If you are considering a job change, an important first step is to acknowledge the dissatisfaction you feel with your current job or the desire for a new position. Most individuals move straight from personal reflection to job searching. Doing so neglects one of the most valuable assets in your career journey: the perspective of those invested in your success. Each of us has trusted colleagues, mentors, and family members we turn to for advice and perspective. Draw on this resource by engaging a select few to share their thoughts. Comparing their insights with your own self-perception yields an informed roadmap to your next position. We have three tips to guide you:
Be intentional. Send a personal email—or better yet, pick up the phone and ask if they would be willing to share some thoughts about your professional strengths and career aptitude. Give the an idea of what you are seeking so they have time to give thoughtful input. Schedule a time to talk (in person if possible) when you can be focused and uninterrupted.
Be specific. Ask about the skills and they see in you now and where they could see those skills taking flight in the future. Be clear that you are not only interested in positive feedback, but constructive criticism. In addition to specific questions about your inventory of skills, include open ended questions, inviting them to share any other thoughts they have.
Be appreciative. Thank them for their time, willingness to share, and investment in your success. Follow up your meeting with a hand-written note expressing your appreciation for the chance to connect and expressing what they mean to you. Whether they reinforced ideas you had or introduced new avenues to explore, you are fortunate to have a team of support behind you.