Sometimes, even when you love your job, the time might come when it’s time for a change. There are lots of reasons to pursue a job change:

  • Maybe you feel under-appreciated by customers or upper management.
  • Maybe you need more flexibility to take care of children or elderly parents.
  • Maybe you’ve hit the glass ceiling as far as pay and opportunity are concerned.
  • Maybe your spouse or significant other got a new job that requires relocation.
  • Maybe you’ve been doing your job for awhile, feel stagnant in what you are doing and you just want to shake things up.

Regardless of your reason for seeking a new job, there are a number of things you can do in order to find the right job.

Past generations often sought to find a company where they could stay for thirty-plus years, get a gold watch, and retire.

Few industries follow that model these days. In fact, the new norm is for people to change jobs 4 times before they’re 32 years old. If you figure that you start working when you graduate college at 22 years old, that’s 4 jobs in 10 years, or a new job every 2.5 years.

When it comes time to decide to start looking for a new job, you want to do it the right way. Job hunting can be both exciting and stressful; minimizing the stress can make a positive difference on your experience.

That’s why I’ve put together this guide to help women who are looking for a job change. Keep reading to learn the 4 things you need to do to maximize your opportunity.

Tip #1: Figure out what you want from a job change.

If you’ve interviewed for a job, you’ve probably thought about your three to five-year plan. Many interviewers like to ask potential employees where they see themselves in five years.

The point of this question isn’t to make you squirm. It’s to find out if your goals align with your potential new employer’s goals.

If you don’t know what you want out of a new job, then chances are this question would make you sweat. However, preparing to answer this question isn’t just about pleasing HR interviewers.

It’s about pleasing yourself.

For people who have worked in the same job for a long time, goals might have just been to move up the corporate ladder. Regardless of whether or not your goals have changed, taking the time to reassess them at the start of your job hunt will only help you in the long run.

As you formulate your goals, make sure you do your research. Don’t make assumptions, particularly about salary. The benefit of technology is that there’s so much information available at your fingertips–use it to your advantage to set up informed goals.

Tip #2: Hone your elevator pitch.

What is an elevator pitch? It’s a statement of about twenty seconds that states your goal and how you will support that goal with experience or skills.

It’s called an elevator pitch because, when you meet someone—while they may ask you what you do in a polite manner, it gives you the perfect opportunity to give a snapshot of who you are. So an elevator pitch is suppose to allow  you to be able to convey all of this in the average time of an elevator ride–about twenty to thirty seconds. Here’s a test, can you make them care in that 20 seconds when their attention is generous? The point is if you do pique their interest, they’ll hold the elevator door and listen to you all day long. So don’t try to cram everything into 20 seconds. Instead, the best use of that first grace period is to make a bid for an attention extension.

You never know who you might meet, and who they might know, so having your elevator pitch honed before you launch yourself headfirst into your job search can prepare you to snatch up the right opportunity at the right time.

Tip #3: Build your support network before a job change.

As I said earlier, changing jobs is stressful, even if it’s exciting. Before you go down that road, getting some support in your corner can help.

Talk to your spouse or significant other. This support is especially important because you want to make sure that you’re both prepared for any tightening of the purse strings that may be necessary if your job hunt takes longer than you expect, especially if you’re hiring a headhunting service or planning to take time away from your current job to start a new business.

Make sure that your close friends are willing to help you unwind, or help you rehearse interviews–especially if you’re out of practice.

Building the right support network is crucial because as exciting as the prospect of a new job can be, there will come a time when the stress will mount and having a healthy outlet can be a boon. In fact, having a support network can re-energize your search if you reach a point where you’re tired of wearing your interview suit.

Tip #4: Network strategically.

Remember when I was talking about your elevator pitch and I mentioned meeting the right person at the right time who can give you the right opportunity?

That comes from networking. Sure, your elevator pitch will help you maximize on those chances to bend someone’s ear, but networking is what can increase your chance to get some face time.

How do you go about networking strategically? The best place to start is with your own contacts. You’ve probably heard the saying that getting a job is all about who you know, not what you know.

If that seems limiting, remember that it extends to who your contacts know. Let your contacts know that you’re in the job market. If you know they’re connected with someone who can help you in your quest, don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction.

Looking for new employment can be exciting, especially because changing jobs can provide a 10% to 20% salary increase. If you’ve been getting by on one, two, or three percent increases each year, it might be time to jump ship and negotiate a higher salary with a new company.

If the time has come for a job change, don’t go into it in the dark. Use these tips to illuminate your path and lead you to the greener grass on the other side of the road, fence, or whatever hurdle currently sits in your way.

Remember that you can overcome those hurdles. You deserve to find the job that not only provides an appropriate salary, but that fulfills you as a person. For more tips on how to make the most out of your job hunt, please contact me.