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Getting Hired To Do ‘In-House’ Organizing

If you can’t locate a suitable colleague for whom to toil (or are seeking a salary-and-benefits-package beyond what most smallish POs can offer) you have yet another option—employment with a larger business, educational institution, or charitable organi-zation as their in-house productivity expert.

In-house, you say? How is that possible?! Huge numbers of companies (both for-profit and not) bring in outside consultants to boost worker efficiency, reduce expenses, and raise the bottom line. The smart ones recognize that “getting organized” isn’t just a one-shot deal—that it takes ongoing maintenance to keep things running smoothly. With indepen-dent contractors sometimes charging rates the equivalent of twice an employee’s annual salary (even with benefits thrown in), more and more businesses are coming to the reali-zation that putting a PO on the payroll as a permanent employee makes sense, saves money, and gives them a competitive advantage.

In-house labor involves many of the same tasks as corporate consulting—setting up records retention guidelines and filing systems, analyzing workflow and procedures for inefficiencies, revamping business policies, creating ergonomically-correct work spaces, and training staff. But you can also lend a hand with more “off-the-beaten-path” efforts:

  • move-management—A corporate relocation department could send you out into the field, to pack and unpack top executives who are being shuffled from one office to another across the country.
  • educational support—A university could bring you on board to assist professors, researchers, and even struggling students.
  • real-estate resource—A brokerage might hire you to be on-call for their stable of agents (doing home-staging and decluttering prior to the sale, then getting clients settled in more quickly after closing on a new home).
  • medical records management—You might be in charge of a hospital’s medical informatics and assist in HIPPAA compliance (while also teaching patients how to better organize their health records).
  • legal records management—You could keep a law office’s data in line with bar association regulations (and get relevant client documentation in order for a lawsuit, divorce, or estate planning session).

While we’re at it, don’t forget about all those tangentially-related industries that have natural ties to our profession:

  • interior design—You could offer in-house support to the creative team (helping them envision functional-yet-attractive storage spaces and more efficient room lay-outs to go with all that high-end aesthetically-pleasing decor).
  • counseling support—You might be on staff at a family practice (assisting patients in therapy to deal with some of the more tangible time/space/paper conflicts that might be causing friction at home).
  • housekeeping—You could do appointment-prep for a cleaning service (eliminating piles so the weekly dust-and-vacuum goes more smoothly).
  • custom closet design—You might be hired to provide a full-service experience for customers buying high-end systems (cleaning out the excess, figuring out the best storage options, then getting it all set up after the new closet is installed).

You might even find a position working for the kind of firm that needs clients to be better organized so staff can do their jobs more efficiently. (Accountants, bookkeepers, financial planners, and the like are often desperate to have information submitted in a more streamlined, usable fashion.) Absolutely any company out there is a candidate, but you may have to explain why these folks should hire you before they’ll schedule an interview. Since this is a new concept for a lot of people, you’ll want to spend some time (quite possibly a lot of it) educating potential employers about what exactly it is that you do—whichever services you know they need and that you feel comfortable providing:

  • heading off missed deadlines before they occur
  • saving money by preventing duplicate purchases of lost supplies
  • eliminating distractions that keep employees from focusing on work
  • cutting down on routine interruptions
  • better managing paper and electronic files
  • introducing productivity techniques that get more done in less time
  • designing ergonomically-correct workspaces
  • improving internal and external communications
  • planning more forward-thinking meetings
  • integrating various technological tools into the daily routine
  • helping execs make better use of their assistants’ time

You may have worked for a particular company in another capacity (and would like them to consider hiring you for your organizing skills)—or you could have your eye on an outfit that just seems like a good match for your temperament and talents. I know you’re ready to pop the question, exchange those vows, and head right off on your honeymoon. But you need to be a bit of a stalker first, before trying to court this business!

Do your homework, visit their website, read the shareholder report, and take the tour—you should know enough about the corporation’s mission and industry position to speak intelligently about how you can give their folks a leg-up. Send an introductory letter (outlining who you are and what you have in mind) to the head of HR, a department chair, the CEO (or whoever will best understand the benefits you bring to the table). Follow up with a complete written proposal (…see Chapter IX), explaining how you intend to make their work “work” better—and then schedule a meeting to discuss your ideas.

You can also improve your chances of being hired by telling a compelling story (…outlined in Chapter IV) in your cover letter—discussing your lifelong passion for creating order, your motivation for joining this industry, your career path thus far, and your over-arching professional philosophy. Then be prepared to hand your would-be boss a resume that highlights relevant organizing-related skills and abilities, rather than just listing previous positions. Stress accomplishments (not job duties), illustrating the quandaries you’ve solved and hurdles you’ve jumped. And always quantify your results—if you don’t have exact figures, at least estimate how much money saved, what level of increased sales, what percentage of reduced turnover, or how many customers served.

Most importantly, show that you have a solid understanding of that employer’s precise decluttering and productivity needs—and make sure you can clearly articulate how you’re uniquely qualified to meet those needs. I can’t promise they’ll bite the first time you cast your line. But if you back your idea with solid statistics and sound reasoning, you’ll eventually get one on the hook!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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