What Not To Do When Looking For A New Finance Opportunity

The path you navigate when looking for a new role, whether actively or passively, will take you through a minefield. And when it’s not traversed with due care, it can be detrimental not only your career, but also to your reputation. The reality is, career moves need careful, and tight, planning right from the start – far more than a cautionary “test the water” approach. What can you do to avoid a disaster? Well, we’d suggest you don’t do the following things, for a start!

#1 Don’t start making applications without a strategy
Like anything, proper preparation prevents poor performance. Starting to apply for jobs without a plan can open up a can of worms. Firstly, you need advice from somebody who knows on what your best options are –and if you don’t know this, you’re likely to get frustrated applying for roles that might not be right for you. Secondly, this can lead to a situation where you saturate the market. Unsure of what is the best course of action, over a period of time, if only gradually, you could apply for 10s and 10s of roles. Ireland’s a small country – you’ll get noticed as someone who is applying, over time, without purpose and without success. You want to maintain the upper hand – appearing unfocused or unsuccessful in your job hunt will affect your reputation.

#2 Don’t annoy your network, or potential employers, by not committing fully
In a similar manner, if you’re unfocused, and only half committed, you could annoy the very people you might need to provide you with the next opportunity. Aside from recruiters, if you meet with companies regarding roles you’re not “serious” about, this will affect your brand in the market. It’s OK to decline a job opportunity for a valid reason, but not “being ready to leave” your current organisation will not only rub people up the wrong way, it could give you a name as a time-waster.

#3 Don’t take calls when you are busy, or even worse, at a social event
If you’re fully committed, give the search everything it deserves. When you’re in “job search mode”, you need to be on 24/7 – recognising that any point, anyone could call you. Think about it – you’ve applied to numerous recruiters, in-house talent acquisition departments and hiring managers, all of which could be based anywhere around the world. Applied to a US company? Expect a call in the evening. So don’t dream of picking up a call when you’re out for dinner. Set up a professional voicemail that asks for a return call number and email, and rearrange a time to talk – where you can concentrate, and find a quiet spot.

#4 Don’t mention your plans to anyone in your current workplace
It might sound obvious, but so many of us do it: hint to, or outright tell people-we-work-with-that-we-think-we’re-close-to that we’re thinking of leaving. The fact is – despite what they say – the people you work with have their own agenda. Sure, at the time you have the “chat” it might stay confidential, but for how long? Additionally, consider what this does to you standing in your own company – if others know, how much more difficult is it to command authority in the company? Overnight, your reputation, and influence, could crumble. Sure, you’re leaving aren’t you?

#5 Don’t cast threats or use it as a bargaining tool with your current employers
It might be tempting to, again, “test the waters” of your own employment by alluding to the fact you are considering opportunities. Or, as happens more often, using a new job opportunity as a bargaining tool to get a promotion or pay rise. But think about it – if you have to “bargain” with your employers to achieve change, you’ve got a far bigger problem than a pay rise. And even if it does serve as a genuine wake-up call for your employers, think about what they might think of you after the event? You’ll always be regarded at best as a potential flight risk, and at worse, as a traitor.

As a final thought, just ensure you consult and plan before embarking on anything that resembles a career move. In the short term, it might cost you time, but in the long term, it will ensure you retain your brand, reputation and standing within the finance community. Not to mention get you better results.

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