Planning Your Development - Finding Your Fit
You have landed a job in a good company. You have worked one to two years and now you are wondering where you go next. If you haven’t already read through Personal Development - Self Discovery (plenitudeco.com), I recommend starting there and then coming to review this post. Having a solid understanding of yourself will make finding your fit more effective.
Finding your best fit will involve research. There are three critical components you should consider your next career move: Company Culture, Ideal Leader, Growth Role. Getting these three to line up for your best fit make require patience and compromise.
Learn about the companies you find interesting. There are multiple places you can search to learn more about the companies that interest you.
The Company’s Website
Start with a review of each company’s website. Take note of the imagery but also read the About page. Read their mission and values. If a company does not align with your values this will not be a good fit. Most of these statements are noble, professionally written, and positive. I would urge you to consider if the company’s statements align with your top three values. Consider how your strengths from the SWOT could support the company. If there is a misalignment it is time to move to the next company.
Local News Stories
While companies may have a good intent with your mission and values it is important to check new stories to see if what is reported about them aligns with what you read on the about page. If you find something off-putting, I encourage you to find at least two more articles that confirm the story. Triangulation is important when looking for the truth from people’s opinions. If you find inconsistencies in the company’s mission and values compared to what has been reported – move to the next.
Company Review Sites
There are many sites out there where current and former employees can provide a review based on their experience. You will find information about salary, benefits, hours, and company culture. I will caution you to take this information with a grain of salt as it can come from upset employees. Also, consider the timing. There are good companies that monitor these sites and make changes based on the feedback. If the review is over a year old or seems to be coming from a place of hostility skip it. Triangulation will also be important on this topic. If you are finding that the company does not align with your expectations on salary, benefits, hours, and culture remove it from your list.
Who do you want to learn from? What do you want their values to be? Explain during an interview the type of person you want to learn from. Explain the coaching and mentoring you want to receive. During an interview it is easy to get caught up in trying to impress the recruiter to the point you forget what is important to you. This is why I call this topic out before you are applying for positions. Question what you are looking for in your boss, your team, and other mentors in the company. Having a profile written out before you start investigating jobs will keep you true to your needs. Once you have applied and start to interview come back to what you wrote down and ask about those characteristics.
Compare your SWOT analysis to available roles in the company you want to work for. Review the company’s career opening page. Look in the field you enjoy. I recommend considering two factors when reviewing roles: the strength to opportunity ratio and the potential for a career path.
Strength to Opportunity Ratio
If you throw yourself into a role that challenges, you in every opportunity for growth you will be miserable. If you take a role that matches all your strengths with no elements from your opportunity to growth, you will still be miserable. The strength to opportunity ratio should be 2 strengths to 1 opportunity. This will allow you to focus on your opportunity for growth topic. You will be able to pair your strengths when you struggle. Make a list of the openings that align with your SWOT with a 2:1 ratio for your strengths and opportunities.
Potential for a Career Path
There are some roles that may challenge you and meet the 2:1 Strength to Ratio but have no clear next step for your career. I try to look two roles ahead. This does not mean going from an individual contributor to becoming the supervisor for a team. Not everyone is interested in people management. And if you do not have a calling or passion for it, I do not recommend those roles. A career path could be effective taking a tour in several lateral roles in the same job family (Finance, Operations, Sales, etc.). My recommendation is to review a role to ensure you can see a path for yourself on what the next role will be.
As you look for your best fit consider how long you are willing to wait to for all criteria to line up. The sooner you want to make this change the more likely you will have to make some concessions. You may have to let one or two of the aspects from Company Culture, Ideal Leader, or Growth Role be less than ideal. You may have to consider a salary or location change. Be honest with yourself about what you ARE and ARE NOT willing to compromise. Working through this process you will find your best fit rather than feeling you must force yourself into a mold you do not fit in. Sometimes finding your best fit requires fitting out instead of fitting in.
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