Before starting to apply for jobs and network, take a step back and ask yourself:

“Why am I looking for a new job? “

You might laugh at me and think, well, that is a straightforward answer, Fran – I am unhappy, I want to earn more, I want a challenge

These are obvious reasons and yes, identify them exactly and write them down. Now for each of those obvious reasons, think about the “why” behind it.

For example:

“I am unhappy in my current job/ company “– What makes you unhappy about the job? What makes you unhappy about the company?

“I want to earn more” – What is your skills level vs market rates? What is your financial goal?

“I want a challenge” – What does that “challenge” look like? What are you looking to gain out of it?

This exercise is important because

  • It helps you understand the current gaps thoroughly and by understanding these gaps, you avoid repeating the same pattern in your new job
  • It helps you form a realistic view of the status quo vs where you want to be
  • It gives clarity to current issues that you can (choose to) address in your current role/company
  • It helps you focus your job search and go after jobs that fit  your priorities

Once you have done this exercise and you understand where your primary motivations lie and what triggered them, use the same strategy towards understanding what is of value to you in your next job and company.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the 3 most important benefits I need to gain by making a job move?

Whether it's monetary, benefits (insurance, etc.) , flexibility, training, different management style,  better work-life balance, access to blue chip clients, etc. – identify precisely what benefits YOU are looking to gain when moving jobs.

These 3 should be your non – negotiables when job searching and interviewing. Meaning that if a new job/company fails in these areas, you must realistically reconsider the job/company to ensure that it is still worth for you and sustainable for you long term. In some cases, it could still be that 1 benefit is significantly out of the average value range and offsets the loss of the other 2, but this is something that is quite subjective and important for you to re-evaluate to ensure that you are still satisfied with the compromise.

  • What are the 3 “nice to have” benefits I would like to gain by making a job move?

It could be parking, free coffees, pets in the office – small things that make you happy but are not a deal breaker.

This exercise is useful if you are confronted with 2 similar offers, and you need to work out differentiating factors.

  • What is a deal breaker for me?

You absolutely must identify “Deal breakers” – again, a very subjective matter. But for example, if in the first question you identified “flexibility” and the job has none, you must ask yourself how realistic is sustaining this over the long term.

Do not ignore “soft areas” , like communication style, interview style – for example – let's say you go for an interview and the interviewer is aggressive – if this is an absolute “ no  no “ for you from a personal communication point of view, it's probably a good idea to re-evaluate whether you want that job or not.

Now that you have a good idea of your motivations and what you are after, to minimize applying to jobs that are unsuitable and going for endless interviews that make no sense for you, it's time to morph into “ selling” mode.

That means, presenting your professional skills to potential employers in a way that highlights your value and serves as a foundation for salary negotiation.

And also, it's a great confidence booster for yourself when you realise how amazing you are 😊

Ask yourself:

  1. “What tangible value do I bring to an employer? “

This is designed to extract your skills that are relevant to the roles. This will serve you as an excellent base for interviews as well, when you inevitably asked “Tell me about yourself” or some version of this question.

List your capabilities from a responsibilities perspective and what value that creates for the employer.

For example:

“ Responsible for VAT Returns ”  = Hands-on experience in VAT returns for Art. 10, 11 ( etc. ) / recapitulative statements / etc. – broaden the scope so it gives more scope to the skill, advising clients/ company on VAT liabilities and changes in legislation

Created value = Through my experience with VAT returns for Art 10 [ …… ] I can confidently handle this part of the role, meaning that very little training will be necessary (other than familiarity with company/client particulars) from your end as an employer, whilst also not disrupting the flow of service to clients/company, ensuring that the work continues to be done on time and to standard and the company will not file late or lose clients.

This is an intentionally simplistic and obvious example, so it helps you transform your experience in values.

  1. “What soft value do I bring to an employer? “

Severely underrated, yet highly important, are soft skills. For example, let's say you have great diplomacy skills.

This is of a huge advantage to employers because through your diplomacy skills, you can contain conflict efficiently and bring people together – this is particularly critical in high pressured roles or roles that require a lot of people communication/management.

Once you have completed these exercises, hopefully, you will have a clearer idea of what value you are looking to gain and in return, what value you will be giving back, so in your next job you don't feel:

  • Undervalued
  • Underutilized
  • Not aligned with management
  • Stuck

FM Search partners with businesses at different stages, to help them access specific skills in highly competitive markets, as painless and as quickly as possible, without compromising on quality. Visit www.fmsearch.eu for further information

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.