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Your Job-Search Action Plan

March 01, 2012
Ken Pelczarski
Career Coach Column, TLT

 

Your Job-Search Action Plan

Explore your motives and proceed with great thought, planning and integrity.

Should you consider changing companies?

On the one hand, even when you are unhappy with your current job, changing jobs should be done with a great deal of thought and planning and not done frequently, indiscriminately, hastily or for the wrong reasons. On the other hand, even when you are happy with your current position, keeping an eye on the job market can provide you with a measuring stick or possibly uncover a unique opportunity that you want to consider seriously. Career success is the sum of your experience, accomplishments, professional relationships, work ethic and job moves. A sensible progression of position changes both within your current company and through switching employers is essential to a successful career.

MAKING THE DECISION

How do you make the decision to change positions?

Make the most of your current job. First and foremost, you need to take care of what you have now (i.e., maximize opportunities within your current company). Without raising eyebrows that you may be job searching, be sure to discuss important job issues with management and look at how your goals and company goals can both be satisfied.

Look at the big picture. Changing jobs should be a well-planned venture and not a reactionary one. Be careful about changing jobs due to a short-term problem at your company, a disagreement with your boss or for simply a small increase in pay.

Evaluate your current company. Look at your company’s history, direction, profitability,
competitive standing, growth plans, resources, financial stability, buyout risk, management style, promotion policies, turnover, morale, work environment and culture. Based on factors important to you, decide if there is likely a better company out there for you.

Change for significant improvements. The key question when considering changing jobs is if you can significantly improve your short-term job satisfaction as well as improve your overall career credentials and potential opportunities down the road. Take a good look at how happy you are now and if you can significantly improve any or all of the following by changing jobs: 

  • Challenge level
  • Responsibility level
  • Day-to-day enjoyment
  • Relative job security
  • Growth pace
  • Recognition and visibility.

Play the percentages. Your job security may be in question because of company unprofitability, potential cutbacks or a rumored or completed buyout/merger. The toughest
decision to make is when there is limited information available. In these instances, you need to acquire as much information as possible from reliable sources to determine the odds of different scenarios occurring. You can then decide if it is wise to explore other employment options.

CREATING THE PLAN

  • Determine your main goals in making a job change.
  • Decide if you will consider relocation.
  • Obtain family support.
  • List specific target companies and fields of interest to you.
  • Identify regular job lead sources you will be using.
  • Team with recommended, trusted recruiters who will work in your interests and maintain confidentiality.
  • List and document your strengths and achievements.
  • Update your resume and cover letter.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Post your resume online depending upon how active your job search is and the level of discretion desired (e.g., Career Builder, Monster, STLE’s Web site Career Center section).
  • Inform references of your job search and request letters of recommendation.
  • Review common interview questions and practice your responses.
  • Recognize allegiance to your current employer by giving 100% effort until you leave, not by using company time for online searching or telephone interviews.
  • Contact professionals in your network to inform them of your goals.
  • Plan to attend industry meetings, trade shows and conferences for networking purposes.
  • Review your non-compete agreement.
  • Research what you’re worth.

A thorough evaluation of your current job combined with a solid job search plan will raise your comfort level in making a firm commitment to switch companies when the right opportunity emerges. It will also ensure that your time spent job searching is well worth it.

Happy hunting!

Ken Pelczarski is owner and founder of Pelichem Associates, a Chicago-based search firm established in 1985 and specializing in the lubricants industry. You can reach Ken at (630) 960-1940 or at pelichem@aol.com.

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