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Who should you trust during your job search?

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Is accepting a job offer even though it pays less a good idea? Do I like their company culture? Is the right industry for me? Will this new role enable me to develop new skills? These are questions you’ll come across during your job search ones which are difficult to answer yourself. I strongly recommend turning to those you trust for help when searching for a new job. Remember to choose these carefully and ensure they are impartial, rational and most importantly have your best interests at heart.

Below I identify three types of people you could confide in about your job search.

1. People who are upfront and honest

Before you ask anyone for their advice on your job search or any offers, think about whether your decision would impact them in any way. It is for this reason that I would advise you not to speak to your current colleagues. After all, it only takes one slip of the tongue or one overheard conversation for word to get back to your boss.

Your friends and family might be well placed to give you advice, but remember that they may also have biases which get in the way of your best interests, even if they don’t realise it. For instance – a friend may advise that you join their company, because they like the idea of getting to work with you, or they receive an internal incentive for finding new people. Or if you are thinking of moving overseas – your family may discourage you, because (understandably) they don’t want to see you go.

Who do you know that can be truly neutral in their advice? Is there anyone you see as a mentor, even if this is in a very informal capacity? Perhaps you used to confide in a former colleague for advice when you worked together, or even a family friend?

You need to make your decisions based on what’s best for you, so before you seek anyone’s advice, ask yourself whether they might have any hidden agendas. And if you still want their input, then take what they say with a pinch of salt.

2. Someone who has walked your walk before

Who has been in a similar situation to the one you are in right now and is in a place to give impartial advice? Think about people who have been in the same job, company or industry. This could include former colleagues, friends and family, and their networks.

You can also find plenty of career advice by looking at online blogs and forums, using the keywords relating to your situation. And if you can post anonymously, then confide in these networks and ask questions about the career decisions you are facing. You will be surprised at how helpful these online communities can be. LinkedIn also has a career advice functionality where you type in the kind of specialism and sector you are interested in, and they connect you to professionals who can help you.

3. A Recruitment Consultant

Last but by no means least, speak to a recruiter. They have first-hand experience placing people in the kinds of roles you want, they know the realities of working in them, and they have to keep your search confidential.

Register with an agency, and meet with an expert recruiter to discuss the kind of jobs you are searching for. Remember to provide them with key information on the types of organisations you like the sound of working for, the kind of culture you thrive in, and where you want your next role to take you in your career.

Confiding in people about your job search is always a good idea. Just make sure you’re talking to the right people, people with experience, credibility and who are impartial. Also remember that no-one knows you better than yourself, and no-one else has to live through your decisions. By all means, seek out good advice and take it on board, but don’t forget to listen to that little voice inside your head telling you what’s right for your career, and no doubt you will make wise and rewarding decisions that pay off long term.

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