The number 1 mistake mid career professionals make when job searching

The number 1 mistake mid career professionals make when job searching.

Job searching. I don’t think it’s anyone’s favourite thing to do. It
takes effort. It takes time. And it takes mental and emotional energy.

It requires soul searching and at times it can be soul destroying.

We’ve all experienced the excitement of finding a role that we believe would be ideal for us. We imagine ourselves in the role; what we could achieve, the impact we could have and how we would feel resigning from our current role.

Gosh you may have even allocated the potential payrise to pay for school fees or that overdue house renovation.

And then the unthinkable happens…. they offer the role to someone else!

Ah the roller coaster – the highs and lows of job searching.

There is no exact formula to make the process pain free but there are some things we can do to improve our chances to landing our ideal role – more quickly and with less stress.

It all starts with avoiding the number 1 trap I see many mid career professionals fall into.

And that is….

Going out to the market to “see what’s out there” without real clarity about what it is that you are looking for.

This approach can work, but is likely to be hit and miss. It can be disempowering and it’s an incredibly frustrating waiting game. It leaves the process up to chance and what we end up doing is trying to fit ourselves into whatever comes up rather than going after what we REALLY want.

Even worse – if you think a recruiter will be able to figure out what types of role you would be good for based on your past experience, then you are gravely mistaken.

There are some hugely talented recruitment specialist out there who are dedicated to the bringing together the right candidate with the right role but on the whole most are super busy, looking for the safe, quick solution to a job vacancy.

It’s time to flip your thinking and your approach to job searching.

No more aimlessly looking to see what’s out there. No more hoping something interesting will pop up. No more leaving the process up to chance.

It’s your career. It’s up to you to figure out what you want and to go after it. It’s time to drive the process.

A new approach to job searching.

1. Know who you are. The job search process doesn’t start out there. It starts within. Yes this is the soul searching part of the process.

Before you speak to your network, before you update your LinkedIn profile, before you speak to a recruiter – spend the time to get really clear on;

Be honest with yourself… what do you love to do. What parts of your past roles have filled you with the most joy.

And equally important, what tasks or responsibilities do you never want to do again! And don’t be fooled. It could be something you are seen to be very good at – but let’s be honest – you hate doing it.

2. Set your direction. You may not know at this stage the job title of your next ideal role. But don’t let that hold you back. The world of work is changing so rapidly right now it’s impossible to know what type of opportunities may become available.

Your best option will be to align your job search with the types of tasks and responsibilities you would like to be included in your next ideal role. From all the work you have done looking within, you now know what the non negotiable elements of your new role are.

3. Go to market. Finally … you are now ready to go out proactively to the job market with certainty and clarity. It’s about going out to your network or to recruiters and saying – this is who I am and this is the value I have to offer and this is the type of work I would ideally like to move to next.

By succinctly and confidently articulating what you are looking for next, you are much more likely to illicit support and interest from recruiters and your network.

And if by chance your ideal role does pop up on Seek – you are more likely to be able to articulate to your potential employer exactly why you are the person they have been looking for.

So my question to you today is – “have you fallen into the trap of going out to the market before you truly know what it is that you are looking for?”

If you have it’s time to switch things up.

Yes it will take a little more work up front but the proof is in the pudding as they say.

By following this approach I’ve seen many mid career professional women quickly turn their job search luck around and land the very next role they applied for. Not just any old role – but their ideal role.

Why do I think it works so well?

Because the hidden secrete is that through the soul searching work at the beginning of the process you’ll get super clear and confident on the value you have to offer and why you would be the best candidate for any role which is perfect for you.

And clarity and confidence is an incredibly attractive attribute to demonstrate to your ideal new employer!

If you’re ready to make a change but need a little more clarity about what’s next for you then I invite you to come along to Career by Design – a one day workshop for smart, dynamic, mid career professional women ready for something more.

Click here for more information about this transformation 1 day workshop.

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Career Crossroads: Should I stay or should I go?

Career Crossroads: Should I stay or should I go?

Have you been asking yourself; Should I stay or should I go?  It’s a question most of us ask more than once in our professional career. And it’s never a particularly easy question to answer.

You’ve hit a rough patch and you’re wondering is it bad enough to start looking for something else.

Perhaps you’ve lost respect for your line manager or you are in conflict with the business culture? Perhaps you feel undervalued or doing less than you are capable of? Or have you outgrown your role and you’re ready for the next step but you know that career growth opportunities within the business you’re in are limited.

So it’s time to decide. “Should I stay or should I go?”

This is the question that my client Vanessa was pondering recently. She had achieved considerable success over the years but had found herself in a role that was no longer challenging or exciting her. She was bored and she knew that she was not producing the level of work that allowed her to feel proud.

When I asked her how she would feel if she was in the same place in one year’s time… she answered “I’d rather be dead.” (Perhaps a little dramatic but you get the picture!)

And yet she remained uncertain about moving on.

