Are you ready if career opportunity knocks?

Jodie Charlop

by Jodie Charlop 82Ox 85C
Executive Career Coach, EAA
November 2011


When John called to schedule a career coaching session, he was in a hurry to meet. A casual coffee conversation with a business associate led to another conversation two days later with the president of his colleague’s company. Just three days later, John had a job offer in hand. John felt unprepared. Should he take the offer? Was it the right job? Was the salary package competitive? It had all happened so fast.

To quote Hall of Fame Basketball Coach, John Wooden, “when opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” 

National surveys from organizations such as Manpower, Inc., show four out of five professionals are ready to make a job change. You may be ready for change but are you ready to negotiate your next career move in a powerful and confident way? If the answer is no, then it might be time for some career readiness work. 

We offer a few tips to help you be intellectually and emotionally ready to make your next great career move!  

  1. Reflect on what you really need and want in your next career move. While you may be ready for change, are you clear about what you need and want most in your position? Clarity builds confidence. Write down your goals and talk them out with a mentor, trusted colleague or career coach to ensure you know what you want in your next role and, of equal importance, how it fits into your overall career strategy.  

  2. Check in with your emotions! When you are frustrated, bored, overworked, or unappreciated, it’s easy to see any change as a ticket out. Powerful career readiness includes both intellectual and emotional power. Make sure you are clear about what you are moving to, rather than running from your old job based on emotions. You want to make a change, but you want it to be the right change.

  3. Keep Your Communication Current. Keep your resume, LinkedIn profile, and any other public-facing communications up-to-date with your most recent accomplishments. You never know when a casual conversation may turn into an opportunity. Do you have a resume and online profile that you are proud of that showcases your strengths and accomplishments, and is at the ready if someone calls?

  4. Practice your interview skills.  Ask a colleague to interview you, or read How to Interview Like a Top MBA, by Shelly Leanne, to ensure you are interview-ready. It’s a competitive market out there. Are you prime-time ready with a clear story about your strengths and value to the marketplace? Are you prepared to deliver your message with power?

  5. Know your worth in the marketplace. The market is shifting and the mantra to just be glad you have a job is wearing thin. Knowledge is power. Check with your industry association about career and salary surveys. Talk to colleagues to get a reality check on where you are. The first number you put on the table in a salary negotiation can set the tone for getting the package you are worth. Do your homework so you can answer with confidence when someone asks: “What compensation level are you seeking?”

And what about John and his offer? After some discussion, John determined that, while he was flattered to get the offer, the role wasn’t really the right opportunity for him. He politely declined the offer and we are working on the strategy for his best next move. 

The only person in charge of your career is you. Are you ready for the choices you might need to make?

Want to see if you are career ready? Take the complimentary Career Readiness Diagnostic and set up your complimentary career coaching session with our Executive Career Coach Jodie Charlop.

The EAA’s Executive Career Coach Jodie Charlop 82Ox 85C, founder and chief coaching officer for Potential Matters, specializes in working with individuals and organizations that want to achieve higher levels of personal and professional results in their business, careers, or lives.