Today, the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times during his or her career. Many workers spend five years or less in each job, so they devote more time and energy transitioning from one job to another. Research shows that millennials change jobs even more frequently.
In 2015, LinkedIn prepared a survey in which they measured why people had left their old jobs. Some might suspect that the main reason for changing position is inadequate compensation. However, this is not the case; the primary cause is a lack of possibility for career advancement. Nevertheless, 74 percent of people who changed jobs got a higher salary in their new position.
Taking into consideration the variety of reasons for, as well as, the frequency and gravity of such decisions which shape your future career and sometimes even life, finding an easy way to facilitate the job seeking process is essential.
My job-hunting lifehack
But, how to even begin? How can you maximize your chances for a job that is closer to your expectations?
I will share with you my recipe, which I have created based on my extensive experience gained from my professional journey during which I have changed jobs five times in the last seven years 🙂
Additionally, I’ve used this method each time I’ve started to feel that my job wasn’t good enough and when the feeling that I should search something different and new was slowly overtaking my mind.
This method has also helped more than once me to prepare better for interviews and ask more accurate questions during them. Below I have described my 5 step process.
Step 1: Know where you are
As the first step, I summarize all the pros and cons of my current job and collect possible positive and negative scenarios for my career in my present and future companies. My idea is that this gathered information should help me to understand precisely what my problems and needs are and, by analyzing the data, to take some actions.
To structure my notes, I use the SWOT analysis processes (see video), where I fill in Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. I also broaden my analysis with personal plans and requirements to find a wider perspective. Usually at the beginning, I can only name few features in each category, but as I fill in the form and time goes by, new ideas occur to me and I write them all down.
Step 2: Ask the right questions
As the next step, I rate each of the features and answer the following questions:
- Which strengths are the most important for me and which would I like to find at the new job?
- Which weaknesses are the most annoying to me and which would I like to avoid at the new company?
- What are my future prospects in each company (by rating opportunities and threats)?
Finally, I check whether my strengths and weaknesses are connected to my future career opportunities and threats. As a result of my analysis, I receive a sorted list of each SWOT category according to their calculated importance.
Step 3: Know your priorities
The received results highlight areas that are the most important for me. Some of the rankings in the past have surprised me; e.g. I have often realized that the list of strengths was much longer than I had expected and that, although I could minimize some of the weaknesses, some of them would be still outside my sphere of influence.
With such material, I am ready to begin the process of looking for job offers that will fill my needs.
Step 4: The job offer is only the beginning
From the available open positions I select a couple that look promising. In the next step, I extend my research by searching additional info on LinkedIn about the people that are working in this companies. For example, I check out their seniority, in order to make sure that the turnover level of employees is low. I use Google to dig up for any opinions of current or previous employees about each company and any other proof of activity of the company in the media or conferences.
At this stage, I eliminate some of the companies. For the remaining, I prepare SWOT analyses that summarize the information gathered while researching the Strengths and Weaknesses of each company, as well as all possible positive scenarios (Opportunities) and doubts (Threats).
I compare the results of the SWOT analysis of my current job with other SWOT analyses. After the comparison, I can eliminate more companies. At the end, I send my CV to the remaining companies.
Step 5: Interview
When I receive the invitation for the interview to the chosen company, before the meeting, I collect the questions that arose when I prepared SWOT analysis.
During the interview, I focus on the atmosphere and I try to pose all my questions.
After the meeting, when I come back home, I update the SWOT with the collected information to once again calculate and summarize information about the company.
Finally, based on the gathered information I make a decision.
Whatever my final decision is, I always try to keep in mind that a workplace is where I spend more than one-third of each weekday (it is more than 40 hours a week, more than 170 hours a month, and finally more than 90,000 hours of work over a lifetime!).
The first time I applied for a job my expectations were very low. It was many years ago. I was still a student, and the only thing I was dreaming of was getting that particular job without setting any additional terms.
But as time has gone by, and I’ve become the more experienced, I’ve been more reluctant to change jobs spontaneously. I have started to become more and more aware; I have begun to analyze not only the current situation but also the impact a new job has on both my personal and professional life. The recipe that I have described above is the tangible effect of my evolution. It has helped me to structure and facilitate these difficult decisions, understand my expectations better, and finally, avoid some pretty bad choices. Now, maybe it can also help you too.
Maybe you know some other methods which are useful in finding a better job? Please share your ideas in the comment section. 🙂
PS. You can find a detailed description of the SWOT analysis process here.