Over recent times in working with many individuals who are preparing and planning to make a career transition and, particularly amongst expatriates looking at some point to move between locations or back “home”, there is a recurring question that we are frequently asked:
“When should I start planning and preparing for my next significant career move?”
Well, perhaps predictably our response invariably is “it’s never too soon”.
Individuals that we regularly meet who are most successful at translating their intention to make a major job move into action, are invariably in a constant state of readiness.
But you may well ask “surely if I have just moved into a new role, then the last thing I want to be doing is thinking about my next role”. Well, of course, in these circumstances, your major concentration will be upon delivering success in your new current role. However there are a number of reasons why it might, even in this situation, be wise to start investing some of your marginal time in thinking about what might lie beyond your current assignment:
▶️ Change and unpredictability - none of us in this day and age can be totally certain that the status of our current role might not suddenly change, requiring us to move quickly into action. Restructuring, mergers, take-overs or economic downturn are all very real and common factors in today’s business environment. We cannot afford to ever become too comfortable or complacent. Even a change of immediate boss (regrettably) can sometimes pitch us from a state of relative stability into one of turmoil and a desire to move on.
▶️ Confidence & Choice - even though we have no immediate intention of enacting a career move and we know that our current role is under no real threat, the very act of thinking through what we might do next, where we might do it and when has a major confidence boosting effect on our performance in our current role. Having a well worked out plan of “what next” makes us feel more in control of our destiny because we have given ourselves important choices about how we might deal with the situation should we find ourselves suddenly in a position where we have to move on.
▶️ Competition - wherever you are in the world, the different jobs markets for very talented people are ever-more competitive. Staying connected with different job markets and key players in those markets ahead of when you might actually need to proactively use them, is ever more essential and nowhere more so than when you are thinking at some point of moving between international locations.
So what have we learned from those individuals who are excellent “job winners” who can readily and quickly move into action to secure a new career role. This is what we have observed that they do most often and most consistently that each of us could readily apply to ourselves:
🔹 Networking - constantly look to refresh and update your network of contacts and have a strong sense of who the priority contacts are to reach out too when and if you need to enact an important job move.
🔹 Recruitment Firms - make contact with and stay in regular touch with the various agencies and headhunters in your chosen specialisms and in different locations. Strong early relationships forged with key recruitment specialists make it so much easier to proactively seek out opportunities when the time is right.
🔹 Goals & Aspirations - develop over time a strong sense of what it is that you really want to do next, where and why and then review, adapt and regularly update this thinking as circumstances and experiences change. The more focused you as an individual can become on “what next” ahead of time, then the easier it will be to translate this into action when the moment eventually arises.
🔹 Investing Time - dedicate “little but often” periods of time to focus specifically upon your career and plans for the future. Treat your career as if you were going to the gym or spending time on a hobby each week. Serial job winners will spend regular dedicated time on thinking and working on their career development. Even with a very busy job, is it too much to ask to find a minimum of 30 mins time each week to invest on your own future career path?
🔹 Seek Early Help - find yourself a trusted coach or speaking partner with whom you can regularly check in, discuss your thoughts and help you critique your future plans. And remember... it really is never too soon to start.
As career transition specialists, if you think we might be able to help you prepare, plan and execute your next career move, please contact us in the first instance at firstname.lastname@example.org