Changing jobs always presents an opportunity. Even if a move has been forced upon you through redundancy or some other matter outside your control, you should still conduct the search for a new job as part of a pro-active career management strategy.
When considering a career move you need to bear certain things in mind. We have highlighted just three, which will help ensure that you make the right move.
Your Career Goals
In the old days your career goals were called your ambitions. Very simply put, your ambition was a statement of where you wanted to get to. Today we break your ambitions down into smaller pieces and call them goals. They might include:
- A certain salary
- A certain level within your company
- The opportunity of working in a certain country
- The opportunity of working for a particular company.
There is no limit to the sorts of goal you may have, nor the number of goals. What is important is that you consider and set yourself realistic goals. If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there!
The Culture You Want to Work In
When you apply for jobs you are making a choice. Of course, you need to earn money, but you also need to be sure that the job you do is one which you will perform well in, and which will give you the right amount of satisfaction. There is no reason why you should force yourself to work in an environment which is not right for you and the chances are that, if you do, you will soon be back in the job market again.
So before applying for a job, think about the sort of culture you want to work in. Do you prefer small teams or large companies? Do you like a noisy, competitive environment, or something quieter? Do you do better when you are closely managed, or are looking for autonomy?
Do your research on companies before applying for jobs. Try to talk to people who work there, or who know the company. If you can’t find anyone to speak to, read as much about the company as you can. Remember, it’s not just the job title that matters. The same job title can turn out to be a dream in one company, and a nightmare in another, all depending on your personal preferences.
What You Do Best
Employers look for skills, more than they look for experience. The fact that you have done a job doesn’t mean that you were good at it, and a potential employer will want to know that you did it well. Think about your best moments in your previous jobs, and the skills you used when performing well. Understand how those skills are relevant to the jobs you are thinking of applying for. Work out how you can prove to the employer that you really have those skills. What evidence can you add to your CV which will prove you have the skills the employer needs?
Think also about the new skills you’d like to develop in the next phase of your career. Will the jobs you are looking at give you the opportunity and space to grow? Is that what you want? Or would you rather have a job which doesn’t challenge you too much, and leaves you free to get on with your life outside work as much as possible?
What if you Can’t Choose?
Looking for a new job is an all consuming task. It’s also usually urgent, particularly if you have been out of work for a long time. But although getting a job can solve an immediate crisis, getting the wrong job can give you a long term problem. Reality dictates that you may not be able to choose which job you get. But, if you can’t get the right job, don’t give up. It’s much easier to find work when you are already working.
If you need to get back to work quickly, take whatever work you can, but carry on looking for what you really want. Getting the wrong job might just prove to be the opportunity which allows you to find the right one.