Look Before You Leap!
Maximise your chances of success: Before you start looking for a new job, think it over carefully. Make a plan first, to ensure a smooth transition and a happy outcome.
It’s important to be proactive about any career moves you intend to make. In fact, you should prepare for the job-hunting process long before you begin to search for new opportunities.
Establishing a relationship with a recruiter you trust and get along with will help immensely in this regard. It is a major advantage if your recruiter specializes in your industry sector or job function, as they will know about trends and new opportunities.
Ask the Right Questions
If you are unsatisfied at your current job, you need to be aware of what precisely is the source of your discontent.
Think about what you want to change. What do you want? Or, quite often it is more to the point to ask yourself: What don’t you want?
Find out if it is possible to achieve your goals where you are working now. If you can get what you want at your current job, you should consider staying put. It is advisable to explore the possibilities for career advancement internally before looking elsewhere.
This may involve putting out some discreet feelers with colleagues to ascertain where you stand with management, to determine if you are pushing up against a glass ceiling, or if there may be a new project on the horizon that could be interesting and make it worthwhile to stay a bit longer.
Talk it Over with Your Manager
Depending on your situation, it may be possible to have a frank conversation with your manager about future prospects. If circumstances allow, you could approach your boss. Explain that you’re feeling unchallenged, and ask: what does the roadmap look like for me, in next six months to one year?
You might be pleasantly surprised: If they want to keep you, the company may accommodate your request for a more challenging assignment.
This is a delicate manoeuvre, and it’s not for everyone. I certainly am not suggesting you tell your manager that you are looking for the exit. That could have unintended consequences that may not benefit you. But if you have a solid relationship with your boss, and you are confident about your position in the company, it could be helpful. Don’t give an ultimatum, or tip your hand: just try to get insights that will help you make a more informed decision about your future.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll at least have more clarity about your future prospects. And you’ll have a better idea about whether it’s time to leave. If your current employer can’t give you what you want, it’s time to make a move.
Put Pen to Paper
First and foremost, candidates should be clear – with themselves – about what is negotiable and non-negotiable.
I recommend writing down what you want and don’t want. What are the elements your new job must have, and what do you refuse to accept? Often, you’ll find some items on the list are contradictory.
Many times, a candidate has told me they’re willing to commute up to 1.5 hours for the right salary. A few moments later they’ll be talking about the importance of a work-life balance.
Reach Out to a Recruiter
Quite often I will meet with prospective candidates whom I may have spoken with on the phone a few times. After a long cup of coffee, we may decide the best thing to do is stay at their current job. That doesn’t mean we’ve wasted our time. The relationship we’ve established can be used in the future.
A lot of placements I make are for candidates who I’ve known for a year or more. I check in with them routinely. We discuss how things are going with their career, with their personal lives. I let them know about developments and opportunities in their particular industry. Again, this gives us a higher degree of clarity: when the time comes to make a move, when an opportunity presents itself, we’ll know the time is right, and there won’t be any second-guessing.
Maybe a prospect will be in line for a promotion or a new project at his current position. I’ll say: “Ok that sounds great. Finish managing that project successfully, then let’s talk after 6 months.” When the project is completed, maybe that person has more skills, and their resume looks more impressive. Alternatively, maybe things didn’t work out as they hoped; now they definitely know the time has come to look for a new job.
Find a recruiter you like, who makes you feel comfortable. They should specialise in finding jobs for people with your skill set, or in your industry. Make a plan with your recruiter, and a timeline. Establish clear parameters of what you are looking for. Update your CV.
Discuss what you are looking for, in terms of salary expectation, work culture, career advancement. Make sure that what you’re looking for is realistic. A recruiter with specialised knowledge of your particular industry can confirm whether your expectations are reasonable and achievable given present market conditions.
Plan and Prepare for the Job-Seeking Process
Here’s what doesn’t work, but it happens all too often: A candidate has a bad day at work. They’ll go online and browse job boards, apply for a few positions. Maybe they get an interview. Afterwards, they get an offer that they’re not fully prepared to consider. Then it becomes a case of ‘What do I do now?’
It’s important to plan to achieve the desired result.
If candidates prepare themselves to go through the process, that planning will inevitably create more successful outcomes, both in terms of achieving long-term success in a new job, as well as making the transition a lot easier.
A competent recruiter can help with interview preparation, salary negotiation, how to handle the timing of your resignation from your old job, and prepare you for the onboarding process for your new role.
The entire process of changing jobs is stressful. It puts us through emotional upheaval. This is part of what a recruiter can help with. For us, this is familiar territory, we deal with it every day. You need someone to accompany you on this path. Trust me, you don’t want to go it alone. It is daunting and potentially disruptive to your life. You’ll need support along the way, both from family, friends and a professional recruiter.
If you think it may be time to make a career move, please reach out me to me on LinkedIn.