7 Jan 2014

New Year, New Career...

Happy New Year!  

I usually scoff a little at the media hype surrounding the New Year.  Whether it's a new diet, a new man (or woman) or a new job, apparently now is the time to do it.  As someone who (obviously) works in recruitment, I don't scoff too much at the finding a job bit, but this year, everywhere I look, there is encouragement that this year is the year to find that new opportunity and to fulfil all your dreams. Etc.

Yesterday morning on Sky News, Eamon informed me that in the world of recruitment, it was Massive Monday - the day when many workers kick off the new year by searching online for a career change.  Hmm, I think the Media have called in Massive Monday but it's certainly true that in the period between Christmas and today, I've had a lot of interest from candidates and a lot of updated CVs.

Gone are the days when a job was for life.  For those working in marketing agencies, the average Account Handler stays in their role for two and a half years before they get itchy feet.  New Year is a traditional time to get those itchy feet.  Everyone has spent all their hard earned salary on Christmas presents and the sales and over the holidays, they realise they need a pay rise to be able to pay off their credit cards!  But more seriously, the holidays are a period to switch off and reflect on things and often, that's when people start thinking it's not what they want to be doing.  

The media message yesterday was all about switching career and the (high) number of people choosing to ditch their current role to pursue a dream job.  Sky in particular, had someone who had 'given it all up' to write a novel.  Further questioning revealed that actually, the person was an IT contractor (on a high salary) who'd actually been able to move to a 4 day and then a 3 day week before taking the plunge.  It's not really an option for most people.  I wasn't sure if this person was the best example to demonstrate their point - it was a bit misleading.

My advice to all my candidates is that you should always keep your CV up to date anyway  Talk to a couple of select recruiters and ask them to keep you in mind for anything that comes in under your 'dream job' category. The perfect marketing role seldom comes along when you expect/want it to so it’s worth just keeping an eye out.  This also avoids the ‘desperate sell’of yourself in interviews (often seen by people who are either out of work or very unhappy in their job)

I also recommend to candidates that they evaluate what it is they want out of their job.  Ultimately the majority of us are going to be working now until we’re seventy and each of us have a different equation to formulate the definition of our perfect job.  Usually we’re trying to factor in enjoyment with challenge, exciting clients and projects, some form of progression, reasonable working hours & conditions – all for the highest salary possible.  Different people put different weighting on each of the different criteria and it’s important to have a fair amount of pragmatism in terms of where your priorities are.

It is then important to share your objective with your recruiter and to make them aware where the boundaries are and how much flexibility there is in your criteria.  A good recruiter will then keep you posted over time with various possible roles and it’s up to you as to whether it appeals or not.

As a summary, here’s some good general tips for job hunting:

1.     Look for a job when you’re happy in your current job.
2.     Use a multitude of resources. Find a good recruiter (!), sign up to (relevant) job sites, follow companies who interest you on social media sites.  Treat it like a project.
3.     Make sure your CV is as good as it can be.  For advice on this, run through previous blogs! 
4.     Take your time on application. Avoid the ‘spray and pay’ approach to applications.
5.     Don’t take the first job you see.  Usually this will be a quick fix solution – analyse if you are truly attracted to it or just riled by your current job.

If you do want to do something totally different, obviously you’ve got far more research and analysis to do before you take the plunge.  I’ve seen a few marketers head off and become reflexologists or life coaches....only to return to the job market within 12 months.  Usually due to financial constraints so it is essential to do your own personal financial audit before deciding on a career change. It’s not always easy to return to the job market after time out – although not impossible either. Better to be as sure as you can be before biting the bullet.

If you’d like to have a chat about your career options for 2014 with some practical and objective advice, feel free to give me a buzz!