I don't think I'm a job-hopper. I tend to stay at a company unless there is a reason to move. As long as my boss is good and that paycheck shows up each week -- I'm content to stay.
Still, as contented as I tend to be, I've had to make many job moves. Like everyone else, I've weathered merges and acquisitions, bad management and my job being moved out of the country. So, inevitably, I've had to make a move. And over time, I've learned how to make it less painful and more successful.
First, I had to admit that a majority of jobs are filled by applicants who have the upper hand. They use their connections and their understanding of the company to beat out those randomly responding to a job posting. They use their connections to get to the front of the line.
And where do those connections come from? Their current job of course! These people learned that during the work they do every day with people in their industry, they can build a network of connections for when they need them. And those connections will promote them because they know how great they are.
So, to make the moves that I needed to, I took a different approach, and I'd recommend it to anyone. I realized that we are interviewing for our next job every day. Yes, rather than adding to your LinkedIn connections or researching the want ads just because you need to make a job move -- you should be doing that all the time. If we make it part of what we do every day, we can ensure that our next job moves us in the right direction.
Start with your current job: As you go about your work day, each person you work with may have the opportunity to help you. So, do you work as though you are interviewing for your new job -- show them your best. They will support you and could recommend you for other positions. Eventually, they may move to another company. If your relationship with them is good, they will remember you. And, you will have connections in each one of the companies they go to. It's like planting seeds that will grow and expand your network automatically.
Keep your eye on your industry: Keeping your pulse on your industry and the ebbs-and-flows of job availability will improve your understanding of what's needed to nail your next great position. You'll know what companies are hiring, where you may need to sharpen up your skills, and what skills to highlight to make your next move. In addition, it gets you out of the day-to-day focus on your work, and helps you to see the bigger picture -- your long-term career.
Think like a recruiter: My friend who is a professional recruiter typically has 400 resumes to review on any given day. So part of being a good candidate is making it easy on the recruiter. When a recruiter reaches out to you and it's not a good fit, help them find someone who is. They may remember you next time something comes up. And, if you are a good candidate, make your resume fit the job. Be succinct and to the point.
Use those connections: Interested in making a move? Now is the time to use those connections. When you apply, reach out to them for help. They can often find the hiring manager and get you to the top of that recruiters queue. They also are great for letting you know about positions that aren't being advertised publicly, so be sure to let them know you're looking.
By interviewing for my next job every day, I've been able to build the connections that were there when I needed them. It's allowed me to make great moves and build wonderful work relationships.
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