Deciding to explore new career opportunities is a big decision. After all, it takes a substantial amount of time to update your resume, and to research available positions and prospective employers. Quite frankly, looking for a new position can be a full-time job in itself. Despite the major project that seeking a new job is, millions of professionals do it on a daily basis.
Among those who are looking to make a change, there are commonalities in the reasons why they are discontent with their current positions. According to Deloitte’s September 2012 Talent 2020 ‘Surveying the Talent Paradox From the Employee Perspective’, job-seeking professionals cite the following as their reasons for doing so:
27% - Lack of career progress
22% - New opportunities in the market
22% - Dissatisfaction with manager / supervisor
21% - Lack of challenge
21% - Lack of compensation increase
While the above are all valid reasons for wanting to leave a job, pursuing new opportunities is a serious decision and not one to be taken lightly.
Don’t explore or take a position just because you want to get out of your job. There may be times when you're interested in an opportunity simply because you're looking for a way out of your current position. The new opportunity may seem great at first but it's best to take time to consider if it's really something you want to do and is a step in the direction that is closer to your personal and professional goals.
Don’t explore or take a job just because you’re dissatisfied with your compensation. You've probably heard this advice before. Truly, it's rare that a person is satisfied a few months down the road after taking a new job simply because it gives them more spending money.
Never leave your current job unless you're leaving towards something else. Having a gap in your resume looks suspicious enough. Furthermore, having a resume gap that was self-inflicted can make you seem irresponsible to a prospective employer. In either case, resume gaps are viewed as negative.
Beyond the above recommendations, it's important to understand why you're willing to explore new career opportunities. As executive search consultants, the majority of our candidates are passive job-seekers, meaning they are not actively looking for new roles. That said, there are still reasons why they're willing to pursue an opportunity. Therefore, we spend much time understanding their career motivations, and their ideal role and employer. If they are, in fact, discontent with their current position or employer, we analyze the reasons why. For any professional who may be thinking about a career change, the following is our advice on what to consider before even exploring new opportunities:
What are the responsibilities or challenges of your position that you do not enjoy or make you dissatisfied?
What are the aspects of your role that you do not like? (i.e. co-workers, reporting relationships, compensation)
What are the characteristics of your employer that make you feel like you do not belong there? (i.e. work environment, corporate culture, organizational values and principles, short- and long-term objectives and strategies)
What types of responsibilities and challenges do you enjoy?
What are your skills? What is your expertise?
What do you really want to do with your career? What are your professional goals?
What are your personal goals and what does your career need to offer to support those objectives?
What meaning do you want from your job?
What type of corporate culture do you thrive within? What values and principles does your ideal employer support?
What is your ideal work environment?
What type of organizational structure best supports your work style?
After you have considered all of these elements of a career change, you can feel confident that you're properly prepared to begin updating your resume and looking for positions and organizations that are truly in your best interest. And because you've taken the time to consider these aspects, you will know when a prospective opportunity is really what you're looking for in your career.