BERMAN LARSON KANE
SETTING RECORD STRAIGHT ON SWITCHING JOBS
With job seekers appearing to now hold more power than employers, the best advice that was true about switching jobs is necessarily gospel anymore, according to an article from the Harvard Business Review’s HBR.org/Blog.
Indeed, as more positions become available and fewer look for work, especially as Baby Boomers retire, many experts describe the current labor market as “candidate-driven.” So does this mean when switching jobs the job seeker is in the driver’s seat? Not necessarily so. But it does, in fact, mean you may no longer be able to rely on “age-old” guidance in your job search.
That said, the publication asked readers (and its own editors) what advice they hear most often about how to switch jobs and then talked with two experts to get their perspectives on whether long-held advice holds up in practice and against recent research and job trends. Here from the article are excerpts with insights on the topic:
- “Never tell your boss that you’re looking for another position.”
It may seem logical that you want to have a job in hand before you reveal you’re leaving. After all, you don’t want your boss to be mad at you or stop investing in you. But things have changed. Not only is there less risk in letting your manager know you’re looking than there used to be, but there may be upsides too, said Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior advisor at executive search firm Egon Zender. Foremost among them, your boss may want to figure out how to keep you.
And if employees are intent on leaving, companies are making more effort to be sure people leave on good terms. They recognize that former employees are out there on social media, and they don’t want to “risk being disparaged on Glassdoor, Yelp, Facebook, or Twitter.” said John Sullivan, an HR expert and professor of management at San Francisco State University. Many companies now also have programs that keep the door open in case employees want to return.
- “Stay at a job for at least a year or two — moving around too much looks bad on a resume.”
“This is a popular piece of conventional wisdom,” said Sullivan, and it’s simply not true anymore. First of all, it’s not always realistic. “There are many times when you really need to leave your job without anything else,” said Fernández-Aráoz. For example, you may need to relocate because of your spouse’s job or quit to take care of a family member.
Second, short stints no longer hurt a resume. Sullivan said that employers have become more accepting of brief periods of employment. As many as 32% of employers expect ‘job-jumping.’ “It’s become part of life,” he added. In fact, people are most likely to leave their jobs after their first, second, or third work anniversaries, with Millennials especially prone to short stays at jobs. Sullivan’s research shows that 70% quit their jobs within two years. So the advice to stick it out at a job for the sake of your resume is just no longer valid.
Gaps in job history aren’t the sticking points they once were either, said Sullivan. You just have to show that your time off wasn’t a waste of time. Employers just want to know that you made use of the time either to gain a new skill, have a life-changing experience, or learn something new. Still, said Fernández-Aráoz, you should avoid jumping around if you can, not because of any potential damage to your future job prospects, but because of the emotional drain.
- “Don’t quit your job before allowing your current employer to make a counter offer.”
If you’re a valuable employee, Sullivan said that smart companies will try to convince you to stay. “If you’re on their priority list, it would be considered ‘regrettable turnover’ for them and they’ll do what they can to keep you.” Counteroffers, in fact, have become much more common, especially in industries where there’s talent scarcity, Fernández-Aráoz pointed out.
But be careful, he warned: “In my three decades of experience, I’m genuinely convinced that most counteroffers are bad for all parties.” He gives two reasons: First, there was a reason you started to look for another job and that’s unlikely to change despite your employer’s promises. Second, you’ve made a commitment to the new company and you should honor it. But, on the other hand, he added, you should analyze both alternatives and make a sound decision based on the unique situation you are in. Which opportunity will give you what you want in the future?
- “Never make a lateral move — a new job is your only chance of making a big leap in title and compensation.”
“That’s so last year,” said Sullivan. “Yes, the old model was that you were Assistant VP, then VP, then Senior VP. But that’s GM in the 1980s, not today’s organizations.” He said given how flat companies are today, there’s often nowhere to go in your current job or in another one. Focus instead on finding interesting work rather than worrying about lateral moves. Fernández-Aráoz agreed: “If you are going for title and compensation, think again!” More money and a better title rarely are what make you happy, he said. Instead, look for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
- “You should always be looking for your next job.”
You want to be happy, not constantly searching, said Fernández-Aráoz. When you have found a job you love, looking for your next one is unnecessary. But, even if you’ve found a role that keeps you happy, you should still be learning and growing, added Sullivan. He points out that this doesn’t have to be a new role with a new company, but can be a different role or challenge in your existing job.
NEWS FROM BERMAN LARSON KANE:
July continued with a steady increase in contract hiring across several disciplines. “It is our pleasure here at BLK to assist our clients with interim staffing augmenting skill and talent gaps” , comment Bob Larson, CPC president BLK.
As the job creation numbers continue to improve and unemployment continues to decrease we are very optimistic about hiring projects over the last 4 months of the year. We continue to experience an increase in talent shortages across various disciplines.