Why?

Because she feared stepping out into the unknown! And every new role brings with it many unknowns; a new manager; a new team; a new work culture; new challenges; new expectations; a new routine.

It’s little wonder that so many of us stay stuck in a role that no longer bring us joy and fulfilment given that we are hard wired to steer clear of the risk and uncertainty.

But when we make decisions from a place of fear, we miss the possibilities and the upside to change… of which there are many. A new role has the possibility of bringing with it fulfilment, growth, positive challenges, exciting projects, even more money.

So where is your focus? On the possible upsides or downsides of change? 

And just like there are upsides and downside of change there are upsides and downsides of staying put.

When we focused in on the cost of staying put, Vanessa realised that her reputation was a stake. Her attitude had taken a turn for the worse and her performance had plateaued. On top of that she had noticed she was constantly tied and had been battling a range of recurring health issues that she believed were associated with her unhappiness at work.

By the end of our conversation Vanessa realised she had been focused on only one part of the picture. She had zeroed in on the fear and uncertainty associated with moving on. But by examining her situation from all angles, came clarity that it was time to dust of her CV, pick up the phone to her network and actively enter the job market.

Here are the 5 key considerations to discover the answer to Should I stay or should I go?

1. Same same! Visualise one year from today. If everything remained the same as it is today would that be ok?

Of course nothing will be exactly the same because the world of work continues to flex and shift at an ever-increasing rate. But if you are passively waiting for your work situation to improve just by chance then I’m here to remind you that not all corporate driven change will leave you in a better place.

2. The hidden cost. In my experience, there are always costs associated with staying stuck in a role beyond its use by date. What is the cost to your health; your reputation; your relationships; your career ambitions?

Is your current situation impacting your family time? Is allowing your career to stagnate going to make it harder to land your ideal role further down the track?

3. What do you fear? Ask yourself: “what do you fear most about moving on?” Grab a pen and paper and write it down. Do you have legitimate concerns or do you purely fear the unknown?

4. Could you handle it? Next ask yourself: “if the worst was to happen… could I handle it?” This is all about creating a back up plan to nullify the risk. For example many people fear stepping into a new role only to find out it doesn’t live up to their expectations. Not ideal but not necessarily the disaster as it may at first seem.

5. Upsides. Finally let’s look at ALL the upsides that can come from moving to a new role. And let’s be honest … there is just as much chance if not more that moving to a new role will be a positive rather than a negative experience.

Now to Decide… should you stay or should you go?

Take a moment now to work through these 5 questions. Be honest with yourself. Have you been focused only on the discomfort and risk that comes with change? What about the cost of staying put? And what about the opportunities you will be missing if you allow your fear to rule your decision?

If you’re ready to make a change but need a little more clarity about what’s next for you then I invite you to come along to Career by Design – a one day workshop for smart, dynamic, professional women yearning for something more.

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Do you hold yourself accountable?

Do you hold yourself accountable?

Why is staying accountable to what we say we want, so jolly hard? If it were easy we would all be a dress size or two smaller, super healthy, spending quality time with the kids, leaving the office on time, applying for the job we really want, doing great work for a charity…. or some variation or combination of the above.

Clearly desire is not enough.

Over the past 12 months I have been trying to meditate each day. I know I feel better when I do, my decision-making is clearer and my productivity soars. Just 5 or 10 minutes every day is all I am aiming for… yet I am falling short of creating a daily practice.

I’m clearly struggling to stay accountable to my goal… even a pretty small goal at that. For just a moment this week I found I was beating myself up.

Then I asked myself a better, more empowering question.

“How can I truly succeed at this goal?”

I know one thing for sure… relying on old habits and pure will power is not the answer.

As I pondered this answer, I thought about the women who have attended Career by Design (1 day workshop for mid career women) and wondered why it is that so many of them stay accountable to the commitments they make to themselves about stepping into the next phase of their career.

I think the answer lies in the work we do in setting them up for success. They walk away with so much more than a plan.

We have worked on their mindset, acknowledged the fear that may show up and identified their next steps to create momentum. And most importantly, during the day they connect with other amazing women who want nothing but success for them.

Think about the goals or personal commitments you have struggled to see through. Have you truly given yourself the best opportunity for success?

Here are 4 keys to staying committed and accountable.

1.  It starts with why. You have to know your why… why is accomplishing this goal important to you? How will it ultimately improve your life or help you to grow your career?

If you don’t have a compelling enough answer for yourself, then you probably won’t stick to it since it’s not that important to you.

2.  Create momentum for change. For many people, taking the first step is the hardest. Creating change can feel scaring or overwhelming or hard.

Start by breaking down your goal into smaller chunks. Identify the very first step. And then take that first step. You don’t need to know every step… just the first one. The next step will reveal itself once you take the first step.

It’s that simple. Let’s not over complicate things!

