Are you thinking about changing jobs to give your career a boost? At Amtec, we engage in many conversations with people who hope for something different or better in their next job. We believe that improving your career by making a move is achievable, but it takes a little forethought and strategy.
Before you jump ship, consider what actually constitutes a true career move. Lou Adler, author of The Essential Guide of Hiring and Getting Hired, shares that a career move is “not an ill-defined lateral transfer with a bit more money. In my mind, a true career move involves a 30% non-monetary increase. In this case, the 30% is a combination of job stretch (a bigger job), increased job satisfaction (doing more satisfying work with more impact) and job growth (being in a situation that offers more upside potential).” Adler asserts that, while compensation is not unimportant, it should not be the most important reason you accept a company’s offer.
Scott Kuethen, Amtec’s CEO, recommends that you create a scorecard that’s all about what you want to ensure that your move will actually benefit your career. The scorecard should include four categories that will help you thoroughly evaluate each future opportunity. Your mission is to define your preferences in each category before you begin your job hunt:
Company–What kind of organization do you want to work for? Do you want to work for a big company with a corporate feel, famous brand name, and lots of departments for upward/outward mobility? Or do you prefer a smaller one with a family feel, a place where you can belong and make your mark? Do you want your future employer to produce something important or be instrumental in helping others as well as turning a profit? Do you work better in a company culture that is highly structured or loose? Do you want to be rewarded for taking risks and being innovative, or for closely following the rules? Do you want to stay in a certain industry or diversify?
Opportunity–How do you wish to stretch in your career? Do you desire additional training, development of new skills, or broader experience? Would you like the opportunity to be promoted? Are you looking for a chance to do more meaningful work, or perhaps have less stress on the job?
Boss–Do you work best under a boss who is hands-off and lets you take off running? Have you done your best work while being coached and mentored? Or do you prefer a boss who gives step-by-step instructions and cheers you on? Do you want your manager to give regular feedback and reviews?
Compensation–What compensation are you looking for? Consider more than wage or salary–think about benefits, bonuses, and non-monetary perks such as a shorter commute, company lunches, group activities, casual Fridays, and contributions to charities. For some, a big title is a form of compensation, as is working remotely or having flexible work hours. And some employers offer gym memberships, on-site daycare, or college tuition. It all depends on what matters most to you.
Switching jobs to improve your career can be a great move, but only if you first define what you hope to gain. To set yourself up for success, create a scorecard for your next career move that gives specifics to measure your next job opportunity against. Knowing what you’re searching for is the surest way to size up opportunities, further your career goals, and find the best match.