Career Change Decisions
Weigh up all the factors. Rushing in to accept the first job offer you receive is ill advised, unless it is the one job out of all the real estate & built environment jobs you have interviewed for and have your sights set on. If your gut instinct tells you to take the job, then take it. Deciding whether to accept an offer or wait for another, or choosing between several offers, should be approached with the same meticulous care you have applied to the rest of your search. Remember, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. A little extra time considering may be very rewarding but you need to make your choice fast.
Firstly, be sure you consider your current employment as an offer – applying the same comparison criteria as any alternative offers you're considering. Now, relate these to what you have established as your minimum threshold, in terms of ambition, remuneration and prospects – bearing in mind which of these is most important to you. Contrast the staffing structures of the organisations you have offers from too.
Be Career Confident
- Do you know enough about the ages and plans of the partners/directors and how the fit with your own career?
- Is the firm financially secure with a bright future?
- Do the growth prospects/potential match your ambition?
- Will your new employer stretch you as your experience and expertise grows, or may your career be hampered?
- Does your new employer offer partnership/directorship opportunities and how hard are they to secure? (Partnership/directorship issues may not be important to you at this stage of your career)
- How will this change in career path, or opportunity to broaden your experience be viewed?
- Will your new job satisfy your career needs and be enjoyable?
If you have been offered the career and job of your dreams, your decision is easy. One method of deciding if the new job is right for you, is to write down the following questions and answer them:
- What are the positives about your new job?
- What are the negatives about your new job?
- What are the positives about your current job?
- What are the negatives about your current job?
Draw a 4 square grid on a piece of A4 paper then write in those headers. This is a great visual aid to help your decision making but remember to factor in the following elements:
- Benefits (car/pension/ life assurance/share options/etc)
- Career progression/ development
- Location and travel.
- Hours of work
- Job satisfaction
- Job Security
Finally, remind yourself why you were looking for a new job in the first place and check that the new role satisfies those reasons? It is also very important to talk the situation through with your partner or an impartial friend – ideally, somebody who is not positioned under your current employer.
Negotiate Your Job Offer
Accepting an offer is more than just saying ‘Yes’. First you should agree to terms verbally. By offering you a new job, the employer is acknowledging that you can contribute to his firm. Avoid letting gratitude carry you away and settle for less than you might be able to negotiate in relation to salary and conditions elsewhere.
Few people like to talk about money
To avoid disappointment in the written offer, you should look to agree financial terms prior to having them put in writing. To do this, it is best to get all non-contentious elements out of the way first. Are all other terms of the job satisfactory and as they have been described?
Is career progression defined and acceptable to you? Once the field is clear, the subject of money can be raised, first in terms of an approximate figure and then more specifically. Before your discussion is ended, you should have agreed upon a figure that commits both you and the employer.
How to Negotiate Salary
It is all too easy for either party to lose face at this closing stage of the hiring process and for the entire negotiation to break down. Consider the employer’s viewpoint and take care to be mindful of it.
Ask to see the offer confirmed in writing and establish that you expect the employer to refrain from taking up references until you have accepted.
References should be no more than double-checking a decision already taken and the employer ought not to prejudice your current situation unnecessarily.
(In some firms, an offer will be contingent upon either satisfactory references, or the results of a medical examination, or both).
You must warn your referees they will be contacted and by whom. It is also wise to confirm what they will say (you may want to offer an alternative description that better reflects the job you are starting).
Make sure you know of and agree to those compensation and conditions in advance. Otherwise, you could find you have resigned one post, only to have your new job opportunity fall through.
For confidential career advice, speak to one of our sector specialist recruitment teams.
Contract of Employment
Most employers send out a copy of your employment contract, but some will wait until you start. When you do receive a contract, read it thoroughly and make sure that you understand, and are happy with, the content. It is extremely rare for an employment contract to contain any nasty surprises.
Be sure to read this important document and take professional advice if unsure about any of the clauses contained. Make sure you understand what benefits you are entitled to and when they start.
Handing Your Notice In
You should endeavour to hand in your notice at the earliest opportunity; delay can create apprehension and will not endear you to your new employer. Always hand in your resignation letter personally - never just leave it on your manager’s desk. Under no circumstances should you e-mail your resignation. When you ask to see your manager, be prepared for him to see you straight away. If they propose a date some way into the future, you must explain the urgency. Before handing in your notice you should have checked your new employment details and have at least a provisional start date.
Letter of Resignation
This should be written before you ask for a meeting with your manager. Keep the letter simple, polite and free from innuendo or ambiguous statements, no matter what you think of your current employer. Do not jeopardise your future by risking poor or indifferent references. The letter should be short, factual and acknowledge your employer’s contribution to your career. Something along the lines of:
Sample Resignation Letter
I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from (name of firm), with effect from today, (date). As per my contract, I have to provide four weeks’ notice so anticipate my last working day will be (date). I have some holidays outstanding thus am happy either to depart earlier or to receive payment in lieu.
The position I have been offered more closely meets my career requirements and my decision to depart is no reflection on the firm. I have enjoyed my time (at insert employer name), and would like to take this opportunity to thank the firm and you personally for all your support.
Name & Date
Don’t be tempted to include lengthy explanations, especially of a critical nature, for your resignation. You should be concentrating on your future not the past.
Counter Offer Job
If you anticipate a counter offer might be made, it is OK to delay accepting the new offer whilst you consider your options. If you are thinking about it, make sure you establish and agree a specific date when your decision must be made. Never, under any circumstances, accept an offer while you are still willing to negotiate with your current employer.
Sometimes an employer may try to ‘buy back’ your services with a combination of pay increases, promotions and/or promises. You must ask yourself some serious questions:
- Why did you have to hand in your notice to get the recognition you deserve?
- Is this a short-term fix more suited for them than for you?
- Does the buy-back meet all the reasons for looking for a new job in the first place?
- Consider how continuing to work there may affect the relationship between you and management.
- Be very wary of promises, you cannot go to your prospective employer again later
- Finally, how will your employer view you in the future, particularly with regards to loyalty.
There are some "buy-backs", which are valid and honourable, but think the situation through carefully. You don't want to have a decision forced upon you down the line.
Ongoing Career Management