Bin old advice and make sure that you don’t lose sight of where you’re trying to reach.
If you're thinking of moving jobs this year, you’re not alone. More than a third of UK workers are planning to leave their current position in 2015, according to research from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
While 56 per cent were after a better salary, 59 per cent of those surveyed wanted an opportunity to progress their career. A quarter of people said they’re planning to jump ship because they feel under-appreciated – up 10 per cent from a year ago. And half of people are just looking for a more interesting role.
So aside from updating your CV and cleaning up your social media profiles, what can you do to get ahead, before kicking off the application process?
PEN AND PAPER
Current career and home demands can make motivation and focus difficult when it comes to launching a job hunt. But it’s vital to not lose sight of where you want to get to, however tricky the path looks. As Confucius reportedly said, “when it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
One simple way of helping yourself stay on course is physically reinforcing what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re intending to get there. It may sound daft and overly straightforward, but research suggests that simply writing your goals down can make all the difference.
A study conducted on the 1979 Harvard MBA programme asked students, “have you set clear, written goals for the future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only 3 per cent had, while 13 per cent had goals they hadn’t written down, and 84 per cent had nothing targeted at all. A decade later, those in the 13 per cent group were earning twice as much as the 84 per cent. Astonishingly, the goal-writing 3 per cent were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 per cent of the class.
Another valuable step you can take is honing your interview technique. If you’ve been in your current job for a few years, it’ll be worth brushing up. Writing in the Guardian, Michael Moran, chief executive of career management firm Fairplace, says it’s not enough to skim your CV and rely on off-the-cuff replies.
Spend time researching the interviewer and think about why the firm is hiring. Understanding the organisation’s needs and where you can add value is important, he says. “Look at the challenges and opportunities they face, and work out how to show that your experience and expertise are relevant.”
You can also do a lot worse than to rethink old techniques you may have been taught, suggests Moran. While most people are told to use the 70/30 rule – where you aim to speak for 70 per cent of the time, giving the interviewer 30 per cent – this isn’t ideal. “The smart candidate actually wants a 50/50 dialogue,” he says. That means it’s more likely to play out as a conversation, which you can steer along your line of preference. “The interviewer can only go with what you give them,” he adds.
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP
Finally, make time to ensure you’re in the know. Many jobs, particularly those at higher levels, are announced internally first. If you’re looking to make a move within your own industry, utilise your network to garner information. LinkedIn can be an invaluable resource here, and websites like SimplyHired have tools that enable you to match job openings with your LinkedIn profile – so you can see if any of your connections are at a given company.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to move into a new industry, consider using LinkedIn’s Get Introduced tool, where you ask a current connection to introduce you to one of theirs. You probably can’t put your desire to move on your profile, so building your contact base can do no harm.
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