Important questions to ask yourself before moving jobs

If you’re like many of our candidates at Sitka, January is the time of year when you reflect on your career and start thinking about moving on to the next big challenge or quitting your current job for something more motivating and fulfilling.

Looking for a new job is an exciting and exhilarating prospect, but with the time and effort involved it pays to be sure it’s the right time and role to move on to. Asking yourself some questions before you think about jumping ship can save you time, help you find what you’re looking for, and keep your reputation intact.

Here are ten questions we at Sitka recommend you ask yourself before applying for your next job:

1. Have I spoken to my manager?

If you’re experiencing issues or frustrations in your current role, there may be some minor changes your manager can implement now which could have a big impact on your job satisfaction. Waiting for a job offer to discuss them or deciding to stay put after going through the application process can waste time, create hard feelings, and damage your reputation – both internally and with external recruiters and employers. It’s much better to be proactive early on; whether you’re looking to take on greater responsibility, want more constructive feedback or need support managing certain tasks, having a conversation with your manager should definitely be your first port of call.

2. Do I really want to leave my current job?

Some issues can be symptomatic of a particular industry; don’t just cut and run from problems that you would likely experience elsewhere. If you’ve spoken to your manager and are still keen on moving on, ask yourself why. Perhaps you’ve exhausted your opportunities for growth and are genuinely ready for a new challenge? Do you want to take the skills you’ve developed into a new sector that is of particular personal interest to you? Reduce or change your responsibilities for a better work-life balance? You’ll most likely be asked this question at interview, so it pays to have a good, positively framed answer ready.

3. Have I been in my current role long enough?

More and more people are quitting jobs after only one or two years in post (read more on the topic here ). Even if you feel ready to move on, it could damage your long-term career if you job hop too often. To guarantee a strong recommendation from your employer, make sure you’ve given your current role your best shot first; have you fulfilled your objectives, volunteered to take on new projects or requested support from a mentor? If you’ve been in post less than a year but are ready to move on, consider how you will reassure your prospective employer that they’re not at risk of losing you.

4. Does this role fit into my career path?

Before you even consider your next job, you need to review your career goals. Get very clear with yourself exactly which direction you want to steer your career, both in the short and long term. Which industries and organisations would you like to work for? Does this role fit with those goals?  Will it help you to develop a particular skillset or build experience that will lead you to your dream job? If yes, go for it.

5. What appeals to me about this role?

Your answer shouldn’t just be about the salary. Are you genuinely excited about what the role entails?  Be specific: do you admire the company’s approach to customer service? Do you believe you could make a genuine difference to helping them reach their targets? Are they facing a problem that you’re well qualified to solve? No job is entirely perfect, but it’s important to ask yourself if you’d be happy doing the whole job, not just one aspect of it.

6. How can I add value in this role?

Considering whether you’re appropriately qualified is undeniably important when applying to any job; in an ideal world, you should to be able to demonstrate competency against all the criteria. But it’s your added value that employers will be most interested in; the combination of your unique qualifications, experience and personal qualities. What is it that you can bring to the role that no one else can? So if you feel the job is right for you but you don’t meet all the essential criteria, don’t let that put you off: be brave, be confident and focus on your overall value.

7. Am I willing to make the changes this role requires?

While the grass may often appear greener, people can generally be quite resistant to change. If the role involves relocating or a longer commute, are you ready to sign up to that? If there’s a huge change to working hours, how will that fit around your family and outside interests? If it’s in a more risky industry, are you prepared to accept the associated insecurity? Even if there aren’t large or obvious changes, it’ll take at least six months of hard graft to learn the ropes; be sure you’re at a point where you can commit to this.

8. Is the company culture a good personal fit for me?

Cultural fit is one of the top reasons our candidates cite when deciding between accepting and declining a job offer. It’s a good idea to find out as much as you can about the organisation. Do they have a reputation for supporting flexible working or career progression? Will their working practices suit your personality and bring out the best in you? Ultimately, you need to respect and believe in the company’s purpose and their way of doing things. Do their values align with yours? There’s no sense in working for an organisation whose practices you find unethical – make sure you would be proud to promote the company’s products or services.

Here’s a good article with more on the importance of good cultural fit.

9. Is the remuneration package right for me?

A new job doesn’t have to mean a higher salary or even a matched one; you should consider the overall benefits package. Are you willing to take a lower salary if the role offers more annual leave or private healthcare, for example? Do they provide a competitive pension scheme, salary sacrifice options or support for training and conference attendance? You might have an opportunity to gain essential experience that will open doors for you in the future. Perhaps you’d also be content to work for a lower salary if there’s the added motivation to earn bonuses.

10. What do my CV and online profiles say about me?

Once you’re sure that you’re ready to apply, ask yourself whether your CV and online social profiles reflect the image that you want to portray. Can you add anything to your LinkedIn profile – request some fresh recommendations perhaps? Have you got the right privacy settings on your personal Facebook account? Have you tweaked your CV so that it’s relevant to the industry and specification of the role you want to apply to? Prospective employers will look at your CV and social profiles before they even shortlist you, so make sure they are professional and up-to-date.

Making the decision to apply for a new job is an exciting one and something that should be embraced, but asking yourself a few questions before you start the process can help to reassure you that you’re ready, be sure that it’s the right move and lead to a lasting and mutually beneficial employer-employee relationship.

Ita and I know what it’s like to dive into the unknown; when we set up Sitka we took a risk, but it was one we felt passionate about, qualified for and wholly committed to. If you’re ready and keen to make the break to an exciting new role, we’d love to support you. If you work within HR, finance or marketing at management level, please contact us to see how we can help.

To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line