Are you ready to move on to another job?

The Seven Year Itch? Marilyn Monroe found it a bit much
Find a career mentor and don’t get caught up in the day-to-day
When did you last change jobs? We’re all familiar with the phrase “seven year itch” (even in the workplace), and a hyper-connected world does mean careers are more fluid. But are people moving on a lot more frequently now? With unemployment in the UK at a six-year low (6.5 per cent), according to OfficeTeam, career confidence is on the up.
The specialist recruiter has just released a new report on employee churn in the UK. It found that almost a fifth of 18 to 34 years olds stayed in their first job for less than a year. The average, however, is much higher: employees tend to stay with one employer for six years. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said that they would have moved sooner, had it not been for the credit crisis. Indeed, Londoners felt worst affected by recession, with 36 per cent staying in their jobs because they didn’t feel there was enough economic security to leave their current role.
But OfficeTeam thinks that we could be about to see a groundswell of people looking new opportunities. Senior manager Rachel Stockell says: “We are beginning to see a real shift from a buyer’s job market, where employers have a wide choice of candidates, to a seller’s market, where employees can pick and choose. Employers should expect to compete for the best performers, and that includes their existing staff.”

TAKING THE PLUNGE

If you think you are getting itchy feet, it is important to make the distinction between temporary disheartenment and real dissatisfaction. Babson College president and author Leonard Schlesinger emphasises the difference between long and short-term contentment: “When people ask me how things are going, my standard response is that I love what I’m doing, which doesn’t mean I like it on any given day.” But you may have already made up your mind to move – you see no progression from your current role, you’ve toyed with the idea before or you’re consistently underperforming. If that is the case, Stockell has four tips that go beyond the usual advice of updating your LinkedIn and making sure your CV is ready to go out.
First, “go back to basics”. She recommends consulting with a career mentor – someone you can trust – to help you review your skills from a more objective vantage point, picking out things worth highlighting to a future employer. Second, make sure you do your research. While some industries are picking up the hiring pace, others won’t be to the same extent. You’re not in a position to move until you’ve sussed this out. Third, review your salary. Stockell advises using a salary guide to check you’re not batting above (or below) your average. Use them to collate “information on prevailing starting salaries, along with insights into the latest employment trends,” she says. Finally, don’t be afraid to network. “Tell people you are looking for work. Most jobs aren’t advertised, so you need to find a way to uncover the hidden job market.”
And if you’re looking for something to avoid, OfficeTeam flags some absolute no–nos they’ve dealt with, including the cover letter line: “For more details, Google me.”

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