5 Tips for job hunting while you’re still employed

Let’s face it! Looking for a job while you are still employed can be a double edged sword. On one hand, having a job makes you more appealing to potential employers while on the other hand, one bad move could get you fired or tarnish your professional reputation. Yet, we also know that you may be holding onto a job that not really what you want, and for that reason, are looking to move. To avoid damage to your reputation, and to safeguard the integrity of your current employer, here are tips to help you get the most out of your job search while you are still employed.

  1. Understand why you want to leave

According to research, your first move should be analyzing why you are thinking of leaving and identify necessary methods to enhance your circumstances in your current job.

Take into consideration what it is about your current  job that makes you want to leave, and whether or not you can make changes to improve the situation. If the answer is no and adjustments are not possible, you should consider leaving the job but this should be done in a quiet, and graceful manner. Once you have made the decision, you should not look back. Go ahead and start hunting for a job that will satisfy your needs and preferences.

2. Set a schedule

Once you have decided to move on with your job change, the next step is to schedule your time wisely. Set time on your calendar every week for the job hunt. This approach will help you stay focused and also ensure that you will have enough time to do other things, especially keeping your current job! Whatever  time of the day you set aside, ensure that it is a time when you are productive and motivated. For instance, if you are a morning person, reserve an hour or two to focus on your job search. If you are efficient in the evenings, set aside an hour to research your target companies. Be aware that it can take several months before you get that new job.

3. Leverage social media

In this era of the internet, social media has become a cherished job search tool. In a survey conducted by Forbes, Facebook was the leading platform for managing a professional social media presence. This was followed by LinkedIn and Instagram came in third. Moreover, the study found that 68% of recruiters agreed that job seekers need a LinkedIn profile to be competitive. In light of this, use social media platforms to learn more about organizations that you are interested in working for. Be aware that your employer is also looking at social media though!

4. Ask for recommendations organically

Truth be told, recommendations are an important part of any job search. However, the time that to ask for them is not when you have one foot out the door. I mean, ask for recommendations early, more so on LinkedIn. Idyllically you should approach people who understand your current occupation and those that can speak intelligently about your capabilities that will matter most to a potential employer. When you get great feedback at work, ask the person if they could put it in writing for you. That way you will have plenty of recommendations when you need them without arousing suspicion that you are about to leave.

This is also the time for you to refresh your CV, and work on answers for common interview questions, like why you want to leave, what your key strengths and achievements are, and what salary you are expecting!  

5. Use your network

According to a study conducted by LiveCareer, the majority of employers believe that referrals from your current workplace are the best when changing jobs. Therefore, reach out to current and past co-workers to find out positions that are available in their companies. Be discreet though, your employer will not want you to be actively looking for a new job, so be selective about who and what you tell.

Though networking and managing a full-time job can be daunting, there are still ways to make it work. If you don’t have the time, set up coffee dates in the morning using virtual meeting tools or in person. Alternatively, you can meet for dinner, lunch, or cocktails to discuss opportunities. Moreover, you should check if any companies or organizations are hosting career fairs and networking events.

Having a mentor as part of your network will help you prepare for the next job interview. Where necessary, have a coach help you with preparing for the interview.

References

  1. Caprino, K. (2016, February 14). The top 10 work situations where honesty is not the best policy. Forbes. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/07/31/the-top-10-work-situations-where-honesty-is-not-the-best-policy/.
  2. Castrillon, C. (2021, March 24). How to use social media to job search. Forbes. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecastrillon/2021/03/24/how-to-use-social-media-to-job-search/.
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228462279_Protean_organizations_Reshaping_work_and_careers_to_retain_female_talent

A beginner’s guide to choosing a career

With thousands of choices to select from, how do you decide which career is right for you?

If you have no idea, choosing a career can seem like a daunting task. Even so, it doesn’t have to be complicated. By following an organized process, you will increase the chances of making the right decision. So, where do you begin? Well, we have curated a guide that will help you choose the right career. Read on to know more.

  1. Assess Yourself

Before choosing a career, you need to learn about yourself. Your soft skills, interests, aptitudes, and values combined with your personality make some occupations a good fit and others  inappropriate. To learn more about yourself, use career tests and self-assessment tools to gather information about your traits and eventually generate a list of occupations that will make you a good fit. If you are not sure about what’s best for you, work with a career coach or other career development professionals who will help you navigate this process well. 

2. Conduct Informational Interviews

Once you have assessed yourself and come up with a list of occupations that will fit you, it is time to start conducting more research. For instance, you can meet with other people who work in these occupations since they will provide you with first hand information regarding these careers. You can also use LinkedIn to find people in similar careers with whom you can conduct informational interviews. By so doing, you will be in a better position to determine whether the career you have in mind is going to meet your needs and preferences. Here we have interviewed different professionals and you may find some useful information.

