4 Steps to Prepare for a Work Move

Whether you’re moving internally or externally, if you want others to recognise your value and to support your growth and trajectory, they need to know who you are and what you want.

And this means, you need to know who you are and what you want.

Too often, we can feel uncertainty and a little foggy – and that is OK, but we can then project our need for more certainty and clarity onto others around us. We can find ourselves expecting them to have the answers.

We want our manager to understand our capabilities and potential inside out, we want our peers to be clear of the role we play in the dynamics of meetings, projects and the broader company. We want recruiters and networking supporters to have absolute clarity on our unique selling point and how we do what we do in a way that nobody else does.

But there are two challenges I see with this. One, is that leaving this explanation and positioning to others will mean no overall consistency in the building of your identity and that positioning. And two, is that your direction is suddenly getting set by others in a more freewheeling way than might be best in your longer term interests. Which, when you are confused in yourself, might seem like a great shortcut to getting yourself out there with some gusto, but the danger is, you’re riding off the back of someone else’s agenda, their interpretation of you and their desires for you.

Not to say there is any bad intention here. It’s brilliant to be able to lean on your network at work and outside of work, my point is more that when you are needing more clarity and direction, to notice whether you look to work that out for yourself (not by yourself) or do you hand the task over to others by expecting them to put their own answers and opportunities in front of you.

And then the larger issue is, that eventually you might end up somewhere new doing something different, but that sense of uncertainty and nagging feeling that it’s not quite right will be right there with you.

So if you are thinking about a move at work, how can you start to prepare your thoughts to get some order and clarity about what you are looking for?

Create Your Identity

Think about who you are in terms of your values, your beliefs and your personality. These are core to you and once you’re clear on them, you might be surprised how much easier that cover letter is to write, or the important keywords to include in that intro paragraph at the top of your CV.

Think about these on a personal, individual scale and also on a broader scale. For example, what strong beliefs do you have about your industry, about macro trends, about global issues, about your career specialism etc.

Communicate Your Strengths 

Get personal. Expand generic strengths to personalise them. Ask the people you work with, your friends and ex-colleagues how they would describe your strengths and notice the terminology they might use, and any trends that appear.

Take this one step further to recognise how you have used your strengths in the past throughout your career, what you have been able to deliver and the results that you contributed to, using those strengths.

Know What’s Important To You

Thinking about your worklife as a whole, know what’s important to you. What do you need from a job – financially, practically and personally. What are your must haves or non negotiables. What motivates you. Is it working hours, is it a collaborative culture, is it autonomy, resources, a minimum salary, speaking opportunities. Taking time to work out and recognise what is important to you will help shape what you look for and what comes your way.

Explore What’s Possible For You

Many people will think about what they want next in context of where they are now. There’s a real opportunity at a transition moment like a career move, to think about what you want next in the context of what you want in five years time.

What’s that vision that you have, of your worklife in the next five years. Close your eyes and imagine it. Where are you, what are you doing, what are you wearing, who is around you, what does your day look like. This isn’t about predicting the future, this is about giving your brain and creative mind a chance to dream and imagine and unlock your deeper thoughts in terms of what your aspirations are. You might uncover something interesting!

Stretch your imagination and don’t let practical thinking get in the way. Try not to put any barriers up. And let yourself see what you see. If you can get a sense of a future vision – perhaps try this a few times – then you can think about what you might need to be doing next to help move you towards that vision.

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