Drop us a line, or talk to someone you trust about any career concerns, plan ahead and research to be sure you make the right move
It appears we’re more fickle about our jobs compared with previous generations: most of us will change jobs at least nine times during our career, which is twice as many as our grandparents. But is there such thing as changing jobs too quickly? And how do you know when it’s the right time to move on?
Is it too soon?
There is no rule for when you should or shouldn’t move jobs. But there are certain factors to consider before making that leap. For example, what’s the expected length of service in your industry before changing jobs? This can differ between sectors, job types and even certain levels of seniority. For example, in sales or telesales people tend to move around quite frequently whereas in industries such as construction, it’s likely you’ll be expected to have a good understanding of the sector and that takes time.
If you haven’t been in your job long or it’s your first role then check whether you should stick it out a bit longer. It may pay off in to get more experience under your belt. Maybe it’s a temporary hitch or a case of the January blues that can be easily fixed.
The important question to ask yourself is: “Have you actually shared these concerns with your line manager?” Don’t assume that your boss will know how you are feeling. If this is your first job then your manager may think that you’re getting all the learning and support you need from the senior members in the team. Talk to your manager and make suggestions on how to improve the situation. Are there any internal or external training and development programmes you could go on to learn new skills? Suggest regular, informal catch-ups in addition to formal performance management meetings to help build relations and develop your career. Ask how the business plans to support the next stage in your career and discuss ways to make this happen together.
If the issue is money, look at how much others are paid in similar positions in other organisations and present your case to your manager, including key achievements in your role and main responsibilities to show why your work is worth a pay rise.
You may have already exhausted the options above. If this is the case then now may be the time to move on. However, if you’re moving on after a short period of time in your role then it’s best to be prepared for any interview questions about why you’re switching jobs so soon. Consider your answers carefully so they know you’re serious about your future.
Ensure you’re clear in your own mind why you want to move on and what key things you want from a new job. The clearer you are on your goals then the more confident you will be during an interview and the better you will sell yourself. Don’t be tempted to stray from these goals just for salary or perks, particularly if your main reason for leaving was a lack of training and development. The novelty of a pay rise will soon wear off when your career becomes stagnant again.
If you’re relatively new to your industry then now may be an opportunity to work in another sector if your skills are transferable. This will widen your job search and may even throw up better opportunities to reach your goals or areas you haven’t considered exploring before. Whatever industry you go for, it’s important to consider how this sector may look in, say, 10 years’ time and what opportunities or challenges this could throw up in the future. Is it time to get out of this sector? Are there emerging industries suited to your skills with better career prospects?
Start your search
Once you’re clear on your career goals, now the search can begin. Don’t assume that all jobs will be advertised. Often employers recruit via word of mouth or by headhunting, so build up a network of contacts via trusted ex-colleagues, friends, family and business partners. Let them know in confidence that you’re looking and consider all business contact points. For example, remove any pictures on your social media profile that paint you in a less than positive light, check your career history is up to date and ensure that your personal email address and voicemail appear professional.
Then, once you’ve landed that all important interview, brush up on your interview techniques and rehearse your questions and answers. After all, this could be one of the best and most important moments of your career.