3. Make Your Career Choice

After conducting research and informational interviews, it will be easier to make a choice. You don’t have to pick the exact job, but the area that you feel best suited to after following the above steps. If you change your mind in the future, you are also allowed to do-overs. Many people do change their career one or two times in their life and you are not an expectation. With the information you have gathered, it will be easier to make the right career changes even if you change you decide to change your career many years later.3.

4.Identify Your Goals

Once you have identified a career that fits you, it is time to identify your long and short-term goals. This will help you chart a course that will eventually land you a job in the field you have chosen. Long-term goals will take you about 3 to 5 years to achieve while short-term ones will take about 6 months to 3 years. An example of short-term goals could be applying for internship programs, apprenticeships, and other training programs. Long-term goals can be advancing your education and training. Either way, your goals should be realistic and achievable.

When identifying goals, let the research you did about the required level of training and education be your guide. Once you have identified all the information you need go ahead and set your goals. 

5.Write a Career Action Plan

Once you have identified your goals, put together a career action plan. This is a written document that lays out the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Think of this as a road map that is designed to take you from one level to another in your career. Therefore, write down all of your long-term and short term goals and identify the necessary steps to achieve each one of them. In so doing, don’t forget to include any anticipated obstacles that could hinder achieving the goals and how you can overcome them.

The Bottom line

This process might sound like lots of work- and it is. However, it will be much easier for you to forge a career path when you know what you are looking for. Taking these steps early in your career will save you a lot of struggle and uncertainties in the long run.

References

  1. Wang, K. (2015, December 10). How to choose a career when you can’t decide. Medium. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from https://medium.com/@kendrickwang/how-to-choose-a-career-when-you-just-can-t-decide-4aa85268a549.
  2. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/steps-to-choosing-career-525506
  3. How to write an action plan to achieve your goals. EDU Effective. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2021, from https://www.edueffective.online/how-to-write-an-action-plan-to-achieve-your-goals/.

Ten Tips to Transition from corporate employee to business owner

As a member of the Corporate Career club,  I had always spoken of my desire to quit the rat race at some point,  although I never really had a plan as to how I would do it. Years before that time,  when I was training to be a coach,  I attended a class called the Business of coaching. I worked on a project that involved developing a business plan for a coaching business:  target customer,  marketing strategy, PR strategy,  pricing models, the works. I thought it would be a pity to waste it so when I was done, I registered a business and operated it as a side hustle from 2010. This proved to be a good decision because 7 years later I became a self employed solo preneur but I wasn’t starting from scratch. Based on my experience of the transition I would like to share ten tips.

To hear me speak about my own transition book a session here .

  1. Recognise the opportunity

Even if you are not thinking of starting your own business, opportunities may present themselves. Take them up, and operate as a side hustle.

Opportunity also refers to the situation that could lead to your transition. If the corporation you are working for is not growing, if similar organisations are downsizing, if the economy is not growing, there is a likelihood that retrenchments are on the table. Don’t be caught unawares. And don’t take it personally if you are let go off. It’s a business decision.

2 Know that it will end.

Whichever way it ends,  it will end, don’t act like you will be there forever. You may choose to go into business for yourself, or the slow down and enjoy your sunset years. Whatever road you would like to take, preparation will ease the transition for you.. Intentional Change theory stipulates  that when a person focuses on his or her  future aspiration it  helps them to consolidate and draw from the resources – psychological, cognitive, neurological, physiological –  that they require in order to achieve that future state.

So, be intentional and articulate your vision for post corporate times as it  will help you make decisions that , combined, ease you into it. You can make certain choices about your investments that will help with passive income,  you can anticipate expenses , like school fees if you still have children in school , and prepare for them; you can spruce up on a skill to help in whatever occupation you look forward to;  you can revive a hobby or register a company;  you can develop the necessary networks for that new occupation. 

3. Borrow with pride.

Corporations have many processes down pat –  from how they generate ideas to how they process them to conclusion, launching new products. How they measure performance,  how they log learnings,  how they develop people,  what indicators they track. You don’t have to start from zero. You can borrow ideas   and learn from what is done.  

Working for yourself means you don’t need permission from many others to do anything, but it helps if you are using tried and tested tools as a foundation. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

There is a caveat here:  be mindful of intellectual property and don’t take anything that you shouldn’t. 

4. Work your networks.

Starting with internal networks it requires that you have good interpersonal relationships. The procurement team can help you identify suppliers that you may need for your new venture,  The finance team can help with Tax information and general bookkeeping. They have contacts with the tax authorities.  Sales people know who buys what and they might just link you up with potential customers. Marketing support for pricing branding and communications could always come in handy. The cake is to come away with a contract from your corporation. This would surely give you a head start so don’t be shy about asking for business whether you’re going into training, cleaning,  making uniforms , producing branded giveaways,  delivering lunch,  or coaching.  But it’s not just internal networks you can leverage external ones as well. Send out a farewell note and tell them what you are transitioning into and that you will call on them to discuss it further. 

