Considering a career move? Tracey Bates, a consultant at Just Recruitment Group Ltd, offers a seven-step guide to making the leap.
It’s time for a change in your professional life. You’ve achieved your goals in your current role and are ready to move into a new one.
Now, the challenging part begins. How do you find an opportunity that’s right for you? What do you need to consider when making the change? And, once you’ve found what you’re looking for, how do you maximise your chances of success?
1. Evaluate your current position
The first, and most important, step is to examine your current role. What do you most like about it? And which aspects of your job would you happily live without?
Think about the scope of your role, and its day-to-day realities. Also reflect on the organisation you work for, your working environment, your terms and benefits of employment, and the corporate culture.
Bear in mind that a career move doesn’t necessarily involve a change of employer. Consider whether your current organisation offers any opportunities for progression. If not, are there any changes you could make to your existing role? Part-time working, for instance, offers the chance to pursue other interests or gain qualifications while maintaining a regular income. And many organisations offer secondment opportunities – enabling you to widen your knowledge and perspective, gain new skills, and broaden your networks.
2. Don’t rush into anything
Once you decide that it’s time for a change, it can be tempting to leap at the first opportunity to come your way. Try to resist this temptation: a considered, well-researched move is much more likely to lead to job satisfaction.
3. Take stock of your skills
Before starting your job search, make a list of all of your skills. Some of these may be industry-specific, but others will be transferable – and it is the latter that will be crucial if you’re considering a career change. Examples include communication, leadership, research and IT skills, and the ability to work effectively in a team. Also identify gaps in your knowledge and consider developing new skills where required.
4. Make a list of your wants and needs
Write down everything that you’re looking for in a job, taking into account the conclusions you’ve drawn about your current role. You could divide your list into wants and needs: which aspects are essential and which are simply desirable?
As part of this process, work out the minimum that you need to earn. Make a list of all of your outgoings, including items such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, groceries, insurance, leisure, childcare and transport costs.
5. Be open-minded
When considering a career move, don’t limit yourself to a particular industry or role. Remember those transferable skills? Prepare to be creative in your job search.
Also bear in mind that your move doesn’t have to be an upward one. When chosen wisely, sideways moves enable you to broaden your knowledge and widen your skill set – giving you valuable experience when it comes to future progression.
6. Finding your perfect position
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, it’s time to start job-hunting.
Search for opportunities on jobs boards, employer websites and in the trade press. Start networking among your contacts, professional and personal, and attend any events and seminars that you think may be relevant to your career-move of choice.
Social media can also be a valuable tool when searching for a new job. Not only does it enable you to advertise your skills and experience. It also gives you the chance to widen your networks, research employers and explore opportunities.
Last but certainly not least, register with a recruitment agency. Some employers manage their vacancies exclusively through agencies – giving you access to positions that you would not otherwise find. More than this, an experienced recruitment consultant can help you to apply for jobs and prepare for interviews – all at no cost to you.
7. Research, research, research
With a shortlist of opportunities drawn up, it’s time to get your head down.
Research the companies that you’re applying to, the nature of the positions being advertised, the potential for progression and the benefits of the job. Cross-refer your findings to your list of wants and needs and assess how many are met.
Once you’ve done this, you should feel ready to start applying for jobs, and confident in the move you’re making. The next step is to brush up your CV – but that’s a topic for another day…
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