3.  Recognise fear. Fear can be an annoying hand break that stops us in our tracks. It’s that nagging voice in our head that reminds us of all the things that could go wrong. It can be relied on to provide us with the reasons why we are not good enough or why we should wait until we know more or have more experience or our home situation is different.

Very rarely is this fear based dialogue based in fact. Almost always the dialogue going on inside your head is… well quite frankly… it’s bollocks!

You are good enough. You are experienced enough. You do deserve it. You are worthy.

So next time you commit to stepping up or to play a bigger game at work notice the fear, but don’t let it rule your actions.

Ask yourself: if the worst was to happen, could I handle it. And 99 times out of 100 I know that you could!

So let’s agree to take action towards your goals … in spite of the fear. No more waiting for courage. It’s time to be bold. Be brave. Be fearless. 

4.  Enlist a support team. You may be proud of your independent nature and what you have achieved without much help, but it’s time to change that habit.

Let’s make this easy.

Surround yourself with people who have your back. Seek out people who will lift you higher and support you to stay accountable and succeed.

If the people who you hang out with now are not going to support your mission to create a new habit to enhance your health or lifestyle or champion you to step up and stand out as the exception leader that you are, then it’s time to enlist a new support team.

Reach out to people who have achieved what you want to achieve. You will find people are much more willing to support your growth than you may at first think.

Finally …go public with your goal and ask for help to stay the course. Just saying out loud what it is that you are striving for will raise your chances for success.

Accountability for your goals starts with you.

 If you have struggled to stay accountable to some of your goals and personal commitments ask yourself a better question.

“How can I truly succeed at this goal?”

 Following old strategies and hoping for a different result … well that’s just crazy. Commit to giving 1 or all 4 of these strategies a go and see how much easier staying accountable to you really can be.

Share below what you commit to and we will help you keep accountable.

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What got you HERE, will not get you THERE

What got you HERE, will not get you THERE

You have worked out what you want for your career. You are ambitious, driven and courageous. You have your future mapped out and high expectations around what you and your team can achieve.

You have tasted success and you have “lucked” into some really great opportunities by being in the right place at the right time. Up ‘til now your career has unfolded pretty much as planned.

So why have all the great opportunities dried up?

It can be scary, hugely frustrating and very unfamiliar territory for many high achieving professionals.   You’re doing what you have always done but it is no longer getting you recognised, rewarded or promoted.

Many leaders make the mistake of believing that provided they continue to do what they have always done they will keep making progress in their career. Let’s face it; it has worked well so far.

But sadly the habits, actions and thinking that got you here will not necessarily take you to the next level.

In the early years of your career, purely working hard, getting the job done and continuing to grow your technical skills was all it took for the accolades to roll in.

But as a mentor once said to me … as we move to a new level, we need to overcome new devils. This might be to overcome our fear of speaking up, letting go of our habit of over delivering, learning to delegate more effectively or stepping up to a new level of strategic thinking.

It is the same for growing your team results.   A new level of results will take a new level of thinking, new decision making strategies and even more courageous action.

Last week I worked with a leadership team at a 2 day off site retreat to create the foundations for their 5 year strategy. Over the past 18 months they have operated in survival mode to take the business out of the red and back into the black. They are now achieving good results, and are poised to create great results. We acknowledged that what it took for the business to merely survive was not what was needed to build an exciting thriving organization that would be seen as the leader in their field.

Yes, strategy is a critically important element but great results start with the best people playing their part to the best of their ability.

Our first step towards exceptional team results was to look at what each member of the leadership team needed to do differently to create a new level of results. For some that meant tweaking the way they operated within the leadership team, for others it meant identifying areas of personal growth such as improving their communication skills, collaborating more or remaining focused on the key business priorities.

Great results for the team start with each team member performing to their potential. The outcome of the team will be only as good as the weakest link. Just like in an orchestra, all the musicians need to put in the work to grow their skill in their particular area of expertise, but also to work together in harmony to create beautiful music.

If what got you here, wont get you there, what do you need to do to create some new outcomes?

1.  Get clear on where THERE is. Start by getting clear on what you want for your career, your leadership and your team. What do you want to achieve? What do you want your team to achieve? It is only once we know what we want to achieve, that we recognise what we need to do differently to get there.

2.  Seek feedback. Honest feedback is the foundation for change. We are usually blind to our own limitations, challenges and behaviors that are holding us back. As one of the leaders at the off site retreat said, feedback can feel a little like a slap in the face. It can be painful, but not knowing can be even worse.

3.  Commit to change. Given that what got you here will not get you there; commitment to change is the next step. Commit to delegating more, taking more courageous action, creating a more engaging team environment, providing more feedback to the team, taking time out for creative thinking. Commit to whatever it is that will take to get you and your team “There.”

If you like what you have read, Click HERE  and pop your name and email into the boxes and come join this growing community of extraordinary, passionate, down to earth women just like you who are committed to finding their place at the leadership table.

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