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5 Must Have Criteria for Your Next Career Move

by Career Management

In this article you will learn our 5 must have criteria for your next career move.

If you’re thinking about your next career move, and are not sure where to start, it is very common to feel stuck. When you feel stuck you tend not to take action. You know you need to do something, but also know that online platforms like LinkedIn have changed the landscape for how to engage with potential employers and recruiters. You may have also developed some personal passion projects, or a side hustle or two, over the years and would ideally like to combine these interests into your future roles.

Commons Reasons to Make a Change in Job or Industry

There are many reasons why you may be thinking about your next career move, including:

  • you’re exploring more flexible work options
  • you’ve worked for your current employer for 5+ years and feel ready for a change
  • while you may enjoy your job, you’re keen to better understand what’s ‘out there’
  • you’re thinking about your career progression and can not see many opportunities for promotion where you currently work
  • there’s been a change in management or ownership of the business you work for
  • your workplace is toxic
  • your organisation is restructuring and you’ve been offered a voluntary redundancy

Making a Successful Career Move Requires a Career Action Plan

5 must have criteria for your next career moveYou may be feeling a growing desire to change jobs or industries but don’t know where you want to be and how to get there. What’s kept you feeling stuck for so long is that you incorrectly believe you need to know EXACTLY the type of role you want to move into in order to make a change. You may have even set up some job alerts on LinkedIn or Seek Executive, and applied for a few random roles with limited success.

And so here’s the thing.  Making a successful career move requires a career action plan.  You need to take the time to assess your skills and experience and consider what you’ve learnt from all your previous roles and current challenges. This will help you take stock and inform the must have criteria for what makes the greatest sense in terms of your career action plan for the next 3-5 years. Your ideal or dream job may in fact be one or two career moves away.

Our Must Have Criteria for Your Next Career Move

Rather than consider your next career move in terms of the one dimension of role type, there are in fact 5 must have criteria for you to consider. Taking the time to develop this criteria for your own goals is a critical element in the success of your career action plan. Importantly, it is unlikely that your next career move will meet all of these 5 criteria. And so at some point you will need to make a decision about which one you are willing to be flexible on.

1. Geographic Location

When considering your geographic location it is essential that you put thought into your commute to work each day. Do you want to walk, ride, drive or use public transport? Some people enjoy the time in the car, bus, train or tram to listen to podcasts or collect their thoughts.

If you’re happy to work anywhere, like a recent client of mine, decide your favourite cities to help focus your efforts. We narrowed her search down to Melbourne, New York and Spain. This will enable her to focus her networking efforts on colleagues and LinkedIn connections who are based in these areas when she moves into the ‘explore opportunities’ phase of her career action plan.

2. Organisational Size

The size of the organisation is particularly important if you are seeking roles in senior leadership. You’ll need to consider whether you would rather work for a large multinational organisation or a smaller and more nimble privately owned organisation. With the larger organisation there may be greater scope to travel and work across different geographic locations and business types. With a smaller organisation you are likely to get decisions made faster as you will have greater access to the owners.

3. Role Types

5 must have criteria for your next career moveYes, role types are still a consideration and need to be developed into a list of roles as they are currently described by the types of organisations you’d like to work for. A Human Resource Manager can have lots of other titles these days, including People & Culture Manager and Head of Culture. Take some time to do your research and understand how the different role types are described on LinkedIn and employment sites. Different organisations use different terminology and you need to update your knowledge about what’s out there when you are speaking to your network and they are explaining the opportunities within their industry for your skills.

4. Brands & Organisations

5 must have criteria for your next career moveIt is also essential to do your research about the brands and organisations you genuinely care about. When I was considering making a career move when I worked at Diageo I was invited to interview for a major Australian food manufacturer based very close to my home. At the time this felt like an exciting move and so I did some research about this organisation.

My research uncovered that, at the time, this manufacturer supplied all of the fries to a major fast food retailer. Having recently just watched a documentary about this particular fast food retailer and their employment practices, I did not feel comfortable pursuing this opportunity. Given that I was currently working for one of the world’s leading premium alcoholic beverage companies, I was keen for my next career move to be more aligned to my personal values.

Researching and pursuing organisations that your values are personally aligned to will help you access the hidden job market and demonstrate your passion for the organisation’s mission and values. Do not underestimate how attractive your passion and enthusiasm can be to a potential decision maker considering your suitability to work for their organisation.

5. Remuneration

5 must have criteria for your next career moveThe final criteria is determining what you need (not want) to be paid to maintain your current lifestyle. In many cases, this criteria is the reason why some people get stuck. You may be in a role where you are paid very well for what you do. And so there is sometimes a financial price for making a change. In most cases we will advise clients to take forward and upward financial steps when making a career move. However, in some cases, you may need to consider taking a slight reduction in pay or benefits in order to make your next career move. This is especially the case if you are considering a major career change. I made my career change the long way around and went from earning a six figure income in a full time role as a Strategic Marketing Planner to earning $200 a day working part time as a casual relief secondary teacher. All of my criteria were met in this role, except for the financial one.

My experience is not the norm, and the financial criteria is not necessarily the criteria you will need to compromise. Sometimes it is location. My point here is to take the time to do a budget and work out exactly what you need to earn to maintain your lifestyle. If you reduce your commute time and are working for a brand and organisation more aligned to your values, these may be more important factors in deciding your next career move. Many of our clients come to the realisation that money is only one dimension of a satisfying career.

Take Action

Achieving 4 out of 5 of these criteria for your next career move is a great result. By having this criteria, you have a concrete measure to help you carefully consider and assess the value of potential career moves.

Karen Hollenbach

Karen Hollenbach

As the Founding Director of Think Bespoke I help individuals and organisations unlock their potential with LinkedIn. Sign up to my E-insights for LinkedIn tips.

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