Any of this sound familiar …… You have been in your job a few years now, it‘s fine, but you could do it in your sleep. You find that you are spending a greater and greater amount of your time surfing the net and you spend so long getting coffee, people are beginning to think you work in the canteen. You think it is time to consider a new challenge – but how do you go about that?
These days the quickest way up the corporate ladder is to change roles at a reasonable speed. Stay in a job long enough to learn everything you can (usually two or three years), but not so long that you become institutionalised and your skills are no longer relevant to a wider market. Although the management team can come to you and offer you a promotion for doing an outstanding job, this usually takes much longer than if you are an active agent in your career progression.
So what can you do to jump start it?
1. Let people know in a subtle way that while you are happy where you are for the moment, you would always be open to discussing your next role, or future career plans.
2. Build on your network, and make it as far reaching as you can.
Do not be cynical or false about this network; include junior as well as senior people, look inside and outside your organisation, or your direct industry. The point of this network is for you to hear about opportunities before the information becomes wide spread – you would be very surprised at the source of that information sometimes.
3. Do up your CV and make sure your online profiles are up-to-date.
4. If you are not on LinkedIn, join it. Potential employers use this to check-up on a person’s credentials before approaching them, to make sure the person has the skills they think they have. Connect with everyone you have worked for and with. It is seen to add some validation to your CV if you have a host of contacts standing ready to verify it.
5. Ask past colleagues and employers for references – not only does this add further weight to your expertise, it makes people aware that you might be looking for a change.
6. Be visible.
Attend conferences, industry talks, speak up at internal meetings, be visible on a project. Do whatever you can to remind people that you are there and you are valuable.
7. Actively apply for new roles.
There is no point in wishing you could have a better job, you have to go out there and find it. Do more than just read Jobs.ie, apply for at least three roles a week. This will get you out there in the market place, and even if you are not shortlisted for the role you apply to, your CV gets to a recruitment agent’s table and they might have another role that would suit you.
8. Consider all roles applicable.
If you have a particular career path in mind, that’s fine, but consider all roads to it. Apply for a job similar to the one you want, but maybe in a different industry – you can learn the skills and move back to your industry of choice bringing a wealth of valuable outsider information and new view-point. Apply for a job that is perhaps a stepping stone to the job that you want (while bearing in mind you will be expected to remain in this stepping stone role for a year or two) – it might be easier to get a step up from here.
9a. Be great at your current role.
High achievers are always the first considered, so aim for the stars. While you are doing this you are also building a solid reputation for being good at what you do and you are building your confidence in your abilities and their worth. This will make you a stronger candidate for promotion.
9b. Don’t be so great that you become irreplaceable.
Build or identify a successor who, if you were to move on, could complete your tasks (albeit without the added sparkle that you bring to the role). A company will not promote you to another unit or department if your current department would fold like a house of cards without you.
10. Don’t be discouraged.
One of the hardest things about looking for the next step is the level of rejection. If it were easy to do people would be promoted every week. It a hard thankless task, that often feels like a second job, until one day that wonderful break comes along – and it’s all looking up from thereon in.
These are our top tips, is there anything that you would add from your experiences?