A year on and searching for my next move.

Over the past month or so I kept starting blog posts, but then never finishing them. I’ve found it difficult to write about the ongoing search for my next career move and I feel guilty whenever I do something which is not contributing directly towards that search. I know that my blog could help to raise my profile and therefore be useful, but I’m also nervous that whatever I write may be counter-productive as well and so I leave posts in my drafts folder, unsure whether I should click ‘publish’.

We are now comfortably into April and it is over a year since I left Accenture. I have often questioned whether that was the right decision, particularly after each rejection or hiccup in my job search or when I see past colleagues working on great projects or attending interesting events. I got very nostalgic and jealous around International Women’s Day, when my Accenture colleagues were lucky enough to have Claire Balding and Susie Wolff speaking at the annual IWD celebration. Always a highlight of the Accenture calendar, to have had the opportunity to listen to both of these amazing women would have been a real treat. I’m a massive fan of Clare Balding (her ‘My Animals and Other Family’ book completely won me over) and I love formula one, so have followed Susie’s career closely over the past few years and it would be great to hear from her directly.

However, last week my degree certificate arrived, which has definitely helped me to see what I’ve achieved over the past year. It did seem like an anti-climax to have my certificate pop into my letter box in a slightly soggy brown envelope, but it was great to see confirmation of my degree in print. A letter confirming my upgrade from Student member to Associate member of the CIPD also came recently, which is exciting although I still don’t have my new membership card. I also need to work on my upgrade to Chartered member status, but I’m getting closer to that goal and hopefully with my new role will come the evidence I need to complete this. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to attend my graduation yet. It’s not until July and my undergraduate one was pretty boring, but I am sure my family will be keen to go and it is not like I’ll ever get the opportunity again, so I probably will do in the end. I have a few weeks left to decide and register my intention, so I will probably sign up soon.

So, as alluded to earlier, I am still looking for my next role. I have been asked a few times about what I am looking for. I went into this process with an open mind, willing to consider pretty much any people development or organisational change role at the mid-senior level. Having come from a consulting background, my experience is pretty diverse, so I know I can adapt to whatever role or environment I end up in. I have been open to both interim and permanent roles, not focussed upon any particular industry and happy to consider roles which may involve travel or relocation. I thought by casting my net wide, this would give me more potential opportunities and increase my chances of finding the ideal role.

As my search has progressed, I have been resisting the urge to apply for everything that is vaguely relevant and I’ve tried to be more selective about the opportunities I will consider. I know what I am willing to compromise on and I have a much clearer idea of what I am looking for and the kind of role where I will be able to add the most value. This more targeted approach seems to be paying off and I’ve had a few more interviews lately and a few less rejections.

I’ve got the feeling that when the opportunity is right, it will be clear to both me and the hiring manager. This was certainly true when I was looking for my first career opportunity after university. I applied to a lot of graduate schemes and went through a few recruitment processes, but I knew during the assessment centre for Accenture that it was the right place for me. Something just clicked and it ‘felt right’, so as soon as they made me an offer, I was glad to accept.

I am hoping this time around will be much the same. There have been interviews where I have been unsuccessful, where I knew I was heading for rejection, sometimes before I’d even got in the room! Something about the role or the organisation or my experience wasn’t quite right and I could tell I would need to keep looking. However, there are two opportunities I am currently pursuing, which both feel much more positive. I can see myself working there and I think they can too, so I have my fingers crossed that one of these will turn out to be the right one for me. I am feeling relatively hopeful that my next update will bring good news, but in the meantime, please wish me luck! I don’t want to count my chickens before they’ve hatched!!

Aside from my job hunt, I’m also looking forward to later this month, when I will be facilitating at the Age of No Retirement event in Manchester. This ground-breaking three-day event aims to look at the challenges surrounding our ageing society and to prototype ways we can tackle those challenges. Almost a giant ‘hackathon’ for society’s big issues, it is free to attend and open to all, so if you are interested in coming along, make sure you sign up at Eventbrite: Ticket Booking for the Age of No Retirement. If you are coming along, make sure you come over to say hello and if you can’t make it, keep an eye on twitter for some back-channel action.

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