Guidance on making a career move
It can be tempting to stay in a role in which you feel confident and comfortable but this will rarely be a route to long-term skills development and career progression. To help beat the job move jitters, here is some guidance on making a career move.
Deciding between two jobs
Job offers can be like buses; you can wait for ages for one to arrive and then two or three come along at once. This is a great dilemma to face but one that can cause much anxiety and stress as you worry about which one to choose. Don’t automatically go for the one with the highest salary. Instead, consider the following factors as well.
Opportunities for progression
Consider your long-term ambitions as well as the short-term financial benefits. A well-paid role may be far from perfect if you find yourself stuck on the same pay-grade for years to come. Look at the opportunities for career development and growth that will help you to reach your ultimate career goals as well as fulfilling your current need for mental stimulation and financial reward.
The right company
Look beyond the role you are being offered and research the company as a whole. Consider the culture and their employer reputation. Ask yourself whether the business ethos and strategy is a good match for your own ambitions and ethos.
If possible, speak to past or present employees to find out more about the working environment and atmosphere, and think about the impression you received during previous communications and during your interview.
You must decide if this is the type of company that can help you fulfil your career ambitions in an environment that will allow you to perform to your full potential.
The right balance
Look at the bigger picture and how each job will affect your work/life balance. Does one have a longer commute that will eat into your leisure time or will one role involve longer regular hours or compulsory overtime?
A good company will be willing to wait whilst you consider all of these factors and, provided that your thinking time is of a reasonable length, you shouldn’t feel pressured into making a decision. If demands are made for a fast commitment to what will inevitably be a life-changing move then you may also need to consider if this is a bad sign when making your choice.
Maximise your transferable skills
There are some skills that are specific to a particular role, business or sector, but transferable skills are those that will be of benefit regardless of the job you do. These are skills that, if carefully developed and nurtured, can be excellent building blocks in your career journey.
Transferrable skills in-demand
The spectrum of transferrable skills is huge but there are inevitably some that are valued more than others. Here is a look at some of those that are most in-demand.
Showing initiative proves that you can think for yourself and that you have the motivation to succeed. Just beware of over-zealousness and going beyond your authority. Start small and develop as you move through your career.
- Enthusiasm and motivation
All employers want staff who are motivated and enthusiastic as these are the people most likely to make a positive contribution to the business.
- Good communication
Good communication is vital whether you are expected to talk to clients or discuss ideas with colleagues. If you are applying for a new role, take along examples of how you have used your communication skills effectively within your current role, and show off your skills in-person by being clear and concise at interview.
- Planning and organisation
A disorganised employee with no regard for the importance of good planning is a recipe for missed deadlines and overall chaos in the eyes of many employers. Your job is to demonstrate that these ‘attributes’ cannot be applied to you.
- Problem solving
The ability to overcome obstacles, both to help yourself and others, is a key skill to have. Make notes of successful problem-solving efforts to talk about at your next interview.
- Team working
No employee will really succeed without the ability to work effectively as part of a team. Hone your skills by liaising with different departments and working with various individuals and groups to make yourself more valuable to current and future employers.
A flexible approach will allow you to respond positively to even short-notice changes or demands and will help you to build strong relationships with colleagues. Building an understanding of the roles of others will not only demonstrate how you are committed to spending time getting to know them, but it will also prevent you from being too rigid and demanding when it comes to making requests of them.
As you progress along your chosen career path, many roles will feature at least some leadership elements. Start developing these skills by showing a willingness to take on the management of people or projects. This will allow you demonstrate your ability to lead by example and to delegate efficiently and effectively.
It is important that you have self-awareness as to your own abilities and the value that you can bring to any role. However, it is just as important to recognise any areas of weakness you may have. This is a vital basis for improvement and will be far more appreciated by employers than an arrogant and unrealistic ‘I can do no wrong’ attitude.
Talking about areas in which you wish to improve and skills you want to possess will demonstrate a willingness to develop and a determination to be the best that you can be.