Who to share your job-hunting journey with and how to explore your future career path.

When a new job offer comes through to you, what is your response? Elation? Relief? Trepidation? Shock? A whole host of feelings can surface when we stand at a crossroads in our career journey. It is not uncommon for people to turn down a job offer or even to withdraw from an interview process mid-way through. So why do people decide to accept a job or ‘reject and run’?

We’ve explored what people can do to be more rigorous in their thinking and to better understand their own motivations, wants and needs. Here are 8 steps to help you be more self-aware in your job hunt and some advice on who you might want to consult along the way.

1. Who knows that you are thinking of moving?

Have you only told the dog? Or have you discussed your move with your partner, your family, your friends or your current employer? How open you are about moving might be an indicator of how serious you are. It is important to have discussions with family ahead of being offered a role, especially if a new role will impact on their lives. Any close family who will be moving with you, or affected by your move are best involved at an early stage. If you’re moving due to dissatisfaction with your current job, discussing your thoughts with your current employer might open conversations about areas that are a challenge for you, and which could be resolved.

2. Why, why, why?

Understanding your core motivation for leaving your current job is important. Why are you wanting to move? This requires you to consider deeply what matters to you and what, if anything, feels ‘wrong’ in your current role. For example, if you were given more autonomy or professional development would you stay? Are you feeling misaligned with your school’s vision or values? If you find that one ‘thorny’ issue could be resolved with your current employer, then maybe a move is not right at this time. Equally if you pin-down a significant factor that you know will not change, then a move is certainly looking like a positive idea. We would always advise against using a new job offer as a bargaining tool with your current employer – that is unfair to both current and potential employers and will not reflect well on you. When you do identify what feels wrong in your current role, build that into criteria for future roles, so that you are less likely to face that situation again.

3. A potential farewell

When considering leaving your current post, it can be useful to think how it will feel to leave your current colleagues and students, and to move on from the opportunities of your current role. How will it feel not to be part of this community and possibly to relocate from your current location? Trying to visualise this will help to establish how you might feel if leaving became a reality.

4. SWOT Analysis of your job

Consider doing a SWOT analysis of your current job; evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Replicate this with any potential future role to help you to compare and contrast.

5. Read the small print

Read thoroughly any information you can about the new job and school; the candidate pack, school website, inspection reports, relocation information, and area/country information. It is time consuming, but it is time very well spent. If you are to dedicate the next part of your life to this new job then such research is incredibly worthwhile. To make the most informed decision, be rigorous and thorough in gathering details about the school and the location. Rule out any opportunities that do not meet your criteria in terms of your key priorities. Visit the LSC Education research pages to see how other school leaders ranked their priorities.


6. Push or pull?

Why are you thinking of moving now? What has been the trigger? Was it that you were actively looking for a role? Were you approached about the role? Or is this part of a planned career map? Consider ‘why now?’. It can be the case that people feel flattered and motivated by an approach from a recruitment agency. Our advice would be to take things slowly and to reflect before embarking on a job application.

7. List to your instinct

While we should be as analytical as possible when considering new work opportunities, there is without doubt a place for listing to your instinct. Our intuitions and ‘gut feeling’ about whether a role is a good fit and the right environment are often correct.

8. Find a Coach

The multiple questions that will arise in your mind should be explored with family and friends. However, there might be a time when an objective and qualified Career Coach might be the best person to help you to navigate through your thoughts and help you create a career plan.

For further advice on careers coaching please read our Coaching Services page or to view our latest research on International Leadership, please visit our Research Page.