of work that you will provide. Dot the “I”s, cross the “T”s – don’t waste your time unless it is going to be your best work.
This strategy can also be implemented to prove your readiness to move into a new role within your current company. Twelve years ago, I was working at Oracle in CRM Product Strategy and wanted to move into a more senior role, leading Product Management for a different suite of products, but the hiring VP was not convinced I knew her products well enough to be successful. I created a 90-day plan that included a strong market assessment, a detailed competitive analysis, and the messaging and positioning I thought the products should use. I even included an organizational chart of how I would manage the team and listed the key metrics I believed I should be evaluated on. It was a lot of work, but it paid off. Bottom line: if you are going to go through the effort, make sure it is thorough.
When I gave this advice to a mentee, she asked, “What if you do all of that work and they steal your plan and don’t hire you?” I responded, “Consider it a blessing – they are likely not someone you would want to work for anyway.”
Aim high. Apply for jobs that are just above your reach. But, be prepared to put together a plan that will prove you can succeed if given the opportunity.
By Heather Zynczak