When It’s Time to Go: The Decision Filter to Use Before Scouring the Job Boards

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When It’s Time to Go: The Decision Filter to use Before Scouring the Job Boards

By: Meredith Masse

Through our compassionate outplacement work, we at ICC support hundreds of professionals each year after they have been let go from their companies for any number of reasons. But what happens when the decision to leave is yours to make and not the companies? How do you make sure you are moving towards something great and not just leaving something not good?

If you are certain that your next role will be the same just within a new company, read no further. 

If, however, you want to be sure the next role and company are a much better fit for you, it’s time to be intentional about what those opportunities look like. Before you spend any time on job boards and networking, take time to get very clear on these three elements of your next job:

1. The What. This is not your job title, but rather exactly what you do in your role that uses the best of what you have to offer and adds value to the company. First, think about your strengths and natural talents. What does your brain do best? How do you get to do more of that in your next day job so that work feels a little less like, well, work? 

Also, take inventory of all your current skills. Which of those do you want to apply in your next role? Beware, however, of spending time touting skills that you have gained but don’t derive great satisfaction from using. For example, if in your last role you learned how to excel in analyzing lines and lines of data, but you would rather stick a hot poker in your eye than do that again, be careful how you frame those skills on your resume, on your LinkedIn profile and even in networking conversations. Focus on highlighting strengths and skills for which you want to be known as the “go-to person.” 

Once you pinpoint your strengths and the skills you want to apply, only then start to assign roles and job titles to what you do best.

2. The Why. I truly believe every working adult wants to know that their contributions matter, that their work is meaningful. So, what’s your “why?” It’s important to consider this before you land in a role that you could perform at a very high level only to realize that the work you are contributing is going towards an end result that is not important or not of interest to you.

Think about where you want to make your ultimate impact. Is it with people? Then my next question is, who are the people. Who will benefit from your efforts? 

Maybe you want your efforts to support advancing a body of knowledge. For someone else, this might mean finding the cure for cancer through conducting research and clinical trials, but your “why” may be entirely different. 

The beauty is that you get to decide what meaningful work looks like for you.

3. The Where. Visualize the specifics of where you get to do your best work. Do you prefer to work alone or with other people? If you work with others, who are they and what do you have in common? What about your boss? How does he or she show up as a great manager? How about the values of the organization? What will those look like and are they in alignment with your own?

The more specific your description of these three items, the better. This, then, becomes your decision filter as you start to look for what fits your criteria for that next great role. 

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