Managing Your Career

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What is the right job for your now?

The Impact Executive candidate advice pages are provided on the assumption that you have entered the workforce, have accumulated work experience and have reached the point where you feel that it is time to take the next step in your career.

When is it the right time or wrong time to move on?

The right time to move on is when you feel that you need to develop to the next level needed to advance your career to your ultimate goal and you are convinced that the opportunity to do so is not available in your current company. Alternatively you may feel that you want to change industries and/or occupations, seek a ‘sea change’ or move to another state or city for a range of reasons.

The wrong time to make a career move is when you are under pressure or you are disillusioned with your role or company. That is, when the ‘push’ factors causing you to make a decision to leave your current company have overpowered the career ‘pull’ factors drawing you on to the next logical and sensible career step.

When you are under pressure to make a move, you severely limit your choices and your time frame. Under these conditions you can be forced for financial reasons into taking the next job available rather than the right next job for you. Experienced recruiters have heard many times “I took this job as an interim measure until I could find the right role.”

On occasions you genuinely have no say in when you need to seek another position. Company failures and restructures force redundancies on good and loyal employees who enjoyed their job and their company. In these situations most recruiters and potential employers understand your position. However, a candidate in this position still needs to have a very clear view of what he or she has to offer as a potential employee, their career goals and the style of company they would like to work for. Therefore all the following candidate advice in this part of the Impact Executive website applies.

What are the right reasons for taking the next career step?

Whenever you change your company and your job you are making a critical choice and an investment in your future. You are also taking a risk, the downside of which is that you will spend valuable time in the next company and position you accept which you cannot recover; valuable time which you will spend developing (or failing to develop) new skills and your existing skills to higher levels; being trained (or failing to be trained); and being mentored (or failing to be mentored) by managers with widely varying leadership and management skills and with vastly different communication skills (particularly listening skills) and interest in their people.

It is therefore essential that you have a clear vision before seeking a new position and company that you understand what you are seeking in:

  • The type of industry or industries you want to work in;
  • Job type and position responsibilities;
  • Company style and culture. Are you seeking a large, multi divisional company with clear and proven policies in the areas of staff training, development and career planning and progression or a small company with less structure, which offers higher levels of independence and the opportunity to build a close relationship with the Managing Director? Alternatively you may be seeking to demonstrate your ability to help a company turn its performance around or to provide world class customer service in a secure multinational business for which leading edge customer service is a crucial;
  • Team culture, that is the level of individual and team interaction;
  • The management style and personal style of the person to whom you’ll be reporting.

Read the Book “What Color is Your Parachute?

Whether you are changing jobs or not, one of the most constructive things you can do if you are serious about understanding yourself at work and using your personality, your skills and your experience to draw the highest possible levels of job satisfaction and rewards and from the forty years or more you spend at work, is to read the excellent publication, “What Color is Your Parachute?” Be sure to maximise the available benefits by completing all the exercises.

“What Color Is Your Parachute?” was written by Richard Bolles in the early 1970’s. The book has sold millions of copies as it successfully meets the majority of the needs of most jobseekers. “What Color Is Your Parachute?” is updated every year.

Simply put, the book is in two parts.

One part lays out a road map of what to do and what not to do when seeking a new position. It does this without being a “quick fix” by offering endless tips. Rather, it addresses the various options available to most jobseekers and helps you plan a much more targeted approach to seeking employment/re-employment. We believe that this section is based on the premise “that it is often not the best person who gets the job, often it is the person who is best at getting the job that gets the job.”

The other part is a series of exercises. Unfortunately, most people who buy the book do not complete the exercises. The exercises are based on the premise that what you do best is what you like most, and what you like most is what you do best. Sadly, for many of us, what we like and what we do are too often separate things. By completing the exercises, you will be in a much better position to decide whether a company or position is suitable to you, and if so, be able to quite clearly articulate to others the skills and attributes of relevance that you have to offer.

The author recommends that you cease all job search activities until you have read the book and completed the exercises. This may be a little drastic, however we would encourage anybody who undertakes to read the book and complete the exercises to set out a timeframe in which they would do so. In total, you will need 30 to 40 hours to do both. When you have read the book and completed the exercises, you will have undertaken many exercises that are similar to some of the quite expensive outplacement programs available in the marketplace.

Is the time worth it? Well; many people will spend 40 hours planning their annual holidays this year; so is it worth committing 40 hours that may have a profound and long-term impact on your career? That is a decision that only you can make.

The book is published by 10 Speed Press and is available at all leading bookstores.