January 29, 2018

The Time to Make a Move is Now

The economy is great! There are jobs out there and people are getting hired. Companies are bullish and the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in over a decade.

Everywhere there is hiring - government, healthcare, industry, business, and non-profits. And an added bonus - baby boomers are finally retiring!

When the market is hot- companies have to compete for candidates. Demand drives salaries – especially in high demand fields. Now is the time to negotiate for a higher salary or move from a bad situation to a better job.

Candidates must now decide who they will allow to employ them. Accepting an offer is like getting married. You will spend a lot of time with the people you work with- more time than you will spend with your spouse or important other and more than you will spend with your friends.

It is really important that you consider carefully what you want in a company… Just as you would spend time considering whom you want to marry or live with… You don’t want to move from the frying pan into the fire! Once there is a “ring on your finger” you want to be happy about your decision.

It would be nice if you could carefully compare every other offer you've received. Better yet, it would be nice if you could run a program and let your computer tell you what moves to make next in your life. There are tools to assess the offers. But even in a heated economy making a move requires hard work. Companies are not indiscriminate. It takes way more than a heartbeat and a degree in a high demand field like engineering, business or computer science even in this economy to get noticed. It helps if there is a good match between you and the job and you and the company.

Here is how it will happen. You interview well and come out with an offer. Faced with a decision, what will you do? You have an offer in hand and you have to decide if you really want it? Should you take it? Is it a good match? Does the job fit with your skills and interests? Will you be bored or will you be challenged and excited to go to work each day? Should you keep looking and try to find the perfect job?

I am working with a job seeker who is in a job but wants to move up. He is interviewing, rejecting offers and being rejected. In some cases he is discovering by the time the offer is made it is just not a good fit… Kind of like randomly dating multiple people to find a match. This is a big waste of time.

Making a big life change like moving from your current job to a new job is not easy. Every time you make a decision and choose one course of action, you give up every other choice. It should be a good choice not just a random move.

There is fear and anxiety associated with the possibility you will make the "wrong" choice. If you are going to move forward, you absolutely have to make an informed decision.

As a career counselor, I know that there are three major failures in making a job change.
  1. Failure to do a self-assessment zeroing in on your skills and identifying what you love doing. You need to know your strengths and what you love if you are going to impress an employer.
  2. Failure to assess your preferences and identifying where you would thrive. Will you fit in to the organization? Can you really expect to convince the employer you are a perfect fit if you have not done your homework?
  3. Failure to devote enough time to finding the perfect job. Finding the perfect job is a lot of hard work.
Things to consider when evaluating an offer:

What are your goals and how does this offer fit with your goals. If you have not already done so, make a list of your goals. List long term goals (what do you want to accomplish in the next 5-7 years), and list short term goals (3-5 years). Once you get an offer do a quantitative analysis by scoring each of the pros and cons of the offer on a scale of 0-10 based on how it fits with your goals.

You should also be assessing whether the job you have is working for you at regular intervals. Are you still happy or should you be making a change during this exceedingly good current labor market.

Questions to ask yourself:
  1. Have you explored your options thoroughly?
  2. Is the activity level of your job search sufficient to find what you love?
  3. Do you have enough information to make the decision?
  4. Do you like the work?
  5. Will you be learning something that fits with your interests?
  6. Will you gain valuable experience that you can use for your next move?
  7. Do you have a good chance to succeed?
  8. Will you be challenged?
  9. Could you thrive in the company?
  10. Do you like the people working there?
  11. Do you like your (potential new) manager's style?
  12. How are the money and the benefits? Is it a good move from a financial angle?
  13. Do you know what your other options are? Could you do better? Are you just taking this offer because it is easy?
You've got this!