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Career versus job: Don’t burn your bridges

Updated: 01 Mar 2014
Job hopping for pay may offer a short-term gain, but it can be detrimental to your career long-term and even negatively impact your personal brand in the jobs market, warns recruiting experts Hays.
“The job-for-life culture is long gone, but it seems that some candidates have gone one step too far with a rapid succession of jobs,” says Marc Burrage, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong. “We’ve even seen cases of candidates accepting a job but then withdrawing before the start date to commence another job that offers only a very slight increase in salary.  
“Money is the motivating factor for these candidates, but this is a short-term gain. Employers are now starting to pass over candidates who have held three or four permanent jobs over the past six years. Given not only the cost but time involved in inducting and training a new staff member, employers want to hire a stable and loyal candidate rather than take a risk on a candidate who is likely to resign after only a short time in the role.
“So rather than progressing quickly through a series of jobs offering a slight salary increase, candidates are advised to instead focus on their long-term career. Think about your career goals and look for opportunities that will develop your career in the direction you wish to pursue. In this way, you will expand your skills and expertise and ultimately achieve your long-term career goals. 
“This will also ensure that your personal brand in the market remains positive since you will gain a reputation of loyalty.
“It’s also worth considering that as a result of your expanding expertise, your salary will naturally rise over time.”
For anyone unsure of how to plan for their long-term career, Hays suggests you create a career ‘map’ by:
  1. Firstly, examine your current role. Write down your job title, salary and benefits, key responsibilities, existing skills, future prospects and potential for skill development.
  2. Then, use this to consider your long-term goals. List at least five goals and a date by which to achieve each. Make sure each goal is specific, challenging, realistically achievable, actionable and measurable. (If you need help with your goals, see below for a list of goal-setting questions.)
  3. Next, plan for your career future. For each of the next one, three and five years, list the job title and salary/benefits you wish to achieve, the responsibilities you would like and the skills you will need, in order to achieve your goals.
  4. Then you can create a detailed action plan. Determine the objectives and skills you need in order to achieve each of your one, three and five-year career goals. Determine how you will go about successfully achieving each goal. For example, could you chair meetings, manage projects or train others in an area of proficiency? Could you seek a mentor, attend short courses or workshops or learn by watching the high-performers in your company or industry?
25 goal setting questions
            Future ideals:
            Who would I like to become?
            What character traits would I like to develop?
            What would I like to accomplish over the next 1-2 years?
            Developing my skills:
            Which existing skills am I proud of?
            When have I been commended for my skills/behaviour at work?
            Which existing skills would I like to develop/master?
            Which new skills would I like to learn?
            Can I see a way to achieve these skills?
            Resources to achieve goals:
            Who do I need to contact/speak to who could help?
            Who would I like to meet to help my personal development?
What mentors do I already know who could help me?
What other resources could I use that I don’t already use?
My work environment
In which environment do I work best?
How do I interact with others, and could this be improved?
What limiting fears do I want to overcome?
In which areas do I feel I need to improve?
What aspects of my working life do I want to change?
What are my strengths in the workplace?
Money matters
How much do I want to earn and save per month?
What aspects of my lifestyle are dependent on my earnings?
What material things could I afford with this money?
Personal life
How important is money when I look for a job?
What things do I want to do in my free time?
How will these enrich my life?

What is most important to me in terms of work/life balance?

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