A job for life. Such a thing no longer exists. The reality today: hunting for and changing jobs on a regular basis, lifelong learning, continuing education, or even gaps in your CV – including switching careers and sectors. Granted, this sounds like a threat to some: little security, frequent relocations, turmoil to deal with. But don’t let that worry you. It sounds worse than it actually is. In fact, this new and flexible working world harbours additional and often unforeseen opportunities.
What is most obvious is that the strict, linear careers of the past are disappearing in favour of flexible styles of work with diverse teams and projects, working from home and the option to pursue one’s career in different places and at ideal times. More than a few will eventually become self-employed specialists, enabling them to become their own boss.
If nothing else, you can also go about your job search in a much more relaxed fashion. The decision you make today does not tie you down for the next 40 years of your career.
There are, however, a few things you should know and keep in mind when searching for jobs.
Phase 1 of the job search: getting your bearings
Take plenty of time to determine your ideal sphere of activity, regardless of whether you have just graduated from school or university or are already in the middle of your career. After all, today’s possibilities are diverse, there are many alternatives and the paths can, at first glance, appear to twist and turn.
How do I find a job that’s right for me?
You should always keep these three factors in mind when looking for a job:
1. Motivation: Do you have a passion for figures and spreadsheets, or were you just good at maths at school? In the former case, a career as a controller or CFO is certainly advisable. In the latter case, it may become a joyless job in which you are eventually left counting down the hours in the day. Those who have a profound interest in their daily work will have a much greater chance of a stellar career and lasting enjoyment in their profession than those who merely focus on the outcomes or opportunities of a specific occupation.
2. Talent: Suppose you have been an insatiable bookworm since childhood. You love good stories and love to think up your own too. But unfortunately your talent is seriously limited such that no book lover could be expected to read your writing. Despite your enthusiasm, you would be very well advised to steer away from a career as a writer if this is the case. Translation: be self-critical before the actual job search, be completely open and honest in analysing your own strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, you want to succeed at whatever you do on a full-time basis. Those who select certain professions because they want to impress their friends or please their parents are rarely doing themselves any favours. After all, YOU – not your friends – will be the one in this profession for years to come. But the truth is that talent often still has to be discovered and nurtured. In addition, there are many professions that demand experience and many years of practice over extraordinary talent. So don’t worry about making the wrong decision for the rest of your life. There are plenty of professions out there that are right for you. Some may even just be emerging now.
3. Overall conditions: Even a job that seems to fit like a glove can make you unhappy. For example, if it achieves little, seems empty and pointless to you, or eats away at your personal life. You should therefore take the overall conditions into consideration and consider what is especially important to you: a good salary, a good location, a good working atmosphere, working for a good cause or balancing work and family, for example. Perhaps you have the heartfelt desire to carry on the family tradition. Ultimately, you are the only person who can set priorities in your job search.
Phase 2 of the job search: research
After clicking through managerial vacancies, you will quickly discover professions you never even knew existed. Professions come and go. Some die. Others are yet to be born.Three questions you should ask yourself
- What occupational profiles are there that I was not aware of up to now?
- Which occupational profiles match my skills and interests?
- Which careers offer prospects and have a future?
HERE is a free checklist of additional questions.
The future viability of a profession is constantly affected by new developments in technology, politics and society. The rise of social media, for example, has brought about positions for social media managers that are now a permanent fixture at many companies. You should therefore not overlook long-term trends during your decision-making process.
For example, the demographic shift in Switzerland and across Europe is resulting in a population that will rapidly age over the next several decades. For this reason, it is relatively likely that professions in geriatric care will offer stable prospects.What this means for you:
When looking for a job, you should take the widest possible survey of industries and professions relevant to your sphere of work and then consider the future prospects of each. Take in all of the relevant information you can find. Research in databases, studies, statistics, press releases and social networks.
Phase 3 of the job search: the decision
Students and career starters can jump in at the deep end by doing internships and taking part-time jobs to test out their affinity for a particular industry.
Seasoned professionals, however, often find it much more difficult to change positions or careers altogether. After all, they are giving up a position and, in turn, a certain level of security and stability.
Our advice: if the following four statements ring completely true for you, it’s time to seriously consider changing careers or sectors.
4 reasons to change jobs
- You cannot imagine doing this job for the next ten years.
- You feel under-challenged and undervalued in your job.
- You don’t identify with the company, its products or its aims.
- You are mentally robust and have the support required in your personal life to take on an adventure with an unknown outcome.