So That’s COVID Over Then?

Maybe, as we come out of lockdown, you’re wondering where to go next with your career. Lots of people probably are thinking the same so take a look at some ideas that may change the way you approach this and help you stand out from the crowd.

1.   Do the Prep

There’s nothing quite like being properly prepared when it comes to switching jobs. I don’t just mean getting your CV in shape – that’s only one small part (albeit very important). Instead I think you should be preparing yourself and that means really getting to grips with what makes you tick and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Frequently I advise clients to complete a Career Drivers questionnaire. Find out what aspects of a job are actually important to you. You can’t just sit down and write a list – that won’t get at the underlying psychology that is YOU and how that is driven.

If you can’t find one then, even at the more basic level, you should at least try and analyse what things are really important – material reward | status | security | expertise | autonomy and so on. Do you want to be office-bound or in the open air? How much interaction with customers do you enjoy?

Frequently, after perhaps several years in a role, we forget to look at these aspects of ourselves but getting them right makes a work position much more satisfying. Certainly during lockdown many people have realised that their existing job isn’t meeting these fundamental needs. And, guess what? If we aren’t fulfilling fundamental needs then stress will build up and it’s not a good place to be for your mental health.

2.   Knowing What You Want

You really like structure and predictability? Then it’s no use chasing after roles where that isn’t part of the offer. Knowing WHY you like predictability or, on the other hand, WHY NOT is going to help you understand what jobs to look for. That means you don’t get stuck in merely looking at roles that are like those where you have been.

Similarly, what is it about being the guru or subject matter expert that you like or hate? Forget the normal language of a job advert – they are pretty meaningless in my experience. Instead start asking yourself what sorts of outcomes you enjoy delivering and why. They could be being great at saving costs or alternatively building terrific quality into solutions to complex problems. The list can be as long as you want it to be but don’t stop at just two or three things.

3.   Same Again or Something Different?

It’s a great fantasy that people are only good at jobs they have done lots of times before. Cognition – being able to recognise what is going on and make sense of it – is a huge asset at any level. I’d always hire cognition above repetitive experience, especially at senior levels.

I remember some years ago pointing out to the directors of a business that some process software they were looking to build already existed. They were too blinkered to understand that their world was only slightly different from another where the same problems had already been overcome. If they’d bothered to look outside they would have saved several £millions and got to the end result far sooner.

Use that analogy on yourself. What have you done that is actually transferable? Take the industry-specific labels off and what are you left with?

Now you can start to bring that self-knowledge together and write a Job-Spec that utilises those strengths and desires. Use that Job-Spec as the benchmark to measure the jobs out there. The closer the match to you, the more likely you will be a success in the role AND, being frank, you will also know how to explain to a recruiter WHY that’s so.

4.   Personal Style

We’re not talking about dress sense here. Instead it’s how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. How we interact with other people and so on.

You ought to be able to talk about yourself on several dimensions. You may have come across Jungian psychology in the workplace – through the use of Myers-Briggs assessments. If you haven’t – then go and look them up because we are all somewhere on the spectrum for each of four paired dimensions. How those attributes stack up affect how good we are at performing under different circumstances. You should also have a look at Belbin profiles – there’s plenty on their website about team roles (without having to pay for a formal assessment) that will allow you to get a better understanding of your own style and how that may interact with others who are different.

There are plenty more inventories out there – of varying quality. Just don’t assume that knowing how you stack up on one is sufficient. Compare and contrast the results for several, they will tell you a lot more when you look at how they are weaving together to make up the person that is you.

5.   Talk to Your Colleagues

The wise person knows what others think about how they are to work alongside. You don’t have to do it in a way that tells them “I’m off on a job hunt” but you really ought to know how you are perceived. Don’t assume that they are wrong either. Colleagues have their own styles and perceptions and they see you through those filters. So be prepared to accept what they are telling you as truth.

Then sit back and look at how that compares with the self-image and understanding you already have.

Here’s an example. The guy or girl who thinks they are a great communicator may be terrific at presentations but not everyone prefers to receive information in the same way. There are those who prefer written medium (emails and notes) compared to a quick phone call or zoom. Others want more data, some less so. None of these are right or wrong but if you can’t work out a path to communicate with everyone around then you are missing out on the talent that might bring to the table.

Bring it all together

Once you have all this information and insight, then you can start to plan your moves. The rest is relatively easy, even though it may take some time to find the right slot. That just requires determination but, since you know what your destination looks like and why it’s the right one for you, you’ll almost certainly get there.

So Now What?

The author has decades of experience in bringing about transformations so if you’d like a conversation then get in touch. If you’d like more information on transforming a business then you can also follow this link.

Rob Wherrett can be contacted at

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