So, You’ve Outgrown Your Job…What’s Your Next Move?
In 2013, Gallup released their report: The State of the American Workplace, the report noted that “70% of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or actively disengaged.’” Chances are if you have become emotionally detached from your employer or the work that you do; you might be a part of the group mentioned in the report. Becoming disengaged at work could have occurred for a variety reason such as: feeling underutilized, unappreciated, overworked and underpaid, or any other reason for that matter. Once you have come to the realization that you may have outgrown your job, what is your next move going to be?
Identify Your Disengagement Factors
Identifying the root cause of your unhappiness at work is going to be the first step in moving your career toward a more satisfactory direction. While you may have to do some internal thinking to be able to identify the root cause of your unhappiness, the good news is; it probably won’t entail any deep soul searching and even better yet: no expensive therapists bills!
Like most workers, different employment factors will motivate us in different ways. Whether it is compensation, your relationship with your manager, or lack of development opportunities, figuring out what factors are missing from your employment relationship will help you formulate your job search strategy.
Create a Strategy That Works For You
In the Art Of War, Sun Tzu writes, “know your enemy and know yourself.” Now that you have taken some time to identify your disengagement factors, you have also had the opportunity to better understand what motivates you as an employee. The factors that you have identified will help you answer this one simple question: do you stay, or do you go?
Regardless of your disengagement factor, moving into a new position or role is most likely your intended outcome. If you decide that you like where you are currently working, but need a more challenging role; going for a promotion or perhaps changing departments may be your best bet for a more fulfilling employment relationship. If you have already gone that route and have been passed up for a promotion or denied a transfer(which may be one of your disengagement factors), your choices have been narrowed for you and it’s time to starting looking outward.
Building Your Persona
Simply stated, your “persona” is how you come across to others. Your “persona” is going to play a big role in your ability to make an upward or lateral move internally. At minimum, you should be able to demonstrate the following:
- Professionalism – this is an essential piece at all stages of the game; from getting employed to staying employed.
- Competence – your current employer should be confident in your ability to do the job your looking to move into.
- Your ability to add value –your work needs to be able to add value not only to your team; but also to your organization as a whole.
In addition to some of your hard skills (degree, certificates, etc.) being able to equally demonstrate a mastery of soft skills such as: professional communication and the ability to work well with others will help you stand out above the rest. If you’re looking to move into a management position, team building will be a good soft skill to begin developing early on.
Starting Your Job Search
For those of you who decide that an external move will be in your best interests, starting a job search can seem like a daunting task. Your first step should be to dust off your resume, update it (you want to make sure your resume sells you and your skills), and get it out to prospective employers. Here are some tipsto preparing your resume:
- Ensure that your resume contains keywords and value added statements that target the industry or position you are applying for.
- Have your resume critiqued by a professional (or at least two people you trust will know what they’re talking about).
- Post your resume to job boards and be sure to refresh postings often.
- Avoid using resume blast services.
Networking will be another piece to your job search puzzle. According to statistics from the BLS: 80-85% of all jobs are never advertised! Building your professional network may help you land your next dream job by opening up a hidden job market to you. The great thing about networking is that everyone can do it; talk to your family, friends and acquaintances about your employment goals and interests. Joining professional organizations, attending industry events, and volunteering are also great ways to build your network.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Social Media and the impact that it can have on your job search. Today, more and more recruiters have been using social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to delve into a larger talent pool. Remember, with great connectivity comes great responsibility. Your use of social media becomes an extension of your “persona” online, be sure to share wisely! Any inappropriate material such as: illegal drug activity, sexually explicit content, racist material, or any other illegal activity should probably come off your social media sites.
Get Prepared For Your Next Job
There may be a large amount of time in between the time you come to the realization that you are unhappy with your work situation till the moment you start in your new role. Use that time wisely and step up your professional development. Take the initiative to begin developing some of the soft skills that may be an area of opportunity for you, such as your communication style, or your critical thinking ability.
Most professional associations offer conferences and seminars to their members, however; you do not need to be a part of an association to develop your soft skills. Reading industry blogs, publications, or books authored by those in your field of interest are also a great resource. Many organizations also offer online learning or E-learning platforms that can be accessed virtually anywhere, at anytime.
Now that you are armed with a better understanding of who you are, the drivers that motivate you and the processes to get to where you want to be, the one question that remains to be asked is: what is your next move going to be?