Preparing for the job you don’t know you want

Preparing for the job you dont know you want

When you’re rocking it at work, it can be easy to not think about what your next career step could be. 

I love what I’m doing. I don’t need a new job right now. So what’s my motivation to think about a different position? 

The problem with this passive approach is that things can change quicker than we realise. 

A major negative or positive event could unexpectedly happen, and then all of a sudden we feel rushed into a decision we weren’t ready to make. 

Plus it’s always good to appreciate that there are things you can be doing now to put yourself in an even better position for whatever comes next. 

The bottom line is that you can be very happy with your current job and consider with excitement your next career step. So here are three things you can do to prepare yourself for a role you don’t even know exists. 

1) Map your internal pathways

If you’re working in an organisation you love and you want to keep advancing, then this is the easiest place to start thinking about what’s next. 

Take the time to really understand how your career may play out if you stay within this structure. 

Are there opportunities for advancement which you’re excited by? If so, what do you need to do today to be a preferred candidate for these opportunities?

If there aren’t any opportunities that excite you, then understand the potential for new roles or projects to be created. What organisational changes need to happen for you to advance? (And don’t underestimate your influence to make change happen). 

If internal opportunities are limited and new ones aren’t likely, then you may need to think about shifting your mindset towards external opportunities (which can take some time). 

2) Look for a job without needing a job

Most people only look for a job when they need one or when they’re keen to make a move. It’s rare for people to proactively search for other positions while they’re happy in their current role. 

I understand there are political sensitivities that must be considered whenever you apply for other jobs, though this shouldn’t stop you from having an active awareness of your market value. 

Consistently checking job boards will expand your understanding of what’s out there, and may even inspire you to take a bigger step you didn’t realise you could. 

And if you feel compelled to apply for a position but you’re unsure what that means for the current job you love, the good news is you can always say ‘no’ to any offer you receive. 

It doesn’t take much effort or time to keep an eye on the job market, so it’s good to build that habit before you need to. 

3) Make it easy for gatekeepers to find you

There are people out there right now that will think you’re an amazing candidate for a role they’re trying to fill – they just haven’t found you yet!

Just because you’re not needing another job, you shouldn’t be closing yourself off to new opportunities by making yourself hard to find. 

How many gatekeepers are you actively networking with across your industry? 

How many professional events are you attending to create lasting impressions?

How well are you using LinkedIn as your promotional platform instead of it being just another version of your resume?

And I’m not just talking about doing this to attract the attention of gatekeepers outside your company. 

I’m talking about attracting the attention of gatekeepers inside your company too!

Tell the gatekeepers at your company about your interest to advance. They won’t know your aspirations unless you tell them directly, so don’t assume that they have your next opportunity planned.

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