It’s easy and common to start a job search without fully thinking things through. This is because leaving an employer is often an emotive decision and can be inspired by experiences or events that have made us feel negative or unfulfilled in some way.
Whatever the reason, taking the time to sit-back and reflect before jumping into the fray will pay dividends further down the line, and anyone considering a change in role this year can make the whole process far smoother by remembering a few key points:
1) Assess your current situation:
First of all, be honest about why you’re looking to move on as this will help to effectively shape your job search. E.g. If your role is lacking scope for progression you must focus your search on organisations that actively succession plan and have a structure that can accommodate your chosen career path.
Once you’re clear about the ‘why’ take time to consider ‘how’ you will communicate your decision to move on from your current role to a future employer. Your current line-manager may be over-bearing and unreasonable but you can avoid using this terminology. Why not explain that you’re looking for greater autonomy in your next role and that you would like to work for an organisation that has an inclusive, collaborative culture. Think democratic rather than idiosyncratic when it comes to how you communicate.
Ask yourself if there is anything your current employer could do to persuade you to stay. If the answer is yes, the professional thing to do is to explore this with them before jumping ship and going through a recruitment process with someone else. The chances are your current employer will want to retain you, so take steps to factor this into your decision making before applying for other opportunities.
2) Get organised:
Update your CV. Make sure it reflects your skills and achievements in specific reference to the kind of role you want. For a more detailed guide to updating your personal marketing visit: bit.ly/1PWINAM
Update your LinkedIn profile in-line with your CV. This is now one of the first places most hiring managers will go to when considering potential talent.
Be aware of what you’re posting on other social media channels. Although technically your Facebook page is a place for communicating with friends not colleagues, many employers will still use this as yard stick to measure you by. With this in mind it may be best to avoid posting those ‘interesting’ pictures from the office Christmas party or anything which could compromise your personal credibility.
Partner a trusted recruiter with a strong network. Choose someone who will work proactively and professionally on your behalf.
Set up a way to track your job applications. A spreadsheet is one option and certainly has a place for job seekers applying more than two or three jobs a day. That said, applicants operating at a more senior level in the procurement market may be able to track roles without extra administration, particularly because positions at this level will be more unique and distinctive and less common in their availability. Whatever you decide, don’t be that person who picks up the phone to the hiring manager and says; ‘Which role? Sorry? I’ve applied for so many jobs recently I’ve lost track!’
Research the job boards to find out which ones feature the best number of roles in your field and at your level. Set up job alerts to go straight into your personal inbox so that you’re the first to hear about new opportunities when they reach the public domain.
3) Be Pro-active:
Once you know what you’re looking for and why, you have all the information you need to get ahead of the game by actively approaching the employers who interest you. They may not be recruiting, but building relationships with procurement leaders and other hiring managers within businesses that have structures, operating models and cultures that appeal to you is a fantastic way of making sure you’re the first to hear about new opportunities. LinkedIn invitations are a good way to start, but sending a tailored CV and covering letter is just as acceptable. To really make an impact you could take things one step further and attend a networking event where you know the recruitment decision maker will be in attendance. A personal meeting is the relationship building equivalent of dynamite, and the trust and rapport you build off the back of it will far supersede anything you can do through social media or on paper.
4) Be selective:
At the start of a job search it’s tempting to apply to roles that only fit a minimal percentage of the criteria you’re looking for, particularly when your desire to move on is so strong that you think you will be happy to compromise on some of the things that are important to you. Once your search starts to gather momentum however, and you see positions that really excite you, you’ll regret getting tied up in opportunities that detract from the ones you really want to pursue. As procurement recruiters we understand the value of coaching the people we represent, to make sure they are applying for the right roles for the right reasons, and have the commitment to take things to conclusion. If, however you’re managing your own procurement job search, don’t be tempted to apply for anything you have lukewarm feelings about.
5) Think ahead:
Once you have entered a recruitment process you must expect and plan for certain things to happen, particularly interview requests which could come from a recruiter, an HR representative or hiring manager. Most hiring managers understand that it’s tricky to negotiate time away from work, but by neglecting to factor this in at the start of your search you may find yourself missing out on opportunities. I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has had to postpone an interview – sometimes by two or three weeks because of work commitments. They are then bitterly disappointed when the organisation meets someone they really like in the interim and offers them the role. The best way to avoid this happening is to take an honest look at your schedule over the coming weeks and try and manage your time to include some open windows where interviews could take place. Make sure you highlight these windows to the person leading the recruitment process at the beginning so they know what they have to work with. Aim for two to three a week if possible to offer some flexibility.
Finding a new role can be a daunting prospect, but if you remember to action these five simple points you should find your job search much more successful because; “spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” ? Robert H. Schuller