Ok, let’s dispel a myth: you’re not going to “spot” your next big career move. And it’s certainly not going to find you!
I don’t need to re-enforce just what an important decision a job is. Most people spend well over half their time at work. And its impact on your life is far more wide-reaching than just the hours you spent there. We’ve all come home excited by a recent work success; and vice versa, when we’re unable to stop thinking about a certain problem or deadline at work, well after office hours.
In this article, I want to focus on how to assess just how well a job “fits” you. It’s important you ensure that you are seeing a steady flow of potential opportunities, and also talking to your network. However, this article will hopefully give you a structure to think about whether these jobs would fit with you.
THE FOUR ELEMENTS IN FINDING THE “PERFECT JOB”
We’ve spent a lot of time hearing why people are so excited about the opportunities they’ve found on movemeon, so we wanted to put some of that into writing. And like any good ex-consultant, we came up with a framework!
Having read, and heard from a number of candidates who have recently moved, the “fit” of the new job seems to focus on four elements:
- What are you good at and what do you want to do more of
- What lifestyle balance and compensation do you want
- Where does your experience lie
- What are the macro trends like
WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT AND WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO MORE OF?
If you excel at something, it’s a strength to build on. Like any business, focusing on your strengths and where you’re already performing well, is a great first place. In addition to being something you can perform well at, it’s also typically something you enjoy and thus want to do more of.
As we’ve alluded to before, focusing on skills as opposed to industries or jobs will ensure you don’t cut out potentially relevant roles because the job title is different!
WHAT LIFESTYLE BALANCE AND COMPENSATION DO YOU WANT?
I remember on my first day of consulting, being sat down as a cohort of 20 recent graduates, and being branded as an “insecure overachievers”. We see countless times where this insecurity is guiding people and their decisions. No more so in wanting to earn a certain amount by a certain age.
My advice here is two-fold. Firstly, if you work in an area you are good at, your rewards will come. Secondly, don’t pick a compensation level based on being competitive about a number. Calculate what you want financially in life, and work backwards. More often than not, the actual salary you need, and progression of that salary, is much lower than you think.
A lifestyle typically goes hand in hand with compensation. Decide what’s important to you, and what you’re prepared to sacrifice. It’s also worth noting that lifestyle can change dramatically as you progress in a job, so understanding how your work-life balance will likely evolve as you progress is key.
WHERE DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE LIE
Whilst this won’t always marry well with 1 (where your skills lie), it should always be an important consideration. You are a marketable asset. As such, looking for a job in an industry where you don’t have any will be very hard.
Whilst we would love all businesses to hire based on skills, it’s a lot harder. And typically, the easiest first screen hiring managers and recruitment teams do, is: do they have experience in a similar job or role? It de-risks who they are hiring/ planning to interview.
So whilst sometimes you’ll be looking to move to an area where you have no experience, it will definitely make life harder. If this is the case, MBAs can be very helpful as a route to move into a new industry.
WHAT ARE THE MACRO TRENDS LIKE
A fast-growing company will promote faster, pay better and give you more opportunities. My advice is always to look at a company you want to join as an investment (potentially the most important investment of your life).
To this end:
- What do you think of the product: is it, or can you imagine it being a market leader?
- Do you believe the industry is going to grow as a whole: a great product in a declining industry will struggle to find great growth
- What do you think of the leadership team: do you have faith that they are going to grow
What to do about it
Use these filters as a framework to weigh up potential jobs. As mentioned in the introduction, you need to ensure you’re seeing a steady flow of potential opportunities (movemeon is quite a good place). This framework will then allow you to assess each opportunity on its potential “fit” with you.