Articles and News

what before how


I’ve recently noticed that some clients come to me looking for support on how to change jobs.  They want to know how to write a great CV or how to ace an interview or ideas for how to get recruiters to call them back …  Now whilst I CAN do this and, like most career coaches I DO do this, this is oftentimes the WRONG thing to do.


It is most certainly the wrong thing to do if you haven’t spent some good time and brain power deciphering the what of your job change.

What's What

Let me ask you this: why are you looking to change jobs? 


Maybe you’re not getting the recognition you deserve.  Maybe you’re feeling demotivated.  Maybe you can’t progress in your current company.  Maybe your line manager has left and you don’t like the new one.  Maybe you’re no longer aligned to the organisational strategy … 


I mean, there are SO many reasons for looking to change.  But … this is where you need to be careful.  The discomfort caused by all of the above can create the impetus to leave but where are you heading and how do you know if it’s in the right direction?


This is where you need to do the work.  What are you moving towards?

Getting to What

The first step is to diagnose what you’re moving away from.  What is the cause of your discomfort?  It may be that you don’t need to change job or organisation but you just need to tweak or reframe something about your current situation.  To get a handle on this, you can download my simple career health check tool.


The second step is to strip away your “work persona” and get back to what truly lights you up and what is truly important to you.  I use an energising strengths assessment with clients (find a free version here), a values exercise and we work towards creating a career purpose.  This stage can be summarised with the following questions:


  • What are you really good at?  (what stuff do people always get you to do because you’re the best at it)
  • What really lights you up and energises?  (what stuff always gets crossed off your to-list first because you love doing it so much)
  • What do you want your career to be all about? (what do you want people to be saying at your retirement do?)


The final step is to generate a LOAD of career possibilities that could suit you based on the second step above.  Really go to town here and generate possibilities from the sublime to the ridiculous.  Smallholding farmer and famous middle-aged British country singer are on my list!  Then start to narrow down your options and think about your future career timeline.  A great way to do this is to put your possibilities on post-it notes, draw out a timeline of the rest of your career and play around with where the post-it note possibilities could fit.

Moving to How

When you’re clear on what – and don’t forget, this could be a small tweak if that’s all that’s needed – only then should you move to how.  I can’t help you with your CV, interview technique and networking approach until you’re super-focused on what comes next.


If you want to explore your what a bit more, book a free Discovery Call here.


Get this weekly blog sent directly to your inbox, as well as receive a copy of my “Top 3 Ways to Boost Your Career Happiness Right Now,” by clicking here.