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How to make sure your next job move is the right one for you

When I first start working with a new client the first thing many of them say to me is ‘I need a new job’, maybe unsurprisingly because, after all I am a Career Coach, BUT beneath that simple statement is a whole depth of complexity that has to be explored.

How do you know you need a new job?

Understanding what you mean and the reasons you want to leave your current job are really important if you want to make the right choice next time. Work out what is driving you to want to leave – are you really saying one of the following:

I’m bored and unchallenged

You’ve outgrown your job, you’ve mastered it and you can’t feel any excited about future work/projects. You need to be clear about what the challenge is you seek – managing staff? Being given more responsibility? Or working with people you can learn from? Work out what the next role needs to give you.

I’m ready for promotion

This could be you if you feel like you could do your boss’s job and you want to take on a bigger role with a different job title and maybe a higher salary. Check you have all the necessary skills and experience – look at job specs for these roles and if there are gaps make sure you have a plan to plug them.

I hate my boss/company

Maybe the culture of the organisation or your boss’s management style is at odds with your values and you know you need to get out before your confidence is affected further.  Be clear about the culture and size of the organisations you want to work for. If you know you do better in small/medium sized organisations steer away from large corporates. Research possible organisations on LinkedIn/Glassdoor.com to get a feel for them, and ask questions at interview about management style and why the last post holder left the role.

I hate work

You can’t put your finger on exactly what it is that you hate but the thought of work makes you feel ill, you dread Sunday nights and long for holidays.  It could be you need a new career rather than a new job but you need to take the time to work out what is causing the unhappiness – is it what you do? who you work with? or the company? Try to imagine doing what you do now but in a different company or sector, and if you can’t see it making a difference to how you feel, then a career change could be on the cards. Be honest with yourself.

I’m stressed and overloaded

You’re working crazy hours, thinking about work all the time and feel like you can’t cope any more. It is challenging when you’re overloaded to find both the time and headspace to find another job. Take some time off to plan your job search strategy. Then make sure the next role you take is adequately resourced with a manageable workload.

What’s stopping you?

Why haven’t you gone out and found a new job?? There can be many reasons people stay in jobs they don’t enjoy and it’s important to understand what yours is so it doesn’t block or paralyse you.

  • Loyalty – maybe you feel you would be letting people, your colleagues, your boss down if you leave. Maybe you’re all working to full capacity and you know the impact it will have if the team is one person down. While loyalty is an admirable quality don’t let it hold you back in your career – it is a fact of life that people leave jobs, which in turn create opportunities for others with new ideas/skills. As one of my old bosses said to me “ Never apologise for resigning.”
  • Fear – This can be paralysing. It could be fear of change, of the unknown or how you might fare in your next role, after all you know you can do your job in your current company but what if you’re not so good in the next company. What if the next move isn’t right or you realise what you had was actually ok? The thing with fear is you can end up talking yourself out of doing anything. Accept that there will always be a risk but if you do your job research well you can minimise it and potentially end up in a much better role/organisation.
  • Time – job searching is time consuming and in a busy world it can be hard to make the time to invest in finding a new job. You need to get serious though if you want to find a new job – start by breaking your job search down into tasks and make a plan. Accept that you’ll never find the time but that you have to create the time and space to be successful.

My 6 Tips to find that new job

Now you’re clear about why you want a new job and you’ve managed any blocks to getting on with it, you are now ready to just do it:

1.       Define your criteria

Be clear about the type of role you want, the sector, the salary level and location, organisation size, type of people you want to work with, etc.

2.       Review your CV

Make sure it’s up to date, shows off your achievements, and gives specific results that show you can add value. Be prepared to tailor it to each role you apply for – make sure it matches what they are looking for, uses their language and key words, and creates impact. Make sure you give your CV the WOW factor.

3.       Use LinkedIn

Update your profile, sign up for job alerts, let your networks know what you are looking for and get active in relevant industry groups.

4.       Talk to recruiters

Start having conversations with recruitment consultants in your field. Be clear about what you want and be persistent in following them up. Where possible have a face to face conversation with them. The good ones will want to get to know you before they put you forward for a role.

5.       Brush up your interview technique

If it’s been a while since you had an interview start collecting examples of what you have achieved at work that can demonstrate the key skills, practice talking about yourself positively and work on managing your nerves through breathing and being prepared. Even try some daydreaming for interview success

6.       Get organised

Set up a system to track your applications, save copies of your applications so you know what you said to whom and allocate time to work on your job search each week.

Start applying for jobs!

Don’t stay in a job that’s not right for you or that you’ve outgrown. Follow your instincts and if they are saying you need a new job then explore your motivations, get clear about what you want  and follow my tips to make it happen.

This blog was originally published on the Balanced Narrative site.

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