Where To Begin? The REAL Facts About Searching For a Job

Clients come to see me for a wide range of reasons. Because I’m a career specialist, they usually want to talk about their jobs, their workplaces, and how to change something to make things work better for them. I expect to have an honest and open conversation, but sometimes things aren’t all they seem when we first start chatting. The reason some clients give for booking an appointment might not be the real issue. It can turn out to be something altogether different. Which is why coming to see a Career Specialist can bring real value to people who are stuck and don’t know what to do next.

Let’s look at a real example:

Clients will often start a conversation by saying:

“I’ve been thinking about changing jobs for a long time, but I don’t know where to begin.”

Now I know that at face value, that’s simply not true for most people. We all pretty much know that if you want to change jobs, the process looks like this:

  • You update your CV
  • Find a job that you want to apply for
  • Write a cover letter
  • Submit an application

You wait to hear if you’ll get an interview. If you have, you show up and do the best you can to answer the questions you get asked. You then wait to hear if you’ve been successful or not. If not, then it’s a ‘rinse and repeat’ situation and you go through the process again with another job you are interested in. The process has been pretty much the same for a very long time.

So why do people say that they ‘don’t know where to begin’? Let’s look at things more closely.

With the “I don’t know where to begin” statement, the issue is seldom about not knowing what to actually do. It’s usually about a range of other things. And these things directly relate to the reason why a person wants to change jobs in the first place.

To get to the point of wanting to change jobs, any number of things could be happening for the person concerned:

  • They might feel stuck and don’t think they are growing professionally or personally
  • They might not feel challenged anymore, so the job has lost some of it’s excitement for them
  • It might feel like they’re not heading in the right career direction, but don’t know how to make a change, or what to change to
  • They might be keen to get promoted but aren’t getting the opportunities to do so
  • They might want to achieve a better work/life balance
  • They might feel like they’re not heading in any particular direction, and don’t understand the value that they bring

Most of these things will undermine a person’s confidence in themselves and in their ability to make good decisions. This can lead to a loss of confidence in being able to choose the ‘right’ thing to do next to get out of their current situation.

Which is why understanding the real reasons why a person wants to change jobs is a great starting point. It will provide greater clarity about the choices that need to be made. More importantly, it will remove fears around possibly making a mistake, and give more confidence in the Job Search Process.

When I work with clients, I call this kind of exploration a ‘Scoping Exercise’. We explore or scope out a wide range of things that might be driving the decision to change jobs in the first place. Once a person is clear about these, it is easier to identify what to do next and how to do it in a way that leads to successful outcomes.

From there, it’s a relatively straight forward process to put together a Job Search Action Plan that is focussed on changing the things that will make a real difference. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the process itself and not knowing where to start and what to do, people are empowered to do the best things for themselves.

The next time you hear yourself say: “I want to change jobs, but I don’t know where to begin”, step back and challenge that thought. Then ask yourself two questions:

What has actually been going on for me at work?

Why do I want to change jobs?

Referring back to the reasons given above might give you some starting points.

If you’d like to book in a Scoping Session in order to explore for yourself, give me a call at the number below or via the website. A regular scoping session takes about two hours. It will take you beyond the “I don’t know where to begin” to “When can I start?”

Creating the future you want for yourself is about taking the right steps to make it happen.

If Career Development is in your ‘Important’ category and you want help to get started, or continue the process, phone or email Janet to book an appointment.

Janet Tuck

Career Management Specialist
M: +64 21 526 387
E: janet@careerclinic.co.nz