Sounds crazy, but the moment you get a job offer it’s wise to start preparing for your departure. Let’s face it, on average, most people only ever work for a few years at each job.
You may think you’ll spend your entire career at this job, but things change. Office cultures change, our personal lives change, our career ambitions change.
Think about it. Has everything worked out perfectly in your life? Even if close, chances are good there have been some variations.
It’s important to prepare for the unexpected bumps. It’s important to have contingencies. You will experience the bumps and you will need contingencies to adapt your plans.
Celebrate your new job, but be smart about your next steps to protect this career you have worked so hard for. Here are some suggestions:
Consider Your Timeline
You may not have a definitive idea of how long you will stay at this job. But you should at least think about a range. This helps you prepare for the next move immediately and keeps your vision in focus.
Some professionals desire longevity with employers – even an entire career with one. Others want to experience new settings and challengings at certain markers.
How about you? How long do you want to work for this employer? Once you establish that, think about some contingencies.
What will you do if in five years you are laid off or fired? What will you do if you sustain an injury and can’t work as much or your spouse needs to accept a job transfer?
It’s so much easier and less stressful to plan your timeline now than when in crisis mode.
Create An Accomplishments Journal
Every career-minded professional should keep an accomplishment journal. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but fill it with achievements, wins, and accomplishments.
Not just awards or recognition you receive – those are rare! I am talking about on-the-job, every-day things you do that make a difference for your employer, co-workers, and clients/customers.
Maybe it’s new training or skills that expand your abilities. It could be a cost-saving measure for your employer. Perhaps it’s a new protocol or system you develop and implement.
Save those in your journal. They are gold nuggets of content for your resume, cover letter, future job interviews, and more.
If you can’t take the time to record things as they happen, do it on some kind of interval that works for you. This could be weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. Schedule it on your phone if that helps you remember.
I wouldn’t recommend yearly. If you wait too long, you risk forgetting. Plus we all need little reminders of the great work we do. A regular review of yours will build your confidence and stimulate the creativity of what’s next.
Create a Testimonial Journal
I’ve said many times there is great power in testimonial sheets as a tool for landing a job. But just like your accomplishments, if you don’t collect them as they happen you may lose them.
Testimonials can be recorded from things people say to you or write about you. Of course, keep patient privacy intact. But most patients are happy to provide a testimonial of how great you are.
Instead of creating separate journals for testimonials and accomplishments, why not keep them together? That keeps everything in one place and forces you to look at it more often.
Target and Watch for Your Dream Job
Keep a short list of offices you would love a shot at working for. I would say start with five to 10 offices. Keep track of their movements, key personnel, new products or services.
Make it very apparent, you are interested in them. Send them an updated resume yearly, and look for excuses or reasons to connect with key personnel.
This practice may also help you weed out one or two you really don’t want to work for. Lots of companies seem great on the surface until you dig a little deeper.
It may be months or years before the right opportunity presents itself. When it does you’ll be ready and because they already know you may just skip an official announcement and offer you the job.
Create, Maintain, and Repair Relationships
When you have a solid job in place, it’s the perfect time to strengthen all your contacts. This could be as simple as maintenance, but also including mending some fences.
This is networking at it’s finest because you don’t need a new job. Your intentions can be perceived as purer or less contrived. You can truly help people and build up a reservoir of goodwill with your connections.
Set Some Goals
Once the new job shine wears off you’ll need some things to keep you motivated to grow as a professional. Goals are a great way to do that.
Create a set of goals in several categories. Examples might include areas of communication, mastering new techniques, learning about or how to use cutting-edge tools.
And just as the experts will tell you, set short term and long term goals with lots of feedback in between. Goals only work if they are measured for progress.
No one wants to think about the next job when you just landed one. But it makes a huge difference for your career. And gives you the confidence to grow and prepare yourself for the future.
Doug Perry is an expert resume writer and job search coach. He and his wife, Tracie, who is a dental hygienist, created GetHiredRDH in response to the challenging dental hygiene job market and have helped thousands of dental hygienists through tips and individual services. If you need individual, click here to contact Doug.