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Thinking job change?

Do your homework well. One bad move can mess up your entire career.

Saumya Bhattacharya | Print Edition: April 4, 2010

First rule of job hunt: Be sure of why you want to leave a job. HR experts caution against any desperation to leave the current job and take up any offer that might come up your way. Just because you're unhappy in your current job isn't reason enough to change your job. Carefully analyse what exactly the problem is in your current job: does the issue lie with your role, your boss or your stagnant career?

Caution Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams, Associate Professor and Research Associate respectively at the Harvard Business School: "Candidates not only skimp on research in the belief that the grass has to be greener elsewhere but also fail to look strategically at their current companies for opportunities that might exist for them."

Plan your job moves as meticulously as you do your finances. Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder-CEO, Info Edge India, which runs popular job portal Naukri.com, likens career to financial investment. "The biggest mistake at the time of job hunting is that people look for returns whereas they should understand the risks involved." This is more true of entry-level executives who are not well informed about their job choice. Bikhchandani terms it as "snacking on jobs". "Young executives, mostly from not-so-good B schools, at the beginning of their careers try a few jobs before figuring out what works for them." Your job hunt will be only as good as your research. Be well informed about the financial stability of the company you are planning to work for and examine the role being offered carefully—the job title itself could be misleading.

Ask yourself if there is a clearly defined career path for you when you move into this role. HR experts cite instances of coveted roles in organisations getting redundant during last year's downturn. A careful assessment of risks involved will help you avoid setbacks. Carry out research about the culture of an organisation and decipher whether you will be a cultural fit. Eventually, your research will help you decode what you are good at, what you are interested in and where the opportunities are.

Groysberg and Abrahams, who recently conducted a research on the most common missteps of job hunters, put it in their research published in Harvard Business Review: "A hasty job change, made with insufficient information, is inherently compromised. When under time pressure, people tend to make certain predictable mistakes. They focus on readily available details like salary and job title instead of raising deeper questions, and they set their sights on the immediate future, either discounting or misreading the long term." What if you have taken up the wrong job? Cut your losses and move on, suggest Groysberg and Abrahams. "Don't hesitate to go down another road if it becomes evident that a certain kind of change won't be right."

 

ASK YOURSELF

1. What does this job involve and are the tasks to your liking?

2. Do you have the requisite skills to be a top employee in this job?

3. Are these the kind of people you would be comfortable working with?

4. What makes you different from other people vying for the same job?

5. Can you persuade the potential employer to hire you at a salary you need or want?

MUST DOs OF JOB-SWITCH

  • Do homework on your industry or function.
  • Pay attention to a potential employer's financial stability.
  • Don't leave a job only for an increase in compensation.
  • Make realistic assessment of your skills.
  • Assess how the job will fit into your career plan.

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