The way in which we manage our next career move and job search has changed significantly. To the uninitiated it can be a fairly daunting process; to the more experienced job searcher, there are still lessons to be learnt. Here are a few myths debunked and pointers to be mindful of:
1 Even Something As Traditional As Recruitment Is Changing
Accept things are changing. You may need to step out of your comfort zone and you may be asked to do things a little differently. Things are changing at pace in the recruitment industry and with new technologies, tighter regulations & personal data laws, biometrics even, the way in which we recruit is ever-evolving. Not sure this is necessarily for the better, but nevertheless you have to move with the tide.
2 Left of Centre Opportunities
Be prepared for a career opportunity to come from a place you weren’t expecting. Don’t narrow your career outcome by just relying on job adverts. I would suggest that as many professional job offers are secured through NOT applying via the classic routes and more so, via widening your net and discovering opportunities. Respect the power of clever networking.
3 Your Personal Brand
Be very aware of your personal brand – on and off-line. In an age where personal information is easily assessable, whether you like it or not, recruiters will check your social media accounts and on-line activity. Impressions with be drawn from how you conduct and represent yourself, in and out of the work-place, on-line and off-line. All this information will be channelled into and form part of their decision-making process.
4 Put the Effort Into Your Job Search
Don’t be surprised at the amount of effort that goes into a job search these days. It can easily be a full-time job in itself. It’s like a lot of things that requires effort; the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. The more creative you are and wider the search, the more career opportunities you can present yourself with.
5 Your CV – Your Calling Card
Most CVs I see are lazy and just plain average, a regurgitated job description and tells the Reader very little about your personalised career story. You will never get your dream job with an average CV. Don’t underestimate how powerful and influential your CV is. Most people do. This is your calling card and represents you, what you can offer your next employer and your CV will play a massive part in determining your career outcome.
6 Keep Focussed on What’s Important
Don’t lose touch as to why you are making a career move. Reasons for considering a career move tend to be around career progression, family values/work-life balance or job satisfaction. Yet when it comes to actually leaving, those that decide to retract their resignation are easily seduced by a salary or package enhancement counter-offer, only to remain in exactly the same situation; albeit slightly richer, but not really addressing their real reasons for putting themselves through the job search process in the first place.
7 Moving on, not just up
Don’t restrict your job search to narrow career goals. When I started my career in HR my default vision was to become HR Director. I never imagined I’d make two career changes and be running my own business. Break down the paradigms and be open in your thinking – there are other ways to reach the top without climbing the corporate ladder. Have a clear vision of what’s important in your life first. It’s not always about chasing promotion and moving up but moving on.
8 Take it On The Chin
Appreciate that you will not win every interview and you may lose a few battles to win the war. In my experience, “People buy People” and Interviewers don’t hire people they don’t necessarily connect with, even if they look great on paper. If the chemistry isn’t there then perhaps this one is just not meant to be.
9 CV Spread-betting is a No-No
Don’t apply for a hundred jobs and hope one will stick because it won’t and that’s a lot of wasted energy meantime. Do yourself a favour and be selective about the jobs you apply for. Focus on career opportunities that are a close fit to your skills and experience and make sure they are succinctly demonstrated on your CV. Employers will always select the best fit experienced candidates for interview and if you only tick 5 out of 10 boxes, better-fit candidates will be selected over you. Just because you believe you are a great fit, doesn’t mean your CV reflects this or that the Employer will think so.
10 Take The Initiative Communication Wise
Don’t be afraid to go back to common sense communication – pick up the phone, post your CV or even hand deliver your CV. This is a great way to distinguish yourself from the competition. Don’t be afraid to contact an Employer directly either. It’s easy to avoid this for fear of rejection but, in times of severe skill-shortages and more often than not, they will be happy to hear from you.
11 Listen To Your Gut Feel
Do your homework. Be sure you have asked all the questions you need to, in order to understand exactly what your next step career move is all about. During the job search process, fill in all the blanks and be sure you are confident you understand the main challenges, you have met the appropriate people and you were satisfied with the process. Listen to your gut feel (it’s always right) re the organisation and culture – if something doesn’t feel right – address it, don’t ignore it.
12 Don’t Burn Bridges
Sounds like common sense, but it’s a small world and you never know when you could be working with your peers again. It does happen and whilst you might have formed long-lasting professional relationships, it will be the minor fracas that will get remembered.
13 Not All Recruiters Are Gangsters!
Although many Recruiters are considered to be in the same league as car salesmen (I mean that generically of course), you should make Recruiters your friend and not your foe. They can be a particularly useful ally and can support you in so many ways if you press the right buttons. However, recruitment is a very crowded area, be selective about whom you work with.
14 Trust No-One
Different stakeholders have their own agendas, depending on their own goals. Listen to your gut feel at all stages of the process and don’t let your heart rule your head or be influenced by misplaced loyalties. Don’t be rushed into making important career decisions and do what is in YOUR best interests.