New year, new job, new you. You’ve got your mind set on a better job in 2018 and you’re full of passion, energy and drive to get there. Put your thinking hat on and this time next year you could be happier, healthier and earning more.
If you want to nail your job search you’ll need to get creative and organised. The best planned job searches have strategic thinking behind them. We asked Adam Shapley, senior regional director at Hays, what candidates should be thinking about if they have their sights set on a new job. It’s all about think, think and more think.
The best planned job searches have strategic thinking behind them.
- Think personal. We can all learn, says Shapley. “This is about having an honest look at what you enjoy about what you do today and what you might like to do in your next role.” Take the time to reflect on what did and didn't work well in your last job search. For example, what steps did you take to land the role you’re in now? Could you replicate these steps or improve them further? To get started, think about how much time you dedicated to your job search and the feedback you received as part of the interview process.
- Think creative. “Think ‘what am I going to change here?’,” says Shapley. You’re only limited by your imagination. So turn it around and picture yourself in a job or career you’re passionate about. What are your transferrable skills? What other roles are there at your existing organisation, other organisations and industries? That might mean doing some serious training and development to get there. It could also mean joining the gig economy and doing some temping, contracting or freelancing to build up new skills and contacts. Chat to friends and family and ask them what they think you’re passionate about. Sometimes another view can help steer your thinking in the right direction.
- Think big. Don’t just say: ‘I’m a database administrator or management accountant’. Look at all the possibilities of where database administration or management accounting skills can be used and also where those same skills have taken others. Thinking big is about future proofing your career, says Shapely. Trawl SEEK looking at other jobs in your direct industry or jobs available in other industries. You might just have a lightbulb moment by doing this.
- Think wide. If your job is on the way out don’t worry. If you think wide there is a new job or industry for you. Don’t run into a blank. Leverage all the networks or contacts that you've made in 2017, and over the years. The more people you can contact and mix and mingle with the better. “This isn’t about ‘how many likes I have’,” says Shapley. “Think, ‘who have I met’? And talk to people”. It’s about getting constructive feedback from colleagues, customers and suppliers that you can apply to future roles and opportunities, says Shapley. Get on the phone now and set up some coffee dates with people in your network.
- Think long. Don’t just consider 2018. Give a thought to 2028 and where you might be then. We all need to think way beyond our next move if we're really going to build a successful career. “Do you know what your long-term objective is?” asks Shapley. Turn this into action by creating a written career plan that maps out where you’re headed for the short, medium and long-term and think of baby steps you can take to get you where you want to go.
And finally, take action. Strategic planning coupled with action almost always leads to a new job – often sooner than you think.