Explore New Directions Wisely

explore new directions wiselyLooking for a new job or pursuing a different position within your current company can be extremely stressful. But the good news is that you, and you alone, are in the pilot’s seat as you navigate the process and final decision. To land with your wheels on the ground, it pays to spend time on career planning. Disciplining yourself to research the options, weigh the pros and cons, and see how any different or developing directions align with your goals should always come before you pound the pavement for something new or toss your hat in the ring for internal positions. Write down your objectives in terms of compensation, interests, potential skill development and other vital career factors. Then use it as your flight plan to boost your odds of more directly and successfully reaching your career destination.

Over the course of my career, I’ve mentored a number of people who needed guidance in charting their direction. Some of these folks were young adults just coming out of college, while others were more seasoned professionals who were looking either to change course or better themselves through a more challenging position. Some of them would look to me for answers, but I would only provide guidance or ask them more questions in response. Why? Because the reality was, that they had the answers within them and simply needed some encouragement and a solid tool (similar to one that we provide in MAP’s executive workshops) for outlining their specific goals. Like a flight plan, they needed something written down, in black and white, to shed light on where they were, where they were going, and how they could get there. Ultimately, this planning tool was based around the three very logical strategies listed below, which you, too, can use for job searching or accessing different, in-house positions.

Invest the Time to Set Your Goals. Carve out a few hours over a weekend and ask: Where do you want to live? What’s your target compensation? Do you prefer a big company or smaller one? Does this benefit my family/loved ones as well as me? Does it require relocating? Does it really challenge me? Answering these and other goal-oriented questions will be enough to propel you forward, which is particularly rewarding if you’ve felt stuck or unsure. Aim to get the fullest picture possible, determining what you want in the short and long-term. The immediate satisfaction you’ll get from this disciplined structure will also come in handy if something quickly pops up. Just pull out your questions/answers and see if your answers align with what’s being offered. Otherwise, next…

Develop Your Search Tactics. Once you’ve written down your goals, you’ll need to analyze what’s required to get what you want. How will you go about pursuing the position? Will you assign the role to someone else such as a recruiter or do the work yourself? If the latter, when will you make time to do it, where can you do it, what needs to happen in order for this to become possible. Also make that list of what your search tactics will or can be. Don’t analyze them just yet, just making that list of possibilities will be a great starting point.

Evaluate Search Tactics Against Your Goals. Now that you’ve identified search tactics, your (possibly long) list may feel a bit overwhelming. After all, with so many ways to search for new jobs or explore potential, upcoming in-house positions, prioritizing them can seem a bit challenging at first. But don’t despair — just choose the search tactics that truly align to your goals, and that will make it all simpler. For example, LinkedIn might be great for connecting with all kinds of potential bosses while handing off your resume (and perhaps your new outline of goals) to a recruiter would likely deliver more limited, yet targeted results.

Once you’re done with this productive planning exercise, you’ll have really set the wheels in motion for reaching your penultimate professional objective — or perhaps even your wildest career dreams. Just taking command and disciplining yourself to create this plan will get you surprisingly closer to achieving new career heights.

What are some additional questions to consider when exploring a new job (internal or otherwise)?

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