How to plan your next career move in 7 steps

Making a career move can feel like a minefield. Where should you start? Is there a 'best practice'? Allow me to guide you in my learned 7 steps.

How to plan your next career move in 7 steps

Making a career move can feel like a minefield. Where should you start? Is there a 'best practice'? Allow me to guide you in my learned 7 steps.

Introduction

Making your next career move can be difficult if you have been loyal to a company for many years. It can also be difficult if it is thrust upon you and you do not feel ‘ready’.

Much like having a baby, I don’t think you can ever be fully ready to move on, regardless of who’s choice it is or the circumstances.

Depending on who’s choice the career move is, the organisation and application process, the move can take months or even years.

If your role has been made redundant and therefore the move is thrust upon you, you may well get outplacement support. But even with this in place, the journey may be left to you to navigate and the resources and support ‘available’ are for you to pull from.

If you are secure in a role, and want to see what or where the next step could be, you may be looking internally or externally.

Whatever the drive for change, we can still approach it in the same manner. Only timescales may be a factor.

My Personal Experience

In my career, my role has been made redundant twice. And I am deliberate in pointing out here that it is the ROLE that is redundant, not the person. 

For me, this is a key mindset to be in. Redundancy can feel personal which can seriously affect progress during the change. So remembering it is the role and not you will help you remain positive and forward looking.

Now back to my story.

The first redundancy happened not long after I had finished my apprenticeship. I had come out of my ‘time’ into a technical role, measuring sound and vibration on steam turbines. I took the role after I was hand-picked out of the apprentices in my year. I was flattered. And I could not do it all on day one. So I told myself it was an opportunity to learn as I developed into the role. I wouldn’t get bored.

Whilst I thought this was a cool plan, it backfired when the team needed to reduce due to cost. I knew the least so I was less cost effective in the team. Having not long finished my apprenticeship, I did not want to leave the company, so I started to look around. 

I used my network. I spoke to people. And, via one of these conversations, I came across a short term contract in a Project Management department. I decided I wanted to give it a go. So I spoke to the leadership and thankfully I was accepted into the role.

That was in the late 1990’s and I moved through many more jobs, without redundancy, until this year.

In April 2021 I had moved to a new role, into a different type of job from that which I had done previously. And as time went on, I was making my own way, improving the parts that were the most painful and enjoying the challenge. Then in July this year, restructuring was announced.

I chose to leave the company altogether. Leave behind 27 years and venture out to see what lay beyond the 4 walls of my ‘life long’ service.

I can tell you it took a while to hone my skill and it took a while to get back up to speed with the application game.

What I will share next is the process I suggest you follow, if you land in the same space or get to make a career move by choice.

Hoe to make a career move in 7 steps

In 7 steps, this is what I learned

  1. Finances

In order to make a career move, you need to know where you are financially. If you are making a career move by choice, consider how much you are currently being paid, can you survive with less? Make cuts for the better? Make changes to save money? Can you sell things to make money? How much do you need to survive vs. thrive? 

If you have to have a gap in service, can you cope financially?

If you are made redundant, consider how much your severance pay will be. If it is ‘substantial’, how does it affect your tax payments for the remainder of the tax year? Can you shift some of the payment to your pension ahead of the final payment being made to reduce tax being paid? Do you get any financial advice as part of the outplacement support?

Remember also to cash in on any benefits or awards you have been granted ahead of your leave date.

Finally, look into any job seekers’ financial support you can get from your country while you are making the transition.

  1. Self

Take the time to reflect. Reflect on you as an individual, on your likes, dislikes, values and preferences. Consider the work in which you thrive. 

A career move is a chance to do something different or be more specific as to where you want to specialise. It is time to be selfish and serve you first.

Take feedback from others as to your personality, your skills, what they like about working with you.

Build a picture of you from their point of view, then enhance it or remodel it to suit the kinds of roles you are interested in.

You could even take online tests to understand yourself better or career moves you may not have thought of, such as ‘The Career Test‘.

You may know yourself, but selling yourself can be a whole different story, trust me!

  1. Environment

When thinking of making your next career move, consider HOW you change. It can be advisable to move within the same company when you are looking to change career focus (I.e. from Sales to Product Management for example). 

Staying within an organisation, with people who know you and can see the potential in you, is a safer way of being able to move from one type of role to another. It can feel like less of a risk.

If you are wanting to leave the organisation, your most recent role and experience can help to drive the power and speed in a move externally, as well as provide you with up to date references.

Making your next career move to a different role externally can be a lot harder as hiring managers do not know you, your strengths and transferable skills. Your CV and cover letter may also not easily cover that kind of experience. Be mindful of where you can network to support such a career move. It is possible, but needs more time and effort.

Take time to consider the culture and structure of the type of organisation you want to move to. If there is opportunity to progress further, should you be interested.

  1. Possibilities

Internal or external is only a part of the decision to make a next career move. You could work for yourself, starting your own business. You could go back into education. You could volunteer and give back. You could take a gap year.

Consider your transferable skills and where they may also take you. 

Ask others for feedback and see if they bring new ideas that you had not thought of.

Look into the market and see what is out there, there may also be roles that sound different, challenging and will invigorate you.

  1. Research

Research into companies you may wish to work for. Consider their market presence, reports on performance, current news items and employee reviews.

Research into the kinds of qualifications and attributes are looked for relating to particular roles.

Research into keywords that the computer systems will look for on your CV and cover letter related to that particular role.

Research into the format of CV to pass through the computer system checks and those that will stand out if applying in person.

Research into yourself and the skills / qualities you have that will make you successful in the new role (and potentially where you would need support / development).

  1. Network

I will tell you, this is the strongest card you can play. Use the people you know to help you find new opportunities, get recommended and also get in ahead of roles being advertised. 

Exploit every network you are in. Work, other organisations, where you studied, where you have volunteered, family, friends, neighbours, even parents at the school where your children go or in the clubs they belong to.

You really do not know who you know and who they know until you ask. Leave no opportunity untouched.

Consider those that may have left the organisation ahead of you and can support a move to the same company they have moved to.

If you are given outplacement support as part of a redundancy situation, network with others in the same position as you. They may have learned other things that will help you, as well as having a network of their own.

  1. Study

When making a career move, it can be good to refresh your knowledge and skills around your current role. To be able to speak to current terminology and brush up on the processes/methods utilised.

When you are looking to make your next career move to a different role, there may also be a need to study to become qualified for the next role.

It can be particularly useful to show on social media (such as LinkedIn) that you are focused on the skills and knowledge you need going forward.

The 6 stage plan

My tried and tested 6 stage programme was built based on my own experience moving roles within an organisation. My experience this year has further enhanced my skills and enabled me to develop a process that I share with my clients related to making this next career move, and making the work more effective.

The programme takes you through stages of knowing yourself, assessing your ‘current state’, looking towards a ‘future state’ and then assessing the steps and plan to bridge the gap. 

By knowing yourself, building the confidence to reach out to those who can help influence your career, leaving no possibility ignored, no stone unturned and nothing to chance, YOU are working on yourself. On your next career move. You are showing the universe what you want and you are not leaving it to chance that it will be delivered.

So you can see the connection with making a career move and how this is deeply woven into the fabric of the programme.

The beauty of this programme is that anyone can use it to guide them to be happier at work, to change their career or to even retire!

Conclusion

So, if you are looking to plan a career move or manage through a redundancy situation, why not get in touch, save yourself the hassle I had of navigating a path out of this. Allow me to help fast track you to this positive, confident and happy place I now find myself in, click the link ‘here‘ and get in touch.

Let’s get you started on the 6 steps to success!

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