New Role? What to find out before you apply

Role descriptions generally don’t tell you if the role is new. You are likely to know this only if you are an insider or if you ask the contact person. Without this information your application could be off-target because you make your pitch based on ‘business as usual’.

Before you apply, there are questions to ask, including whether the role exists or is new. If you learn the role is new, then there are other questions to ask:

  • Why is the role being created? A role can be created due to a restructure, an expansion, a new subject area, a recombination of agencies or agency sections, a crisis, to name a few reasons.
  • Is the team in place? If the role manages a team, you need to know if your team exists, whether it is coming into existence or whether you may need to recruit team members.
  • Is the direction clear? When a new role is created, it may be clear what is expected, people may think they are clear but aren’t, or the new person may play a role in developing what is expected.

With answers to these questions you can then pitch your application according to:

  • How you will respond to the circumstances of the role’s creation. Responding to a crisis requires different skills and qualities to handling a restructure.
  • How you will lead the team, particularly if they are unclear, uncertain, unwilling or even non-existent.
  • How you will respond to and/or help set the new direction.

Skills and qualities likely to be relevant to a new role include:

  • Change management
  • Setting strategic direction
  • Persistence
  • Resilience
  • Flexibility
  • People management
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Calm under pressure
  • Performance management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Managing upwards
  • Networking .
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.