Get into pole position for your next career move
The most popular New Year’s resolutions are probably no surprise to anyone, with getting fit, eating better and looking for a new job all appearing in the top ten in a recent YouGov survey. As the festive season fades, we are all much more focused on becoming the best version of ourselves that we can be. This month, I am looking at how a New Year job search mirrors the process of improving your fitness and how the same principles can apply to both.
Job changes (and new fitness regimes) may become appealing in the early months of a new year following some holiday downtime during which we are able to reflect. But don’t be tripped up before you have started. Take some time to consider whether this is really the right time for you to move on. It is better to set off at a steady pace, considering what is happening in your company, your wider sector and the job market.
Weigh it up
Before you start to look for a new job, review where you are now and where you would like to be after your move. Take the time to reflect on what motivates you. Do you want to earn more money? Is a flexible work-life balance important to you? Then start to research the companies that are most likely to offer the benefits you seek. Energise your contacts to find out what it is like playing for the other team.
Eyes on the prize
All good athletes learn to visualise success. Ask yourself where you want to be in five years’ time. Imagine where you would be living, what your commute would be like, how much time you would spend in the office as opposed to out on the road, or working from home. Think about the tasks and activities you would ideally like to be engaged in, and what you would find exciting about a new opportunity. The best sports people have a target in mind and can really feel what it is like to succeed before they get there.
CV boot camp
As soon as you start your job search campaign, you will need to be ready to present yourself in the best possible light to potential recruiters. Put your CV through its paces, updating it where necessary and cutting out any dead wood. Don’t try and cover everything, and always be mindful of tailoring your resume for the recipient. That means a fresh workout every time you issue it, to tweak the relevance and keep it on target.
No. 1 seed
Becoming the best candidate for any role may involve you in sharpening up your footwork. Think about updating your technical skills, or adding something new to your portfolio, if you think it will add value to a potential employer. Keep yourself in the running by making sure you stand out against the competition.
No one achieves their goals overnight, and securing your next position could involve a long game. Decide on a range of tactics including setting up online job alerts, proactive speculative approaches, and refreshing former contacts. Signing up with a recruitment agency that specialises in your sector will give you the opportunity to put your interview skills to the test, and act on any feedback. This can be particularly useful if you have been with your current employer for a significant period. Set up a realistic timeline for your career goals and keep checking back against the schedule to see how you are doing. The best athletes only win with hard work, dogged determination and consistent discipline.
Five a day
If you’re working full time, job hunting can seem like an additional major project in your busy schedule. Try and take several small steps each day to keep the wheels of your search in motion, even if this is just ten minutes online at lunchtime or a couple of calls out of hours.
Tailor your style to suit the job you want rather than the job you have. Think about what you would wear to an interview and have your clothes dry-cleaned and hanging in the wardrobe ready for a short notice call. Pay attention to personal grooming to help you put your best foot forward.
Make sure that you are punching your weight online. The continuing growth of LinkedIn as a source of background research on candidates means that you will gain points from having a wide, relevant network of contacts, a complete and accurate profile, appropriate photo and clear career history. Widen your appeal by adding details of successful projects, awards and accolades. Proactively request testimonials from your network and encourage them to endorse your skills.
On the podium
Your regime has paid off, and you have landed your ideal job. While considering your offer, you are in a unique position of strength, so use the opportunity to make any requests as part of your contract negotiations. The period after you have accepted a job offer is not a time to reduce your efforts and relax. Make sure you are well organised and on the ball during all the pre-employment stages and put everything into your induction and first few weeks in the job. You may have to pass a probationary period as part of your contract, and in any case, you will want to work hard to impress your new employer during early trials.