You’ve seen the statistics: over the course of our careers, we move around (jobs and companies) way more than we used to. Most of us were not taught the skills needed to change jobs successfully, so we often learn them out of necessity, in real time, during a job change.
When it comes to what’s needed for a successful job change, I see the same gaps over and over. These are the essential skills you need to successfully navigate a job change.
Become the expert on YOU
Some of you are cringing. I get it. Honestly though, what’s that quote about how an unexamined life is not worth living?
If you’re my reader, you’re probably already sold on self-awareness. Cheers to that. Because being genuinely curious about YOURSELF – what keeps you going, what gets you excited, what you want, why you want it, how you’re going to get out of your own way to get it, and so on, is a gift.
Contrary to traditional rhetoric, employers today actually want to know who you are. Before you can explain that to them, you need to figure it out for yourself.
And then, you need to communicate it effectively. From writing your LinkedIn profile to writing cold emails to expand your network, or the thank you note after meeting someone new – writing is important.
Even more important, is being able to tell a coherent story during an interview – i.e., what you’ve done in your past roles, how you operate, where your strengths lie, and what your plans are for your future.
Again and again, I see people over-preparing on researching the company they’re applying for, and under-preparing on practicing their actual interview skills. Even if you’re super confident and extroverted, the interview is an important conversation that warrants careful preparation. Most of us could use more practice.
Companies don’t hire skills and experiences. Human beings hire human beings. Figuring out the best and most authentic way for you to create relationships, and nurture them over time, will serve you well.
Maybe you’re a regular coffee date type of person, maybe you like email updates, maybe you’re comfortable with out-of-the-blue reach-outs when you think someone in your network can help you. Do what works for you, but do something to maintain and expand your network.
Being good at “what you do” is completely separate from being good at changing jobs. However, being good at “what you do” – and knowing it – really helps during a job change.
This one can feel like a paradox, because many people reach the point of job change only after they’ve suffered a major setback to their confidence – being consistently overlooked for development opportunities where they are, for example – or being terminated for whatever reason – or just feeling like there’s nowhere to go from here.
Take heart. Take time to review your accomplishments, write down all the great work you’ve done in your current and past jobs, consider the positive feedback you’ve received over the years (keep it in a place where you can find and review it!). And do everything you can to feel good and generate the energy you need to show up with confidence in your job search.
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