Changing jobs? Get your ducks in a row first.

ducksDid you know, on average, an individual will change jobs roughly seven times within their professional lifetime? Another interesting fact – New Year’s is one of the two times within a calendar year that an individual is most likely to debate a career/job change. With all of these job changes comes a bit of uncertainty and questioning… Is this the right role for you?  Is there room for you to advance? Is there something out there that would better suite your skill set? Would another opportunity offer you increased opportunities for professional development?

In order to help you sort through the various questions popping into your mind as you consider a change, we have come up with a short list of things to consider before taking the plunge.

  1. Invest in yourself. Understand, from the very beginning, that a job change will require a ton of thought, consideration and patience. Give yourself permission to invest in all of the above; most importantly, give it time.
  2. Get clarity. If it is control over your professional life that you are seeking, it is necessary to then determine what your main motivator and driving goal(s) is. Without knowing what it is you are after, the road to get there will not be easy. Determine the best way to achieve your goals prior to setting out to do so.
  3. Create a plan of action. Create a clear, concise course of action for yourself. Having numerous small steps will keep you motivated and will be more easily attained, as opposed to having only a few very large goals in place. Take the time to create a plan of action, putting into place those small steps. Reaching each small step will continue to provide the motivation needed to get to the next phase, and the one after that.
  4. Focus your energy on the “task”. Finding the best role for you will certainly be a time consuming task. Take initiative when it comes to your job search, maintain your focus and motivation, and be as efficient as you can be.
  5. Gain a full understanding of your strengths. Know what your strengths are so you can capitalize on them. Getting to know yourself – what motivates you, what you are good at and what excites you will serve to build confidence and will allow you to better sell yourself to potential new employers.
  6. Ignite the passion within you to excel. Figure out what role would allow you to be fully passionate about it… and then go for it. Without that passion, it will be hard to maintain your interest and motivation to do the job to the best of your ability. Without that passion, your desire to excel also diminishes.
  7. Know your boundaries. It is okay to voice what does and does not work for you when considering a new role, or even keeping your current one. This is where communication is key. When focusing on the negative aspects of your job, the things that do not work for you, you waste valuable time and energy. Determine what works best for you and allow that to transform your professional life. Find your voice and let it work for you!
  8. Manage and improve existing relationships. Nurture and grow the healthy ones, mend the broken. This is important in any facet of your life. Ensure that you are not burning any bridges upon your exit; don’t leave any loose ties. You never know when someone will reappear in your life, or when you may need them as a reference, etc.
  9. Leverage any connections you may have. Network effectively – get to know individuals within your professional world on a more personal level. Also realize, networking is a two-way street. If an individual does a favor for you by getting you introduced to a decision maker within their company, do not hesitate to help them out in return if/when needed.
  10. Let go of your insecurities. As mentioned previously, job change is often accompanied by a large amount of uncertainty within an individual’s life and therefore, you must learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Don’t let the fear of change or failure prevent you from potentially putting yourself into a better situation.

Source: Chitakasem, N. 2013. “Top 10 things to do before you change jobs”. Undercover Recruiter. Retrieved from: