CAREER DEVELOPMENT / APR. 12, 2014
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3 Reasons Why You Should Work Outside Your Job Description

Before you apply for a new position, it only makes sense to familiarise yourself with the job description. You can assess whether your skills are a right match for the position, plus decide whether you're comfortable performing these tasks on a daily basis.

However, if you're fortunate enough to interview with a company, you may discover that a position entails tasks not mentioned in the job ad. Between the per line cost of running a job ad and limited space, some employers must keep postings brief, and there isn't always room to provide a full description.

Assuming you're offered a role in the company, you can choose to accept or reject a position once you have an accurate job description. But even if you know exactly what's expected of you, at some point after you're hired, your employer may slyly slip in assignments outside your job description. 

In an organization, it's not uncommon for employees to roll up their sleeves and jump in when things get a little crazy. For example, if the flu strikes and half the office is out sick, your boss might ask you to assist in other departments for two or three days. When I say "slip in assignments," I'm not referring to these isolated incidents. 

On the other hand, let's say you're hired as a receptionist for a company. Based on your job description, your responsibilities may entail answering the phone and handling minor customer service issues. But after your boss learns that you're an English major, he may ask you to update the company's website and provide blog content on a regular basis.

Now, you can say, "No thanks, that's not in my job description." This is your right. But if you're looking to get ahead -- either professionally or financially -- there are sound reasons to work outside your job description. 

Demonstrates Your Capabilities

You might hesitate accepting responsibilities outside your job description, but this is one way to get ahead if you're looking to grow within your organization. The truth is, you may have skills that your employer seeks. But if your employer isn't fully aware of your capabilities, he or she may overlook you for promotions or hold off giving you challenging tasks. 

Obviously, if you're already overworked, taking on assignments outside your job description can create an added burden, and probably not the best idea. But if you can handle additional work, don't look down on new assignments that come your way. This is your opportunity to shine and demonstrate your ability in different areas. 

Helps You Negotiate a Higher Salary

If you permanently take on assignments outside your job description, this can be your bargaining chip when asking for a pay increase. With so many employees, your boss may have forgotten the details of your job description.

Before you approach your employer, ask the Personnel or Human Resource Department for a copy of your job description. Compare this description with your current assignments, and then jot down any regular assignments that are beyond the scope of this description. After a side-by-side comparison, your boss may offer compensation that's equivalent with your level of responsibility. 

Gain New Experience

If you feel that you don't have the skills or experience to take your career to the next level, accepting assignments outside your job description might be the ticket to a brighter career path. Think of it as free training

Currently, your job may only involve basic administrative support. But if you make yourself available, your boss may ask you to help with the workflow in other departments. For example, I worked as a receptionist during college. At first, my only assignment was manning the switchboard. However, I think my boss noticed by boredom, because shortly afterwards she started assigning me overflow work from other departments. None of these tasks were included in my job description, and I didn't receive extra pay. However, by the time I left that job, I had a strong familiarity with the ins and outs of human resources and marketing. These skills opened the door to future opportunities. 

You never know, working outside your job description might help you discover your true career path?

Do you think it's smart to regularly accept assignments outside your job description? Please comment.

 

Image Credit [Flickr]

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