5. Create a balanced lifestyle

You may have come across the wheel of life, a tool to help you assess how balanced your life is, or the extent to which you are paying the relevant attention to relevant sectors of your life. The concept of a wheel is  used because of the symbolism of a circle, which encompasses all, hence, life. The idea is that a rounder wheel, meaning a life where you pay the relevant attention to different sectors of your life, makes for a smoother ride. To envision this, imagine a car moving with one flat wheel. It makes for a bumpy ride. Secondly, you want as big a wheel as possible, because it means you can go further with the same effort. To achieve this, you want to score high for everything. 

In many cases work takes up a large portion of your wheel. This means that when you remove that slice you are left with a large gap. What does that mean for your transition from corporate life?

  1. You will need to fill that gap, because a  wheel is round
  2. The bigger the gap, the bigger the replacement needs to be
  3. The more you can draw from existing life sectors the easier it is for you to fill the gap.
  4. If work was everything for you, not having that job means you will be left with nothing
  5. So, develop areas of your life outside work. Build meaningful relationships away from work. Explore the part of your identity that is not dependent on your job title. If that identity is not evident, build it starting now.

Separate your title from who you are. You are probably making decisions, developing strategy, leading innovation, mentoring people etc. These are things you can do away from the job, because this is you, knowledge and skill that you take with you even when you leave the corporation. Do you value it as such? 

You will also take your beliefs – what do you believe about people who have been retrenched? About retirees? This attitude will either hinder you or support you as you transition from corporate. Think about this, because your beliefs about this transition are the single most important factor that will affect how you adjust. 

6. Mind the time

You will have much more unstructured time on your hands than you did before. Create structures that allow you to use it efficiently and effectively. This is not to say you must work 8-5, just be conscious that you may find yourself idle, or rushed to do this and the other, because you might unconsciously relax about managing time, or be too concerned about filling up time. Be aware of your thoughts about time, and create a plan to manage it. 

7. Find your flow

 You will no longer have to work stipulated hours so you can work when you are at your best. It may be morning,  afternoon,  evening or night. it might be for several continuous hours or broken up into phases of the day.   When you are in flow  you are fully immersed, energized,  focused, involved and enjoying whatever you’re doing. That is why choosing what pleases your heart is so important for transitioning from corporate employee  to self employed. 

A caveat here as you relish  your freedom from standard operating procedures you may be tempted to chase many ideas to do everything you did have time for before this can be exhausting so balance your freedom with the good sense developed from working with structure. Because you had a plan, you are confident about what you want so you don’t simply  go for what turns up. That means you are more likely to be in the zone  as you work with what you choose meaning it is more likely to thrive.

8.  Tap into your own talent.  The freedom to be creative is one of the perks working for yourself. You are not limited to the department into which you were hired. Explore skills you didn’t use before, and use them. This may save you money in running your own business. 

9. Maintain Intellectual stimulation. Being in the Cooperative sector forces you to engage with people at a certain intellectual level on a regular basis. If you are not intentional about maintaining this you may find that you have fewer and fewer intellectual engagements  at that  level once you leave the corporate sector .  Such engagements can happen via reading materials, conversations with other people or participation in webinars,  talks or that kind of activity. Studies suggest that brain function declines rapidly when people stop regular work and put up their feet. So whether it is subscriptions to newsletters or magazines, do not give them all up when you move from corporate. If you are not interested in the same things, look for new subscriptions. Keeping up stimulating interpersonal interactions and physical activity as well will help to slow down memory loss. If you work from home be sure you have activities that require you to leave home.

10. Put on a Business owner hat –  First decide – are you after profit or impact? – will you solve a problem (be a painkiller),  improve a situation (be a vitamin) or provide ‘feel good” – be a candy?

Wearing a business hat means  you exercise self discipline and self motivation. It requires self awareness, what are you good at, what are your internal  blocks?  The ability to manage financial highs and lows when you’re running your own business will be handy as you don’t have regular income. Manage boundaries –  when are you working and when are you not? What engagements with family and friends constitute business and which ones constitute friendship . Think about pricing. How do you talk about what you do or what you sell?  Where do you talk about it?  Who is your ideal client or customer? Do you know where to find your ideal consumer or client? 

Running your own business also requires you to take risks –  try out things. It is also important to watch your people skills especially if you are transitioning from a high-level position to running your own business : you may be the director of your own business but you will find that you have to engage directly with people who, in the corporate hierarchy would be many levels below you but they’re not – these are partners,  potential partners, your direct customers ,  service providers –  you need to engage with them positively to support your business. 

To hear me speak about my own transition book a session here .