With the economy continuing to improve, opportunities are on the increase and plenty of those in their first time job have the opportunity to make a career move. But, when should you move, and why should you move? A recent article in Forbes magazine pointed out that even seasoned professionals frequently make poor career choices, so as someone who is relatively new to the job market, what should you look out for and when should you make your move, and for what reasons?
If you’ve only recently graduated and are currently in your first job, it might not be looked upon favourably by future employers if you make a move too soon. It’s a mix of not having gained enough experience, and a possible perception of lack of loyalty. But at the end of the day, it’s your career, and in a market where opportunities are definitely growing, you will likely be faced with the choice of whether to stay or move on.
What to look out for
The prospect of a new job may seem so tempting that many of us can blindly ignore plenty of warning signs that an initially tempting position may be flashing in our faces. Remember, even if you have been offered a new position, try and look past the prospect of purely financial reward and remember that is ok to say no, in many cases it may be a better decision for your career, and your personal welfare.
First, find out as much as you can about the new company. Is it result-driven, or rule-driven? If it’s result-driven, can you match the heavy expectations that could be placed upon you at this stage of your career? If it’s rule-driven can you work in a process based environment? It could be a small or start-up company, which may sound attractive, as you’ll get varied and practical experience, but will you be working for someone who will call you after hours and at weekends and expect you to answer emails at any times of day or night? If you value your personal time, make sure you get a real sense of the culture of the company, and the employer, before you accept the offer. Make sure you ask the questions; ‘what’s a typical workday like?’ and ‘would I be expected to answer emails or take calls in the evening or at weekends?’
If you are joining a large corporate company, consider how this fits in with your long-term career goals, understand the short-term and long-term priorities of the position.
Network and get in touch with someone who you could be working with, find out the reality of day-to-day work there.This ensures that you and your employer have a clear understanding of what is expected of you. Make sure all the details are covered and you’re not in the dark about anything, get everything in writing about your position—whether it is in an offer letter or a contract. You should have your salary, benefits, and other terms and any other terms and conditions on paper before you make a decision. Moving for purely financial reasons is a risk, as it can cloud your judgement, but if the offer is generous, it’s understandable for it to be a driving factor.
Make sure you have room to grow professionally. Will this new job enhance your employability skills and take you further down the road you want to be on? You do not want to take a job only to realise later that it is a stagnant and limited position.
For some, working in a group environment is great and enhances creativity. For others, it is a distraction.
Ultimately, you have to make your own decisions, but use all the supports that are out there, peers, friends, and your careers service. But no matter how much you prepare, you will never know what working somewhere is like until you actually get in the door. However, if you’ve done your research, at least you will know that you’re making a decision armed with the best possible information.