Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The invisible age barrier: when am I too old to change jobs?

With rain pouring down, summer has really ended so time to start blogging again.

Today is a special day, today is the day that I turn 45. I strongly believe in the cliché that “40 is the new 30” combined with “you are only as old as you feel” …. but still, it feels like some sort of life milestone.

I don’t seem to be the only one who feels this way as I meet a lot of candidates who worry that at a certain age, you pass some kind of invisible barrier after which you are stuck in your job.  

We all know that we are expected to work into our late sixties while a lot of employers remain fixated on hiring people in their mid-thirties. But does this also mean that at some point, you are simply too old to change jobs?

The good news is that it is never too late to change jobs or even make an entire career shift, unless you want to become a ballet dancer or professional soccer player. The bad news is that reality shows that it is more difficult, especially if you are over 50.

Success lies in the way you approach a job or career change.
When you take the obvious route, where you randomly apply for jobs, chances are that you will receive rejection after rejection. Needless to say, that this will only reinforce the feeling that you are over the hill and stuck.

A much more strategic approach is called for.
It is imperative that you highlight the added value that you have acquired over the years. This can be a more coaching, learning-focused approach towards people management, a solid technical expertise, the mental rest you can transmit to a more junior team…
It is equally important that you combine this with proof that you are still eager, dynamic and linked to market trends and technology evolutions.
Once you have a clear view on those qualities that differentiate you from the crowd, it is time to start capitalizing on the network that you have built over the years. Those people can provide you with a personal introduction to headhunters, job brokers and potential employers.

Changing jobs after the age of 50 or even 60, might not be easy. And it may prove to be equally difficult to define your unique selling points or different ways to enter the job market. At that moment, it is a good idea to call a career counselor. He or she can help you to find the right way.

As for me, I am going to enjoy my special day, without worrying as to whether I am on the right career path. On the contrary: I took the time in these last few months to further develop Ingenium Executive Search. In the next few weeks, we will be launching a new website and some state-of-the art tools that will enhance both client and candidate experience. Stay tuned J

I look forward to hearing from you,

Through a personalized and tailor-made approach, Ingenium Executive Search aspires to assist you in attracting the right talent that matches the DNA of your company

Check out our website http://www.ingenium-search.be
Follow me on Twitter @IngeniumSearch

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 good reasons for exploring new job opportunities

One of the first questions I ask potential candidates is the reason why they are willing to talk to me.

Some people tell me that they engage in every conversation with a head-hunter because they want to explore the market and to see what is available. As much as I appreciate honesty, let’s face it, it will give me the impression that you act quite opportunistic and chances are that I am wasting my time.

Others will immediately inquire about the salary package, looking for a salary increase as main driver for switching jobs. Personally, I am not convinced that this is the best reason for exploring new horizons. Although there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your current compensation package, it gives me the feeling that you are available for the highest bidder without looking at the content of the job.

Nevertheless, there can be some very good reasons that justify exploratory conversations about a new job opportunity.

·       You no longer get along with your boss
The number one reason why people decide to leave their job is the bad relationship they have with their boss. The chemistry between you and your direct manager as well as the team spirit is crucial to being successful in a job.
It is important though to keep in mind that there is no need to spill your guts when you are talking to a potential employer. A short, objective narrative of the situation is usually more than enough.

·       You have reached the end of your learning curve
When you start a new job, you enter into a period of fast-paced adaptation, followed by a period in which you learn the finer details of your work. At a certain moment, you reach a level of mastery and the pace of your learning will slow down.
In order to advance your career, you could be looking to develop skills that will complete the ones you already master or you may want to expand your experience into other industries.

·       Your current job does not challenge you
Picture-perfect as it may seem, a job with just enough work to keep you busy, a job you can do on auto-pilot is not ideal. Bad work habits tend to pop up (the number of times you check your Facebook page is usually a good indicator) and may lead to inferior work. Research suggests that in the perfect job, you spend 20% of your time doing truly challenging, out-of-your-comfort-zone work. This provides you with enough challenge to keep you on your toes without leaving you overwhelmed and stressed-out.

The above reasons for considering a job change are all negative reasons: they are focusing on getting away from a situation. There are also positive reasons for being interested in a new job, reasons that have more to do with the attractiveness of the new position than with wanting to move away from your current job.

·       The opportunity is the perfect next step in your career
It may very well happen that I approach you with a position that is exactly the next step in your career that you have in mind. In this case, it is important to determine up front those factors that might convince you to take the jump.

·       The opportunity offers you a better work-life balance
This must be the reason that looks most trivial but that can play an important role in your overall happiness. When I approach you with a position that significantly reduces your commute time, it might be tempting to engage in the discussion. Here as well, it is important to bear in mind the aspects of a job and of an employer that you value and the concessions you are willing to make for a better balance.

All of the above reasons are perfectly legitimate reasons for considering other options. The essential part is that you have thought it through before starting to talk to head-hunters, recruitment agencies or future employers. After all, you want to give us the image of candidate who is consciously managing and building his or her career, not someone who gets bogged down in today's thinking.

As this is my last blog before the holidays, I want to wish you all a wonderful summer with time for family, relaxation, fun and laughter and maybe…. some time to think whether it is time for a job change…
I hope to welcome you again as one of my readers in September. I look forward to share with you some technology changes that will be implemented during the summer that should enrich your candidate and client experience.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Through a personalized and tailor-made approach, Ingenium Executive Search aspires to assist you in attracting the right talent that matches the DNA of your company

Check out our website http://www.ingenium-search.be

Follow me on Twitter @IngeniumSearch