As the year ends, many of us head into a period of reflection and planning. “How did 2018 go? Did I achieve everything I wanted to? How can I make 2019 my best year yet?” This thinking inevitably leads to developing New Years’ Resolutions. Everyone knows the default goals that are set on January first; eat healthier, start exercising, read more, etc. Often coming in further down the list of most frequently set goals is to get a new job. With over 30 years of experience, Career Partners International (CPI) Coaches know how to not only advise in getting a new job, but also in getting a better position to advance your career and make more money. Here are a few tips to make 2019 the most prosperous year yet for your career.
Up-Level Your Mindset
If you’re looking to not only find, but also attract a better job with higher compensation in 2019, an up-level in your mindset is required.
First, you must start with believing that you’re worthy of a higher paying job that you enjoy. You do this by taking inventory of where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Carve out some time on your calendar and do a “Year in Review” by looking at projects you worked on and individuals with whom you collaborated. Utilize the STAR method; Situation, Task, Action and Result. Document these activities and events so you realize (and remember!) all you’ve accomplished in one year! This exercise will also help you prepare for the inevitable behavioral interview questions “Tell me about a time when you had to…”
Once you’ve taken inventory and are feeling confident in what you have to offer, it’s time to assess why you and your unique skill sets/experience are valuable to your future employer. Any up-level in responsibilities and compensation will require you to consider the business and how your position will make an impact. Doing your research online and through your network about the organization will give you more confidence in an interview, allowing you to ask contextual questions about the organization – and how your role fits into their short- and long-term success. Knowing about their business and what their biggest challenges and opportunities are will position you as high-value and will differentiate you from other candidates vying for the same role.
– Brenda Stanton, Vice President Keystone Partners, Boston, MA
Cultivate Your Network
Over 50% of the people we work with find their next role through their networks. The holiday period is the perfect time reach out to your network and reconnect with people. They are more likely to have time to chat and it is an opportunity for you to share with them what you are doing and what your plans and ambitions are for 2019. This may be as simple as calling those who have helped you to say thank you or making time to catch-up for a coffee. It’s a great time to start or continue those conversations which may open new opportunities.
– Jannine Fraser, Managing Director The Career Insight Group, Australia
Negotiate a Job Offer
Job offer negotiations are rarely easy. But job market complexity creates opportunities for people who can skillfully negotiate the terms and conditions of employment. Every situation is unique, but some strategies, tactics and principles can help you address many of the issues people face in negotiating with employers. Before you even begin salary negotiations with a prospective employer, you need to find out how much the job is worth – take the time to research salaries before you begin discussing pay. Being informed about the competitive job market will help prepare you to make your case.
Don’t underestimate the importance of likability; this sounds basic, but it’s crucial. This is about more than being polite; it’s about managing some inevitable tensions in negotiating, such as asking for what you deserve without seeming greedy. Don’t just state your desire for a higher salary but explain precisely why it’s justified, based on the value you can bring to the firm. It helps to consider the whole deal; to many people, “negotiating a job offer” and “negotiating a salary” are synonymous. But much of your satisfaction from the job will come from other factors you can negotiate. Focus on the value of the entire deal; job responsibilities, location, flexibility in work hours, support for continued education, and so forth. Finally, understand the constraints the employer may have and try to determine where they may have flexibility, whether it be in salary, benefits, time off, or work schedule flexibility. And remember, once you have received the offer, you don’t need to accept (or reject) it right away. A simple “I need to think it over” will allow you the time to fully assess the offer and determine if more negotiation may be warranted.
– Rob Croner, Vice President of Senior Executive Services at CCI Consulting, Blue Bell, PA
Put on Your Strategic Thinking Cap
I’m often asked by clients to assist with developing critical leadership skills. Strategic thinking usually tops the list, as companies need strategists to bring long-range thinking connected to achieving the organization’s strategy. More importantly, strategists create a road map to achieve an objective, and put a concrete plan in place that can be implemented successfully. This demonstrates the value of their strategic ideas and sound judgment. The best, most strategic leaders bring others along with them, giving them a clear understanding of why the strategy makes sense and how others can participate and contribute to get the work done. One of the ways to make yourself more visible and promotable in your organization right now is to consistently find ways to connect the work you do every day with the overall strategy of the organization.
You make yourself more valuable to your employer when you have a clear understanding of where the business is evolving and how you can best contribute your skills in making that happen. Learn, understand, and anticipate what the future may hold for your business, and get out in front of it with additional learning so you can provide those insights to your leadership team. Consider a certification or accredited professional development program to develop your strategic thinking skills. You will be on your way to a promotion in no time.
– Claire Edmondson, Vice President Client Solutions, CPI Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
Do visions of a better job and higher salary in 2019 automatically translate into seeking a position outside your current company? Maybe not. Are there internal executive coaching programs that you could explore to broaden your horizons and contribution to the organization? With so much focus currently on talent development and retention, companies are getting increasingly creative to keep their best talent. Have you completed your Annual Review yet, with your accomplishments for 2018 and goals for 2019? Would that include going from Manager to Director; Director to VP? What action plans can you and your manager put in place (additional training, cross functional responsibilities, a mentor, professional certification, etc.) to ensure an increased level of responsibility and subsequent compensation?
Ask yourself, “What would need to change for this to be my perfect job?” and then see what, in fact, may be negotiable with your current employer. Perhaps you go from a fixed to a variable compensation plan, tied more to individual performance? Maybe you work from home 1 or 2 days per week to help alleviate a time-consuming commute? Have an ongoing, open dialogue with your manager and check your company’s intranet for training opportunities, succession planning options & internal job openings.
Before you succumb to “the grass is always greener on the other side,” take a look inward to your current organization. The opportunities may surprise you.
-Bill McCann, Executive Search Consultant at CCI Consulting, Blue Bell, PA
Evaluate Your Priorities
Very few of us are truly self-aware. We are shaped by many things – our experience, our views, our fears – and it’s difficult to see yourself as others see you. From a career perspective, being self-aware means understanding your real (not your self-perceived) strengths and what you have to offer in the workplace. It also means being honest with yourself about what truly makes you happy at work. For example, pushing yourself to achieve a senior level role when you know that many of the tasks and responsibilities of that job have little appeal to you, is only going to make you unhappy and stressed. Similarly, taking on a level of financial responsibility that requires you to do a job you hate just to earn the money you need sets you off on a path of misery for a large part of your life. Consider also that, if you are a free spirit, the benefits and possibilities of working within a large corporate organization may well be offset by how constrained you will feel when your life at work means following a rigid set of rules and processes.
Of course, it can be hard to be honest with ourselves, but in the context of career planning it can be life-changing. Really knowing yourself and what makes you happy is the foundation of making a great career plan and to getting your life and work in balance.
– Lynne Hardman, CEO Working Transitions, London UK