How to Figure Out Your Next Career Move
The desire to change your job can have different motivators: You might be unsatisfied with the current work situation, you want to experience another company culture, or you simply want to do something completely different. Figuring out the next career move can be a very hard and emotional process. The new work, the uncertainty, the possibility to be disappointed, and the fear of starting from the beginning can be overwhelming. This often ends with people sticking to what they have and know: Their current job that they are not satisfied with.
To be totally honest: There is a possibility that you could end up in a new job that you don’t like. Some studies say that on average, 33% of new hires quit their job within the first 6 months. But with a bit of honesty and preparation from your side, you can avoid a lot of mistakes and end up in a job and company you’ll love. Want some advice about your future and possible career move? Let's do it!
1. Be honest to yourself and your future job
I know it sounds tempting to immediately quit a job that you don’t like. But instead of running away, you should aim to run towards something. You need to be true to yourself. Find out what you don’t like in your current job, write it down, and add what you are looking for. If you’re unsure, try to describe what a perfect day would look like to you. You can identify patterns that will help you figure out what you are looking for in a future job.
2. Look for your interests, not the next obvious step
I’ve talked to people that saw just one obvious career path: From developer to senior developer to team lead to engineering director. The truth is that not all of us want to and can manage people. We all have different skills. What are the things that you’re good at? You shouldn’t just look upwards the career ladder for the next steps. I know a lot of people that took a step sidewards and ended up in their dream job. E.g. if you’re currently a programmer and have a passion for improving the product experience you might want to try a product manager role as your next career move. Talk to people in those roles and see if this sounds like something you could thrive in.
3. Invest time in research
The grass is not always greener on the other side. If you’re looking for a job don’t blindly run to the next place. Invest time in researching the company. You may know some people that are currently working at the organisation you’re looking to join, or you might know someone that can make a contact. There are also several online services that reveal some more insights on organisation’s working culture. Be careful with those: The motivation of the overly positive or negative feedback is not always clear. But it can still provide you with a tendency.
Read also the job offer thoroughly. Does it have everything you’re looking for? Are you passionate about the opportunity? Does it miss something important? Are there any red flags?
4. Sometimes opportunities fly by - grab them
Think about it: It’s quite a coincidence when you start looking for a new opportunity that a company offers you exactly your dream job at the same time. This happens quite rarely. It’s a good practice to first figure out what you want and wait until the right job offer is open at a company you envy working for. Be always prepared to send over a current CV or even share your CV openly for companies to discover.
I personally made some unusual career moves and picked jobs that flew by. I wasn’t thinking about changing the job, but the opportunity was so interesting that I couldn’t resist and started the conversation. These were my best career moves. Don’t let a great opportunity fly by just because you think that you’re not ready for it.