This statement might seem a little counterintuitive considering the role I perform but do bear with me.
As a recruiter I want to know that by the time you reach out to me that the reason you want to leave is a) genuine, and b) not a knee jerk reaction to something that has upset you. Are you looking for career development? Progression? The opportunity to test yourself in a new environment or sector? Or have you finished a period of transformation?
What is important to consider is that when you are unhappy in your role it is a lot easier to start looking for another job than to try and resolve the issues you may have. It is human nature to avoid confrontation and avoid possible rejection. However, regardless of your level within your business, where possible you should try to resolve the issues you have first.
The question that you should always ask yourself is (as you almost certainly will be asked by your consultant):
“Is there anything your current company can do to keep you?”
Not a single thing?
If you have ever spoken to me about your career (or read my blogs!) you will know I am a fan of a list! So...
Write a list:
From that list, what can you actually control? What is out of your control?
Someone moving just for money or citing this as their primary reason for leaving is a big warning bell for any good consultant. The potential for a counter offer being accepted is high and we don’t want to be in a position where that happens to our client.
If you feel that you are not valued, that you are underpaid or that your salary and package are not reflective of your role and responsibilities, put together a business case with evidence. Then have a conversation! Ask the question. Ask for the raise you would like (be reasonable!) and use the information you have gleaned to support your case.
You cannot control the outcome of this conversation but it is a conversation that you can initiate. It needs to be considered and non-confrontational.
You might be surprised with the response or you might not be, but at least you asked. You will either have an increase, or objectives to hit in order to get an increase, or you will know that there will be no increase (This will be helpful when you do leave and they come back with a counter offer, but that’s for another post!).
I read somewhere that a career is something you look back on and not something you have whilst you are doing it. What it does not mean is that you shouldn’t have a plan or a roadmap of where you want to be and what you want to achieve. It’s fundamentally important that you analyse and plan where you are versus where you want to be.
Have you sat down and looked at your skills and experiences? Analysed those in relation to your career path?
What do you want to achieve? Where are the gaps?
What experiences do you want to have and to what end does your current role afford you the opportunity to develop those skills and capabilities?
Most importantly BE HONEST!
Most companies know that the best people will be there for a short period of time and that the only way to keep hold of top talent is to give them the opportunity to develop and fulfil their growth ambitions.
If you have a career plan then you can look at the opportunities within your organisation and identify where you can apply yourself. Speak to your director/boss/board about where there are other ways for you to be challenged and what they may know that you don’t. Leaning in is not just for women.
Don’t be afraid to be selfish when it comes to your longer term career goals. If you want to gain experience then sometimes the organisation you are in is a good place to start. Equally, if these opportunities are not there, then you have to move to where you can get the career progression and personal fulfilment you want.
This also helps with interviews. You will inevitably be asked why you are looking to leave and what you have done to correct or remedy some of the reasons you give. Demonstrating your willingness not to avoid challenging situations presents you in a much stronger light to recruiters and companies alike. Both will expect a solid answer, the more reasoned and considered the response, the more genuine your interest will seem.
Note: Obviously, this does not factor in being called about your dream job. But if you know where you are and what your overarching goals and aspirations are, then you will be able to make a more rational and pragmatic decision.