Several years ago, I had a direct report who wanted to move from a marketing specialist role into a marketing manager role. She came to me her request after her annual review, where she’d received a good rating, having exceeded some of her goals.
I asked her to tell me why she wanted the role, and how she thought it would differ from her current role. After some conversation, it became clear she didn’t have a clear view on what a marketing manager’s job actually entailed. I pulled out our job families descriptions and went through it, and I could tell she wasn’t buying it.
So I told her to keep our job family description in mind and go take a look at marketing manager jobs with our competitors to get a better idea of what the job entailed.
I asked that, after she read a few of those job listings, she come back to me with her own draft job description and a career development plan for getting her ready for that role.
Why It’s a Good Thing for Your Employees to Read Job Listings
When I relayed this story to my own manager, she furrowed her brow and asked me to explain my thinking. Why would I tell my employee to read job listings? Isn’t that akin to telling her to leave?
I gave her three reasons why it’s a good thing for all of us to read job listings even if we’re in a job we love:
1. Identify in-demand job skills.
When you work for an organization for several years, it can be easy to lose touch with how your profession is evolving. This is especially true in highly regulated industries which can be slow to adopt new marketing tactics, with social media being a prime example. By reading job listings you can quickly identify the new must-have skills for your current position and the one you aspire to next.
2. Get a feel for experience requirements.
I once worked for an organization that promoted its top performers every year. Which is how we ended up with a 25-year-old Vice President with four years job experience. While the title made him happy, it also became an unrealistic expectation when he went to look for his next job. Most organizations will require you demonstrate the skills and gain the experience needed prior to promoting you. Surveying current job listings can help you understand when you’re ready to take on a bigger challenge.
3. Uncover your ideal career path.
How many of us knew exactly what we wanted to do career-wise when we graduated from college? And of those, how many of us wanted that same career path after five years in the workforce? By taking a look at available jobs in your career area, you may determine you don’t actually want to move up the ladder in your current career track. For instance, if you excel as an individual contributor, and don’t like managing a team, you may want to become a specialist in your career field, rather than be on the management track.
In the case of the first employee I told to go read job listings, she came back to me with her career development plan. But it wasn’t for becoming a marketing manager. Rather, she realized that to pursue what she found to be most interesting, she’d need to get her MBA. She plotted out the experience she wanted to get in her current position to help with that transition. In all, she gave me about a year’s notice of her intention to leave. And over that time, she was committed to her work, and happier than she had been previously.
She didn’t have the right skill set to advance in the position, so realistically, we probably wouldn’t have retained her for more than six months. And instead of having an employee sneaking out to interview, I had more than enough time to document processes and recruit her replacement before she left. I’m calling that a win-win.
Isn’t it time you headed over to LinkedIn and set up some job notifications and got a feel for how your career is evolving?