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Updated by Hays UAE, December 2016 

Author: Marc Burrage, Managing Director, Hays Japan

At some point during our careers, we all start to feel a sense that it could be time to move on from our current role and take on a new challenge. Perhaps you have been in the same position for a number of years, and feel frustrated by your lack of development. A desirable vacancy with your name written all over it might have caught your eye.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the last time you had to think about the job search and application process, will more than likely have been when you were hired for your current role, which could have been years ago – so the very idea of embarking on a job search may feel extremely daunting to you.

Your mentality will have changed as you have become more and more embedded into your company culture. There are more emotional obstacles to overcome in these instances; we develop a sense of loyalty, we lose sight of what we want, we start to fear change and even doubt our capabilities. These insecurities are often a bi-product of being at a company for a long time, and are often what has kept us from looking for a new role.

If this sounds like you, then the below advice will help you overcome these fears and start your search successfully.

You are loyal and feel obliged to stay

Are you dreading the idea of handing in your notice? It is easy to become attached to a company, especially once you become so intertwined with the people and the culture. You may feel a sense of belonging and loyalty to your manager and colleagues, and don’t like the idea of deserting them.

You can overcome this, by thinking about how they got to where they are. They put themselves first and did what was right for them, and you need to follow their example.

Remember, they were fine before you joined the company, and they will be fine again. You have to make your career decisions in isolation of your co-workers’ needs. Remember that you can keep in contact too. Just because you don’t work alongside them anymore, doesn’t mean you cannot see them in your spare time! Don’t let this stop you from beginning your job search.

You don’t know what you want

Another thing holding you back, could be confusion over what you actually want from a job. Having been in your current role for so long, you may find that your job is becoming repetitive and you are just going through the motions without really questioning whether you enjoy it and what it is you’re actually passionate about.

Throughout our careers we should be prompt ourselves to go through a process of elimination, in the sense that we must assess what we do and do not want from a role through our professional experiences. Reflect on your journey so far, and ask yourself – what do you enjoy about your current role? What don’t you enjoy? What motivates you? Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? What kind of company size and industry do you prefer?

Knowing what you want will motivate you to start seeking it, and will definitely help shape your job search.

You are comfortable and fear change

The longer you have been at at company, the more every aspect will start to feel familiar and comfortable. As much as this is making you stagnate and question whether it is time to move on, it is also making you fear the implied changes.

However you shouldn’t just stay somewhere because you are afraid of the unknown. You will spend the majority of your time at work until you retire, so it’s important base your choice on stronger reasons than this.

As much as you may know this logically, how can you actually overcome the fear? Well, start by looking at jobs. Upon reading job descriptions at exciting new companies, you may start to feel more positive about the new opportunities. You will realise that there is a whole world of possibilities outside of your current company, and they are yours for the taking.

Another good way to alter your approach to change is by making small adjustments to your current work environment. If possible, work from a different office, or even a different desk. Talk to a colleague that you haven’t spoken to before. Learn a new skill. You will soon start to feel more adaptable and able to embrace change.

You lack self confidence

Once you have been in a role for a while, it is easy for yourself and others to take your talents and skills for granted. Therefore you may not have received any praise or confidence boosts in a long time. In addition, if you haven’t applied for anything for ages, you won’t have had to sell yourself recently and therefore think positively about yourself in preparation.

Start by updating your CV. Talk about the projects, training courses and accolades that you have achieved. This will remind you of everything you have accomplished.

Connect with recruitment agencies such as Hays. A good recruiter will boost your self-esteem. They are reading your CV for the first time, and will point out skills that you forgot you had. Moreover, they will show that they have confidence in you when they put you forward for roles.

In summary, as well as practical planning, it is just as important to mentally prepare for a job search, particularly if you have been in your role for a long time. The above obstacles are completely normal in this situation, and will be what’s held you back from your job search for so long.

Now you know how to overcome your fears and can finally stop putting off your job search, it’s time to dust off your interview outfit, assess the jobs landscape and start the searching process!

For handy hints and tips on the next stages of your search, visit our dedicated blog page here or click on one of the links below.