New Year, New Job — key questions to consider before you take the plunge!

So the end of 2017 has been a rather eventful time, in the space of 5 weeks I:

  • left a job
  • started a job
  • handed in my notice
  • left a job
  • interviewed for jobs
  • started a new job

This was a significant personal and professional learning experience for me. As i’ve never started a job somewhere and so early on realised it wasn’t the right fit for me. It ended up with me taking the brave decision to hand in my notice within the first 3 weeks of starting! Given that a lot of people start the New Year with the plan to bag a new job I thought the timing of this post could be helpful for others.

So in the spirit of reflection and sharing learnings I’ve shortlisted 6 key points to consider when making a new move!

Key points to consider when moving job

1.Why do you want to leave your current role?

We can all have gripes about organisational culture, your boss, colleagues and opportunities for promotion. Note these down and be honest with yourself around what it is that you’re not getting from your current job. Distill this down and you’ll get to something simple. For me it was progression and having more involvement with a delivery team.

2. Can you get what you want from your current employer?

Before you hand your notice in, depending on the organisation do consider whether there’s any other opportunity for you to apply for other positions . If its just the job itself, rather than the company then this could still be an option to consider. Larger organisations actually encourage staff to work within different departments. Potentially even a secondment could be an option!

3. Write down what you want from a job

If you know the job and the company isn’t for you anymore, then on reflection what I should have done is write down what I want from a new job and employer.

  • Ask yourself what matters to you in a job? for me it was being able to add value, make an impact/difference and be challenged
  • Once you have a list of some key points, you can then use this list to benchmark potential new opportunities. If it doesn’t match up to what you want then don’t consider it. Or the points can also be useful in an interview to find out more about the company and role.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Following on from the last point, once you know what you want, don’t be afraid to ask for it and to stand by it. Remember an interview is as much about the employer finding out about you, as it is about you finding out about the company and role. On reflection I didn’t feel like I knew enough about the role I was going into and hadn’t asked myself the honest questions about if the job was the right fit for me. One of my favourite questions to ask in an interview is what is your biggest challenge? it gives you a snap shot into what you may be going into! though this relies on the company being honest!

5. Use your networks

When it comes to the next career move, don’t underestimate the power of your networks. I once read a statistic that something like 60% of all jobs are never advertised. If it is indeed this high, then its crucial to speak to people you know and respect in the community and see whether they know of anywhere recruiting? and also what they know of certain companies?

Once i’d started to identify the job wasn’t for me, I took the brave step to post this on a Project Management slack channel and ask for advice from my peers. I can honestly say that the support of my professional community really helped me. Having people who I look up, direct message me and say they’ve had the same thing happen to them was so re-assuring and empowering. Having a professional community around me really helped me make sense of my situation at a really difficult time.

So if you don’t have access to a professional network, i’d really encourage you to find one that works for you.

6. Listen to your gut

My last piece of advice would be don’t ignore your intuition! There’s a lot to be said for how you feel after an interview. Did you get a good impression? when you talk about the opportunity with friends and family do you feel enthused and excited? I once had an interview where I asked the MD why people should work for his company and he couldn’t give me an answer! this told me everything I needed to know and based on that reaction alone it wasn’t a role for me. Don’t force a job if it doesn’t feel right — this is certainly something I had to pay attention to early on and i’m so glad I listened!

I hope there’s some helpful points in here that prove useful when you come to do your next job search.

The good news is, after following all of my advice I landed a job at a company i’ve admired for over 4 years and am very excited to start 2018 at a place where I feel I fit and can make a difference.