Here are a few things to consider a few things before making the leap.
Are you feeling like it is time to move on to a new opportunity? A decision should not be the basis on emotion as that generally is not a solid foundation for a good decision. Are you on the Hunt or are you being Hunted? It is important to know what would lead you to make a leap. As the adage goes – the grass is not always greener. And while generally true, make the move for the right reasons and with an open mind. As the water cooler chatting and office politics are alive and kicking in most places today.
Thinking about the next big adventure? This can be a very exciting time and create more stress in your life. Looking for the next opportunity requires effort and a plan on your part. Regardless of how you arrived, it is important for you to think through your situation and devise a plan. Sending your resume out in response to job postings is one approach. Adequate research and investment of your time may lead you to the right opportunity in a less time.
Let’s talk about the ‘Why’ first. It is important for you to be honest with yourself. Understand where you are, how you got there and map out your next desired direction. Jumping at the next bright shiny object can be a gamble and sometimes backfire. So, think on why you feel it is time to seek something new. Check to see if your organization has a good resource to have an explore other opportunities. Sometimes the change can be as simple as a new role within your existing organization. The scenarios go on and on. Be sure to explore all possibilities before leaping. Having aspirations of continuing to grow and progress your career are not uncommon. There are companies that lose good people. Culture compatibility is real and important for both parties. There is the business to run and most need their people to be successful. Culture requires investment on both parts (employer & employee). It is important to check and define where you are and why are thinking a change is the right thing for you. Being in a position of an informed decision is powerful. Being happy to go to work each day is a dream. Together you have a powerful dream!
Let’s get into the ‘What’ next. Knowing what the contributing factors to this current state is important too. Write down those aspects contributing to you wanting to leave your current position. Include what it would take for you to stay. When done you will see with your first decision based on your influencers. Once you see this view you can ensure you are making the decision for the right reasons. This view provides details in hand for a discussion with your current employer. May also offer influence on prospective opportunities. I find it helpful to create some sort of a view comparing to those things that I like about where I am. Here is a simple sample view (you should proceed through the exercise until exhausted all topics):
|+ Working hours of 8am to 4pm||+ Similar hours although I am flexible|
|– Leadership unfriendly and limiting||+ Seeking a leader to help me grow and progress in my career|
|+ Office location ideal||+ Office location within 30 mins drive time would be ideal|
|– Compensation stagnant outside of annual cost of living increase even though I have taken on more responsibilities||+ I need to find a way to increase my compensation, would be willing to proceed with current if I have a plan defined to grow and increase accordingly|
|+ Culturally a good fit||+ needs to be a good fit culturally|
|+/- Deep knowledge of the industry||+ other industries would further expand my value|
|+ Large organization – lots of opportunities||+ ability to offer growth and diverse experience|
So, what do we see as a trend in the above? This person takes issue with their compensation and their direct leadership. It may be beneficial to reach out internally on other available opportunities. Money is a touchy area for decision making. If more money is your driving force the so be it. You may find yourself at this juncture over an over without open communication. Aligning opportunities based on your driving desires is key. Balancing with secure and gainful employment is also key.
And now that we understand the ‘Why’ and the ‘What’ let’s move on to the ‘How’. It is important to decide if you want to only target certain companies or if you are open to whomever has interest. This will be important on how you sell your skills – are they industry specific, do you have any relevant experience that you can relate to a new industry and so on. If you are unsure, then proceed with an open approach until you have more data points to add to your decision criteria.
Sending your resume on job boards is one approach and sometimes pays off. My thoughts would be to leverage your professional & personal network.
- Do you know people at a target company?
- Have you let your professional/personal network know you are open to a new opportunity? Sometimes a contact will respond in – I know this is perfect for you and make the introduction. Companies also sometimes have a referral program so there is a double incentive.
- Leverage the job boards for information such as the hiring contact. Reach out directly to introduce yourself. Keep in mind that these folks receive many of these on any given day. Depending upon what they are currently seeking it might be your day for introduction.
Sending resumes and/or messages on prospective opportunities can be time consuming. And feel defeating if you haven’t received any response. Do not get discouraged. This is not an easy process by design. Keep in mind that these companies are looking for the best fit for their organization’s need. The competition is fierce – don’t give up on yourself. You are in the best position to know your value add. It is time for you to represent yourself and show them you are a winner and why they need to choose you.
Once you have your introductory call which you should be prepared for you move on to the next steps. I use the word steps in plural tense as you should keep it in a choice frame of mind. You get to choose them as much as they get to choose you. It is important to get as much detail as you can out of each interaction. Companies love when they hear about themselves especially from a prospective employee. You will show your ability, commitment and seriousness. I generally ask about the next steps. Offer comments on notable items. Be sure to deliver an energetic positive presence with great interest.
Preparing for interviews is very important. You are being viewed on many levels. This includes your dress, your greeting including the handshake to your questions. You should focus your time on gathering the data points that are important for your decision. It is important to know what your deciding factors are. Do you know your decision criteria? What are the differentiators if you have more than one opportunity to choose from? Research and understanding what is most import to you is another key to your decision.
Let’s break it down – What is important to you?
- Knowledge of the company will inform on a fit for you. Understanding any recent changes may further relate to your specific wants and needs or not at all which may be another indicator.
- Average length of retention of staff might lend to the satisfaction and culture insights. If they have high turnover – might ask their thoughts on why that is occurring (if they agree that it is in fact true).
- Leadership vision and overall direction of the company alignment with your career aspirations and possibilities.
- Do you care if the company is public or private? Do you have a perspective on the overall management and alignment? Who does the leadership answer to and/or serve – a board or an owner or shareholders? If this is important then perhaps you gather this detail.
- Financial stability and compensation trend might lend to your financial goals and your own stability.
- I also like to know if the position is new or pre-existing. If new, then you might inquire on what problem are they trying to solve. If pre-existing, then you might inquire on the what is the expectation for success and so on. Bring something new to the existing position that you would want to highlight. Either way it is good to understand the expectations.
- Working from home important then discuss before accepting a position. There may be a policy that you may take advantage of and if not, it may influence otherwise.
- There are many other areas to explore. It is up to you to continue through your list of important areas. Being informed on your ultimate decision to leap and get what you seek.
The point is you have the world at your feet and you need to be at the helm of your journey. Also keep in mind that sometimes new opportunities fall into your lap and when they do decide to leap or not. The process still works but only if the it supports the right side of your decision criteria. Keep your expectations in the real realm of possibilities. Negotiate a package that meets your expectations. It sometimes can feel desperate or time constrained while searching. Keep calm and proceed with the plan – it will work out if it is realistic. As doors close in front of you, stay positive as this will lead you to something new. Reflecting on the closed door will empower you as you proceed forward.
Keep in mind, hunting requires effort and investment. It is the art of seeking and finding or the pursuit of a target. If you are willing to invest in yourself as the product and sell it – you will reap the rewards! You are the winner!