Before you contact a recruiter, it’s important to do your homework about who you are professionally, and how you’ll fit into an organisation. If you’re prepared, you’ll seem more focused, and make things a lot easier for the recruiter.
If you can’t articulate this for yourself, you’ll have little chance of assessing your career options or communicating what you offer to a potential employer.
This career due diligence involves reflection and research. If this all sounds hard work, take a deep breath, the answers are around you. Previous performance reviews, psychometric assessments, 360 degree feedback etc, previous managers, peers, staff, referees and mentors, can provide you with useful input.
Kick-start the process by considering the following:
The best career decisions are based on what’s important to you. How do your values influence the positions you pursue? How much responsibility do you want? What’s non-negotiable, what’s nice to have?
What people say about you
Refer to recent performance reviews, 360 reports and customer feedback. What do these tell you about your real strengths? When do you seem to shine the most? Can you leverage these at your next career move? Are there opportunities for development that need your attention?
Take stock of what you’ve done over the past 3-5 years. Have you acquired skills and expertise in a particular area, or won a major account? Did you play a key role on a project, or take on accountabilities while your boss was on leave? Don’t overlook or take any career milestone for granted.
What would help you to get to the next level or do your job better or differently? While training and education may be appropriate, look for faster (and often more effective) options. Would a secondment into another business unit offer you the expertise? Or could mentoring give you a fresh perspective, and the confidence to progress? Reach out, look for learning opportunities. They may not cost you anything, other than initiative and energy.
Given all of the above, what does your next role looks like? Is there a variation or an alternative that could work just as well? Will this position give you the opportunity to progress your career in the right direction? Speak to trusted colleagues if you need inspiration or advice.