You have a great job. You’ve been the cornerstone of your team for a while now (7 years, give or take). But recently you’ve been experiencing some serious FOMO when it comes to your career. Maybe you’re not picking up any new skills or the work just isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Whatever the reason, this feeling of boredom or need for change is common, and often referred to as the 7 year itch. If you’re ready to scratch it, here are 7 steps to guide you back into the job market:
1. Update your resume.
You may have been that lucky one who got an internship at your current company and never looked back. That’s great. But adding your current responsibilities to your old resume won’t do you any favors. List your professional experience chronologically, with your latest experience first. Make sure the company name, your title and dates are clearly visible. Every lateral movement or promotion must be clearly documented. After all, you’re painting a picture of your success! Also be sure to include a technical skill section that gives the hiring team a quick glance at your core skills.
2. Determine the purpose of your job search.
Take the time to think about this one. This is the answer to a common interview question: ‘Why are you looking for a job?’ Many experienced professionals stumble when trying to answer. Make sure you don’t by having a clearly defined purpose. Bring your passion to learn, grow, lead a team, etc. into play. Compensation is definitely important, but don’t lead with it as a motivator. It can give off the wrong impression to HR professionals and hiring managers.
3. Consider compensation and benefits.
A higher compensation shouldn’t be your only motivator, but you do need to make sure you get a well-rounded package. You are in the market looking to leverage 7+ years of experience in the field. Don’t undervalue yourself. If you’re job searching in New York (or any of these states or cities), employers can’t ask you what you’re currently making due to the salary history ban. Do your research on industry averages so you’re prepared to negotiate what you deserve. Use tools like Glassdoor and PayScale to benchmark pay.
Additionally, when you receive an interview call from a recruiter/HR, don’t forget to ask for the complete benefits package. Take time to understand/ask for detailed information about insurance, 401(k), HSA accounts, commuter benefits, stock options, PTO and sick days, work from home days, etc. Prioritize what you want and it will help you make the best decision for yourself.
4. Be open to video resumes and video interviews.
Do not be surprised if your potential employer wants to interview you via Skype or other video call options. It’s the new norm and you need to be flexible. Another industry trend to consider is the use of video resumes. These 2-3 minute videos supplement the traditional resume and give employers a quick glimpse of your skills and personality.
5. Leverage social networking.
We all know about LinkedIn and online job boards, but are we using them effectively? Use your accounts to set email alerts for new job openings that match your criteria. Make sure to update your LinkedIn profile with a professional picture and any certifications/trainings and awards/recognition that you’ve received throughout your career. Additionally, be sure to turn on the “Let Recruiters Find You” option under Career Interests to get noticed on LinkedIn.
6. Don’t underestimate traditional networking.
Never underestimate the power of traditional networking. Reach out to your ex-colleagues, mentors, alumni network and contacts you’ve made in the last 7 years. You never know who will end up connecting you to your dream job!
7. Find a great agency recruiter.
More and more companies are outsourcing their internal recruitment processes to employment agencies. Don’t be shy; engage with agency recruiters that specialize in your industry. Agency recruiters work with a variety of companies and have a good pulse on the job market and industry. Utilize them as a key resource for resume and online profile polishing and interview prep. Additionally, let them guide you through compensation packages and find a job that checks all of your boxes in terms of responsibilities, pay and company culture.
The 7 year itch can be overwhelming. Use our 7 step guide to ease back into the job market and subscribe to our newsletter for monthly career advice and job search tips.