You may not want to hear this while you are still in a job search or once you land your new job, but your new job is probably not your last.
The average being quoted for the number of jobs a person will have in a lifetime these days is 12 and the number of careers is 4 in a lifetime.
There are steps you should take while you are employed to make the next transition easier and faster.
Once You Have an Agreement …
- … and start date – take time to celebrate! You deserve it!
- Contact all of the people in your network so they know you have landed. Have them take your market plan off their refrigerators and let them celebrate with you. Thank them for their help regardless of what type and degree of help they gave.
- Prepare for the new job.
Once You Start Your New Job …
- … and you have your new work computer, open a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and start recording your new accomplishments on a daily or weekly basis. Capture the quantifiable data to support these accomplishments. Email this list home on a monthly basis.
- Use this accomplishment list to:
- Keep your accomplishments up to date so you can update your resume for if /when you leave the company
- Give the list to your manager BEFORE he/she has had time to write your annual performance review. Clean up the list (spell check, etc.) and give a copy to your manager with humility. Say you are maintaining this list for you and want to offer it to him/her in case it will help in writing your review. Continue with saying that if he/she doesn’t need it, that is okay since you are maintaining it for you anyway.
- Use this accomplishment list to:
- Update your LinkedIn profile with your new company and position.
On an On-going Basis …
- Maintain your contacts. Stay in touch with people in your network including the contacts you developed during the search. Don’t let the only time you reach out to Uncle Fred be when you are out of a job. After all most of us have caller ID. When Uncle Fred sees that it is you calling, he’ll realize that you must be out of a job again.
- Develop new contacts. Harvey MacKay has a book titled Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. The point of his book is that the same goes for your network. Develop contacts in your new department and in other departments within the company. Continue to network outside of your company as well. It is hard to carve out time to work fulltime, have a life, and attend industry networking events. Think back though to the job search and imagine how much faster you would have found a job had you had an ample network in your industry already in place.
- Maintain your skills. If your company offers training, take it – all of it. If they don’t offer training take it anyway; invest in yourself by paying for your own training. Be sure the training you take increased your marketable skills.
- Continue the good habits and practices you started during the search (regular devotions, exercise, eating right, staying in touch with family, etc.).
- Jim Collins the author of Good to Great gave the following advice to a recent graduate, “Do not spend 5 years getting 2 years worth of experience.” If you have 2 years worth of experience in your current role, ask to take on different responsibilities that will give you a new experience. If you can’t get additional experience in your current role, consider moving to another position within the same company to get new experience. If you can’t move within the company then “move your own cheese” and get a new job at another company.
- Note: This is a change from the philosophy with which Baby Boomers were raised. People who changed jobs every few years were called job hoppers and looked down upon. Now anyone who is at one company for 10+ years is at a disadvantage in the new job market because hiring managers assume they have not developed new skills during that time.
- Maintain your marketing materials especially your accomplishment list as mentioned above. Periodically update your resume, your inventory of education (with all training you have taken including webinars, seminars, extensive self-study) and list of technical skills.
- Stay up on your industry. If your industry is about to fail, be one of the first to get out. If your industry is getting into something new (eg. a new technology) get training in it and then offer to your management to train your peers on it. Say that you don’t know everything but you want to share what you know. This could set you up as the subject matter expert.
- Save between 8 to 12 months of salary for the next transition. Most of us can’t do that all at once. Save a little at a time starting immediately and regularly. According to consumer advocates, saving that much ready cash is a higher priority than saving for retirement.
- Assist others. Remember the job search? There were people who would not give you the time of day. However many people were willing to meet with you, give you leads and contacts and you were grateful for the help you received. You want to be like them. Volunteer at a job networking group, make yourself available to job seekers for informational interviews, share leads and your contacts as appropriate.
Planning Ahead for Your Next Job
Keep your job search engine running so if/when you are in the job market again, it will be an easier and faster process.
If you follow these steps in their entirety you will land the right job.