Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What to look for when changing jobs.

I read recently that only about 6% of employees truly love the work they do! If that’s true, then 94% are in various stages of disinterest, disillusion or despair during most of their waking hours. If you’re changing jobs, why not try to join the 6%.

Look for a company that matches your interests and utilizes the best aspects of your personality and skill set. Put yourself in an environment where you’ll be happy and engaged. Don’t apply to an employer whose integrity, character and culture are very different from your own or you’ll likely be unhappy there.

A successful job search starts with a candid self-assessment. Start by answering the following questions:

* What are your personal goals and how do they relate to the position you’re seeking?

* What work-related skills does the position require? How can you demonstrate these skills to a potential employer? What kind of previous job-related experience do you have?

* Does the position require leadership skills? How can you demonstrate these skills to an interviewer?

* Does the position require team-based collaboration, individual initiative, or a combination of these skills? Will this be a good fit for you?

* Is the business in a location where you’d like to work? How expensive and how long will your commute be? Does the company have a carpool serving your area?

* Can you work some of the time from home? Do employees work flexible schedules? (When a company tells you they offer flexible schedules, ask to talk to people who’ve taken advantage of them to be sure that it's not just a marketing ploy).

* How relaxed or formal is the culture? Is there a dress code? Can you bring your pets to work?

* Will you be required to travel for your work? If so, how far, how often and for how long? Is this something you want to do?

* Pay and a good benefits package are important, but they’re not everything. The best employers offer opportunities for career advancement as well. So, find out what kinds of training and professional development programs the company offers. Ask about the performance review process. How often are you reviewed and by whom? Always ask, “What happened to the person who had this job before me?”

* You don’t want to hitch your wagon to a falling star so evaluate the financial health of any company you’re considering joining. Look for an employer that’s likely to keep growing in the future, especially in the near future. Economic projections for the next few years suggest the present economic downturn is likely to continue through 2010. Therefore ask about the company’s track record of stability and growth during previous downturns.

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