There is recent news that the U.S. jobs market has picked up, and many people are looking to change jobs. Most job seekers are described to be looking for either money or advancement, but for what long-term career advantage? Whether or not you’re now looking for a new job, it may be a good time to get ready. What criteria will you use in seeking your next job, and how can you prepare? Here are some pointers.
Don’t chase the money. This is the most fundamental advice of all. The more your focus is on the money, the more you are playing into other people’s ideas about your career and career success. Of course, you will need a basic level of income to live your life, but there are many other considerations you can apply in owning your career. How about, for example, having a more engaging job? Or what about a more worthwhile, family-friendly or socially useful job?
Look for new learning. One fundamental consideration is to look for new learning. A successful job change will close one learning chapter in your career, and open another chapter. Moreover, if you look after your learning, the money will often follow. What learning can you expect to gain from your new job? What career trajectory will that take you on? Will you become more skillful in your occupation, or gain more opportunity to apply your skills in the marketplace? What can new learning mean for you?
Seek new relationships. This proposal complements the one above. Most learning takes place on the job, and much of it will involve other people – mentors to show you the ropes, customers to share their side of the story and occupational peers to give you the benefit of their experience. Aside from any learning consideration, you can also use your existing abilities to build your reputation, and thereby open new doors of opportunity that would otherwise not become available.
Show your commitment. Showing your commitment can make an essential contribution to gaining a job offer. Many young accounting graduates, for example, look alike. Many applicants for CEO positions can look alike, too. So a primary concern of the recruiter is whether you will invest the necessary hours, and show the required initiative to get the job done. You need to make sure you emphasize what your commitment will be, and illustrate that from your past experience.
Say what you would like. This is something that either deferential or cavalier job seekers may avoid. They don’t want to speak out of turn, or haven’t thought things through, so they don’t express their own career interests. If you behave like that, it will work against you. Show an interest in where the recruiting company would like to go, and expect them to show an interest in where you would like to go. If you both do that, you will each be able to recognize a good match.
The issues of money, learning, relationships, commitment and your career future will all be in play in any recruitment process. Moreover, making sure you are clear about what you would like from your next job is important to your career. You will be able to quickly respond to a new job opportunity when it is advertised – and also to network in search of new opportunities before they are advertised!