There are a couple specific times of year when it is best to look for a new job if you’re going to do it: in the autumn after summer vacations and at the start of a new year after winter holidays. At both of these times, you’re probably well-rested from your own breaks, and hiring managers stand fresh and ready to flesh out their staff. With summer half over, now is a great time to focus if you’re considering a career move. This is a time to figure out an exit strategy from your current company and the story you’ll tell your new one in support of a new job. Based on my role as a senior executive who has built lots of teams and mentored lots of people, I have some advice to share for those who are early- to mid-career and seeking a change. Here are four things to consider as you plot your next career move:
Know your values. Dig deep to consider your purpose. What do you like to do? What brings you fulfillment? When you look at a company, make sure that it reflects your values. A recent study shows that millenials are much more likely to work for a company that they feel has a “higher purpose” or that is working to make the world a better place. Consider the problems that the company to which you’re applying is trying to solve and how that fits with your worldview. Something that matters a great deal to me, personally, is workplace flexibility. As a one-time single parent, it would have been great to be able to use mobile, collaborative tools from the soccer field sidelines instead of having to be chained to my desktop computer. This is part of what motivates me as RingCentral’s EVP of Innovation, as I can bring in tools, like Glip, that will enhance workplace flexibility and make life easier for everyone. That’s a world in which I am excited to invest my time everyday. Likely, there is something similar that drives you. Identify it, and make sure the job/company you seek is in line with what will motivate you to show up eager to work toward that vision every day.
Consider your growth path beyond the job to which you’re applying. You’ve found your perfect job at a company about which you’re very excited. Don’t stop there. Ask yourself: what’s next? You need to know that, as your next job probably isn’t your last job or title. Identify the path beyond the position to which you’re applying. It doesn’t have to be at the same company, even; maybe you’re taking a marketing job at a public company so that you can build experience to then direct marketing efforts at a start-up. Know your path, or at least have some idea of what’s next. Working toward a goal will help to bring out your best work and will help with ongoing motivation during times that it’s hard to find. I love having ambitious employees; complacency is hard to motivate, let alone reward.
Look beyond monetary compensation. We all want to be paid fairly for our work, and hopefully you are considering market rates and such when you’re looking at a job. But money isn’t the end of the story. Company perks need to be factored in: stocks, bonuses, 401ks, food, etc. The other thing you want to consider is opportunity. You might trade a fair amount of money for better opportunities. Think long term.
Seek fit. People make up the company. People are also a product of their environment. Do you want a workplace that eats together and plays together? Are you highly distractible and in need of a cube or an office rather than an open workspace? Do you do your best work on teams or flying solo? You may have found a job that looks perfect on paper — but when you show up to the interview, the space and its people may not be what you need. In that case, return to the first consideration on this list: know your values. Don’t take a job that doesn’t suit you. Spend time getting to know people during your interview process, for you are interviewing them, too, as your prospective future co-workers. If these aren’t people with whom you’ll enjoy spending time, the job isn’t for you. The same goes for the space of the place and your physical working arrangements. It has to fit your needs. Know on what you can compromise, and know what are dealbreakers. Seek the best fit you can in support of your ongoing personal fulfillment.
There are lots of things to consider when looking to make a career move, but these things — your own values, career opportunities, factors beyond compensation, and fit — are the most important things that I consider, and I look for their consideration in the people I hire. If you’re thinking about all of these things, make sure to show it in your interviews. This will help to position you as a thoughtful candidate on an exciting future-focused path, and that’s someone with whom I’d want to work.
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