Thinking about a new job?
You're in the right place.
Whether you are looking for a new job,
thinking about switching careers,
or starting your own business -
our advice can help you make
the right decisions.
Some of the most common questions we get asked are about jobs and careers.
Questions like: "what job is right for me?", "should I change career?" and "when is the right time to start my own business?"
So we've produced a series of guides to answer your questions.
Because work is such a big part of our lives, and the money you make from your job is such an important part of your finances.
Choosing your career path
Step 1. Same level or promotion?
Are you looking for a new job at the same level as your current job? Or do you want a promotion?
According to research, the average time it takes to get a promotion is around 2 years. If you've been waiting longer than that, or you feel like you're ready to take the next leap, then moving to a new job can often get you the promotion faster than if you wait to be promoted at your current workplace. It's often a strange fact of life that it can be harder to persuade your current boss that you should get a pay rise or a promotion, than it is to persuade a stranger. But think of it this way, the company that is specifically hiring for a role is actively looking for someone to do that job, whereas there may be many reasons (wage freezes, a bottleneck of people at the level just above you) why you can't get the promotion with your current employer.
If you are looking to step-up by switching jobs, then remember that you are likely to be competing with people who already have experience doing that role. So it is incredibly important, when writing your CV and updating your LinkedIn profile, to highlight examples of where you have done elements of the higher grade job you're applying for.
- If you took on additional responsibility beyond your job description, make sure to specify the details of what you did and how successful you were
- If you were responsible for managing any team members, explain what you learned and how that would translate to managing a larger team
- If you had senior management experience, such as running a departmental budget, or setting strategy, be sure to describe the value of that to the business
Be mindful of the fact that certain career paths look like a pyramid, where the higher up you get, the fewer jobs there are. So don't be discouraged if at first you have to take a sideways step (or a mezzanine step) to get the promotion that you want. You will often find that it is easier to get a higher grade job in a smaller company, whereas there is more of a steady progression to higher levels of large corporates. So be strategic. If you are not sure whether it makes sense to jump to a smaller company, so you get a bigger title, then ask a recruitment agent for advice. They will be able to tell you whether that move is likely to enhance or hinder your future career moves, if you wanted to come back into a larger company at a later date.
Step 2. What salary should I be getting paid?
There are a number of ways to find out what your new job should pay you.
Use a salary checker. Try this Payscale tool to find out the typical salary for your industry, job title and years of experience.
Ask a recruiter. If you work in an industry that uses recruiters to hire employees, sign up with some agencies and ask them to tell you what the going rate is for your role if you were to switch jobs.
Check job listings. The most obvious way to check salary is to look at some specific job posts for your role in the location you want to work.
Step 3. How to find a new job
- What jobs are available? Start by getting a general sense of what is out there, in terms of the types of roles available in your location and the types of companies that are recruiting. Use one of the popular job search boards, like Monster, Reed or Indeed for this first sweep. You want to get an idea of how many roles are available, before you start to narrow down your search. Once you've found the right keywords and filters that show you the right roles, set job alerts, so that you get the new jobs coming directly to you, and you don't have to repeat your search.
- Match your CV and LinkedIn profile to the roles you want. Now that you've seen some job descriptions that match the type of role you want, time to update your CV and LinkedIn profile to demonstrate your expertise and experience to match these roles. Make sure you turn off your LinkedIn profile notifications - you don't want to send out a news blast to your current boss and colleagues that you're busy updating your profile! See these tips on writing a better LinkedIn profile.
- Sweat your network. A staggering number of people get new jobs through someone they know. And loads of companies give employees bonuses for introducing new talent to the company. So before you start applying to random companies, if you have friends or contacts at companies that you'd like to work for, get in touch and let them know you'd be interested in hearing about any vacancies. Or ask them to put you in touch with either the in-house recruitment team, or the hiring manager in your target team. Most companies are only too happy to hear directly from potential candidates as it saves them a fortune in recruitment fees!
- Use recruitment firms. For certain industries, the only way to access the good jobs is via a recruitment agency. The same is true the more senior you get - you'll find that some jobs are never advertised and are managed only by recruiters. So part of your job is to make friends with some good recruitment agents. How to work with a recruitment agency? Help them by being incredibly clear about the types of role that you want (and be realistic about this - don't expect them to be able to sell you into a role that is several grades above your current one) and respond quickly to any opportunities that they send to you. Do your research on the individual recruiters - find out which industries and clients they work with, to see if you're a good match.
- Sometimes it's a numbers' game. When you are more junior, and in certain types of jobs (sales in particular), finding a new job can feel like a numbers' game. If you go into the process expecting that you may have to send out many, many CVs and hear nothing back from most of them, then at least you'll be prepared for the slog! As you develop more expertise and become more specialised in your field, you'll find that it becomes easier, as fewer people have exactly the same skills as you.