Lazy recruiters, both internal and external, often suggest, particularly at this time of year, that it’s a great time to change careers. How and why does a Judeo-Christian holiday equate to being a great time to enter the job market? Unless you have a direct connection to the Almighty, I would suggest a more pragmatic approach would be appropriate. So if you are seriously considering a career change in the new year, here are a few questions to ask before launching yourself into the job market.
Why am I thinking of making a change?
Take some time to write down the reasons why you are even considering the move. Eliminate any emotional responses so your reasons are something that can be addressed. For example, writing, ‘I feel undervalued,’ could be replaced with, ‘The company does not recognise the achievements of its employees.’
What would make me stay?
To further clarify why you are making a move, considering what would make you stay is also very important. Once you have identified these issues, the best advice is to address these with your employer. This is particularly relevant for those people who are considering leaving based solely on salary. If money is the only variable, then it’s critical you have this conversation with your manager before entering the market. If the answer to your salary question is not what you anticipated, then you can make a more informed decision.
Is my new job a completely different career?
Many careers appear exciting or glamorous from the outside but in reality are something completely different. The best advice for anyone considering a complete career change would be to investigate the new career completely. Speak to people currently working in similar roles, or, better still, try to undertake a dry run. Take a holiday and work in the role on a short term basis. It could even be voluntary.
Am I ready?
You should be ready to engage with the job market. Some of the basics include ensuring your CV is up to date and, depending on your personal situation, determining whether you can confirm your qualifications and secure a good reference. In the age of social media, you should change your privacy settings on Linkedin and then expand your network and update your online profile.
Is it the right time?
This does not mean whether it's the festive season! Rather, it's about whether the move from your current employer is the best one for your career. The best example would be leaving in the middle of a critical project, which would be seen externally as unprofessional. The best time would be at the successful completion of a project. Put simply, it's best to leave on a high.