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Your Next Career Move; Stepping Up, Stepping Down and Everything in Between

WE ALL have moments in our career where we have a feeling that it might be time for a change.

Sometimes change is obvious, while at other times there are just as many reasons not to move jobs as there are to move. Whatever your current situation, there’s one thing none of us can escape, and that’s the fact that ‘there’s nothing as constant as change’!

In order to get ahead of the curve we need to think about our next career move in a careful and considered way, so this week’s blog does exactly that by highlighting the ins and outs of the most common directions you can take in your next career move.

Stepping Up

The first step is to define what role you want to target and assess how it fits with your longer term career goals.

This is the direction most people think they need to be heading in their career, however taking the next step up at any level can take time, so it’s advisable to start thinking about this type of move several months in advance of your preferred time frame.

The first step is to define what role you want to target and assess how it fits with your longer term career goals. Consider what the additional responsibilities will be and identify any gaps in your current experience or skill set. From here you can create a plan to address them, as you will need to demonstrate your readiness and match for the new level of responsibility.

Maximising opportunities within your present Company to fill gaps in your expertise should be a priority and to do this you could seek the assistance of your manager or find an internal supporter to identify opportunities for you to stretch your experience without actually changing jobs. Managing a project, for example, is an excellent way of gaining wider recognition and experience at a different level, as well as giving you a platform on which to display your potential.

In addition you might want to find things outside of work that will enlarge the way you think and give you confidence in your own abilities, such as joining a local charity or community group.

The other thing you should start doing is looking at job openings and speaking to your Recruitment Consultant about the jobs you want to go for next. That way they can give you a second opinion on how much of a gap there is between your current skill set and those of the people who are being employed into the types of jobs you’re going to be considering.

Stepping Down

For those who have sacrificed their lives to climb the career ladder there can come a point where stepping down a level or two can be quite an attractive proposition.

Mostly we like to consider our career as progressive, which in our most basic view of the world means constantly being promoted and earning more money.

However for those people who have sacrificed their lives to climb the career ladder there can come a point where stepping down a level or two can be quite an attractive proposition. For these people the best thing to do is speak to someone you trust, such as a respective peer or your Recruitment Consultant, to make sure that you’ve considered the implications of stepping down in full, and that you’ve left enough of a career door open to step back up again if you want to further down the line.

From a different perspective, those people who are thinking about stepping down in order to leverage a longer term goal, the questions and options associated with this type of career move can be a lot more complex.

It’s natural to question whether future employers will recognise and believe that anything other than a forward move will be seen as part of your personal progression. However, in the age of the modern business leader in UK Pharma, it’s becoming more common that people are taking a more strategic approach to managing their careers.

The other consideration here is ‘should I step down a level if my current job becomes redundant?’

The answer here is ‘if it could be right for you then you should consider this’.

However be prepared to have to work hard to convince others of this! Some interviewers will get your logic, others won’t. Those who may have been in a similar situation or who know someone who was will understand. They will also be confident enough in their own ability to look at someone who could have as much, or more, experience than them and see the value you can bring to their team and organisation. For other interviewers the negatives will outweigh the positives.

What is definite is to make make sure you’re clear about how you’re going to position yourself at interview to your next prospective manager.

Sideways Moves

Such a move (if done in the right way) is generally seen as a positive thing – after all it shows someone is able to change and evolve

It used to be the case that you couldn’t get a candidates’ attention unless there was a significant pay rise, promotion or other incentive in the offer, however those days are long gone and the ‘sideways move’ is by far the most common change in career we see at CHASE.

The good news is that such a move (if done in the right way) is generally seen as a positive thing – after all it shows someone is able to change and evolve – which is often seen as the ultimate tool to a long and prosperous career.

An important thing to consider if you’re moving across your current Company or within the industry is to make sure you’re prepared for the cultural differences your new job will bring.
For example if a job has a similar grade or salary, what could it lead to? What new skills will you learn? What will the next step after that be and what are the odds of you getting that next step (versus staying still where you are)?

The other thing to think about is how long the current team have been working at the potential new Company, and what their career paths have looked like. If you can see progression (when you check the staff out on LinkedIn) or you have good examples of success stories from your Recruitment Consultant, then chances are this could be a good long term opportunity.

Finally the Company’s own future is another important factor; what does their pipeline look like? Are there any major changes or launches being cited in shareholder reports? What has their growth rate been in recent years? If positive, all of these could be good indicators of opportunity for you to progress.

Stuck in the Mud

The first thing to consider is whether you really understand what’s making you feel negatively about your current job.

At some point in your career, there’s a chance you might feel like you’re in a rut. Maybe you took a job thinking that it’s a stepping stone, and years later, you’re still there and things haven’t progressed as you’d hoped. Or you have the feeling that your talents and abilities should be used in a totally different way.

If this happens to you and you feel stuck, there are still options for you to make a positive change.

The first thing to consider is whether you really understand what’s making you feel negatively about your current job. If you’re not 100% clear on this you run the risk of making the same type of decision that led to your current situation.

Any new job offer or interview can feel exciting and in turn this might make it seem like a good option, especially when you’re feeling stuck. So when you do get into an interview situation, make sure you undertake due diligence before you go too far down the line. If your previous career move didn’t work out make sure you talk to people who’ve worked at the new Company, and thoroughly research the organisation as much as you can before you make a final decision on whether to join them. UK Pharma and Healthcare is well connected so you won’t be too many connections removed from people who’ve either worked there or better still people who’ve worked for your new prospective boss.

Your Recruitment Consultant can also be a great source of support in times where you need to make good decisions. At CHASE we’re here to get you a positive outcome, so whatever your situation make sure you’re open with us and use us as a sounding board as much as you need

In Summary

At CHASE we work with a fantastic cross section of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Companies, and as our Recruitment team are all regionally based, we get to meet our clients and candidates face to face.

Managing your career well involves looking at a long-range picture of what you want out of life as much as your work.

They key is to ensure you don’t lose sight of what is most important to you and take your time when making these important decisions. If an opportunity doesn’t seem right, don’t worry. Something else will be just around the corner.

At CHASE we work with a fantastic cross section of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Companies, and as our Recruitment team are all regionally based, we get to meet our clients and candidates face to face. This gives us more knowledge and insight than traditional phone based Recruiters so make sure you utilise this expertise when it comes to making your next career move.

Kirstie Justice
Senior Recruitment Consultant; East & West Midlands inc. Northampton