A friend in the tech industry called me recently, frustrated with his current role, and decided to look for something new. He wanted to email me his resume and get my thoughts before he started to apply to some job postings.
I asked him, “What had happened at his current job? What changed?”
“The ownership of the company had changed hands, and he didn’t like the new direction”, he responded.
I then asked him what he was looking for in his next job. His answer was pretty blah. He wanted to do the same job he was doing before, just with a new company. While I understood his need to keep a steady paycheck, I encouraged him to be more contemplative about his decision.
Strategize Before You Leap
Whether you want to quit your job, or were just laid off, most people have the same knee-jerk reaction. Update your resume and start applying for jobs similar to what you were doing before. Before you do this, take a breath, and form a gameplan. A good start is to ask yourself these questions:
- Assessing Your Career Stage: Where are you in life? I know, it’s a big existential question. Still, it’s worth pondering for a moment. Are you young and grinding away, hoping to get promoted? Maybe you’re further along in your career and are more focused on company culture and benefits. The purpose of the question is to align your next move with your career trajectory and personal goals.
- Evaluating Job Satisfaction: Do you like what you do? If you love (or just like) what you did in your last job, that’s great. Consider if you’re ready for a leadership role. Do you hate your job, or maybe dislike your company or industry? Look at changing jobs as a positive way to course-correct your career path. Figure out what experience you possess that is transferrable to other jobs and industries to help bridge the gap.
- Location Preferences: Do you like where you live? In tech, openness to relocation can be a game-changer. Many companies offer relocation incentives, help with temporary housing, and even train you to learn new skills or a whole new profession.
- Exploring Work Types: Do you need health benefits and job stability? If not, try exploring something other than just permanent, full-time jobs. Doing project-based work as a contractor, working in a client-facing role as a consultant, or helping companies in a freelance capacity can dramatically broaden your job prospects.
- Lifestyle Changes: Do you want to change your lifestyle? If so, you should be more focused on the company you will work for next, not as much on the position. Employee-friendly companies can help improve your work/life balance offering remote or hybrid work, flexible hours, generous PTO, tuition reimbursement, or just an awesome positive work culture.
- Market Leverage: Who has the leverage, you, or the job market? This is a big one, because you need to know the demand for your skills in the current market to determine if it’s a good time to be aspirational or to settle. To figure this out, you need to do an honest self-evaluation of your technical and functional work experience, industry expertise, and unique traits. Check out BridgeView’s 2024 Salary Guide to see which tech jobs are in demand and which ones are not.
Answering these questions should give you a pretty good idea of what you want to do, allowing you to target your job search. Changing jobs is a big deal and can positively change the course of your life. It just depends on your mindset and how you choose to approach it. Once in a while, you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.