When people find themselves on the job market it is human nature to panic a little and charge out to market without really taking the opportunity to take stock and define what you really want.
I know it is easy for me to say, ‘slow down, hold your nerve’ as I don’t pay your bills but this is a really important decision and one that impacts so many facets of your life from your finances to your emotional wellbeing and as such it is important that you give it the focus it deserves.
So, slow down, hold your nerve and plan this properly. The more time you spend in this stage will significantly increase the focus and efficiency of your job search.
Rather than charging out to market straight away, take a step back and ask yourself questions like;
- What do I want next? Is it more of the same or something completely different?
- What am I looking for from my next employer?
- What is it that I can offer my next employer?
- What am I looking for from my next role?
- What other variables are important? e.g. Location, Lifestyle balance, autonomy etc
- Culturally what is important to me?
- What are my transferable skills?
- What does success look like from a financial perspective?
- How long am I giving myself to find my next opportunity?
When we are supporting people from an outplacement perspective a key element of our role is working with people to define what success looks like for them and what role they would like us to play in bringing this about. From experience, people really value the opportunity to talk things through with their dedicated outplacement consultant who they view as a peer and confidante.
We can challenge their thinking (in the right way), work on identifying transferable skills and bring to bear all of our extensive experience on the job market to build a plan of action and then work shoulder to shoulder with them for as long as it takes to achieve their defined success.
Having a clear plan of action or service level agreement between us is a critical starting point on the journey, it gives us an agreed framework that we can constantly refer to as we progress on the journey and ensure that we remain on track.
Experience has taught us that you should not be passive in this process. If you are not clear about what you want, then there is a real risk that the market will drive you to where it wants to put you rather than the other way around. Don’t forget that recruitment agents and head-hunters are not there to give you career advice, they are most interested in earning commission. I am not being critical of this at all but it is important to understand what drives them and it certainly is not being responsible for your career.
One of the most common phrases we hear from people who haven’t invested the time in defining what success looks like for them is, ‘I don’t want to rule anything out’. Counter intuitive though it might seem this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as you are talking to everyone but no one specifically. You are far better served to be clear on who your target audience are, what it is that you are looking for from them and in turn what you can offer. This is a sniper shot rather than a scatter gun approach.
Finally, remember that the key to success is to find the right next opportunity for you not just any job, this is such an important decision but sometimes people invest more time on planning their next holiday than they do their job search. It is important to invest the time to define what the right next opportunity is, as
‘If you do not know to what port you are sailing no wind is favourable’ Seneca the younger