An opportunity to advance your career can arise when you least expect it. If you’re looking to make a switch, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. But what if you’re employed at another organization and you’re not actively looking for a new job? The decision to consider the offer can be daunting: Will the new job be worth it? What career and personal gains will you miss out on if you opt to stay with your current employer?
In a recent LinkedIn report about global recruitment trends, the number one thing job seekers look for when making a decision to accept a position is career growth.
You should already have a vision of where you want to be in your career so that you can recognize the signs of career advancement when you’re presented with the opportunity. Here are seven reasons to consider accepting a new position.
1. The role is rare or progressive. As the nonprofit sector adapts to emerging needs, more organizations are making room for new roles that might not have been a priority years before, from Chief Creative Officers to Chief Talent Officers. Recognize areas of development that are atypical in the field that you’re in. Even if your title is traditional, keep in mind that an exceptional role gives you responsibilities, controls or tasks that will make you stand out to future employers while helping you to learn and grow.
2. The new position provides you with the tools to build something significant. Your skills and knowledge aren’t enough to perform the duties of the position. A good career change shouldn’t have any major internal obstacles that will prevent you from meeting expectations. The position is a step in the right direction when the nonprofit’s staff, funds, mission, programs and reputation allows you to successfully implement change and build on its accomplishments.
3. The organization has an effective governing board. Board members that work well together are indicative of a strong and healthy organization. “When a nonprofit has a mediocre or inattentive board, it becomes all too easy for the entire organization to head down the wrong strategic path-to make bad choices about program areas, or to venture into geographic locations that don’t make strategic sense,” according to Kim Jonker of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership and William F. Meehan III of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, in an article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review. When board members are high-performing and communicate effectively with each other, it means that they are committed to giving the organization the three T’s- time, talent and treasure-which are essential for its success.
4. The mission of the organization is clear. If someone asked you about the organization’s mission, would you be able to explain it in a concise and clear manner? The Foundation Center’s GrantSpace notes that “developing the mission statement is a critical first step in defining what the organization plans to do and what makes it different from other organizations in the same field.” As a result, you’ll be able to develop effective strategies, priorities and future goals in your potential role with a mission statement that is straightforward, logical and transparent.
5. You can easily “sell” the organization’s work because you truly believe in what they do. A corporate CEO will often be driven to purely maximize shareholder value. A nonprofit CEO’s mandate, on the other hand, is likely to be more intimate since it requires leaders to be personally connected with various social issues, such as righting injustices in society, alleviating hunger, building arts communities and educating young people. In addition to having the tools necessary to grow the organization, your passions should be parallel to the organization’s work. This will ensure that your role is meaningful.
6. The fiscal health of the organization is strong. Would you board a ship that is visibly sinking? No, of course not. You should evaluate the role you’re up for in a similar way. An organization with questionable finances can put your role in jeopardy and cause your career to be in a regressive state. Accept a role at an organization that has instead maintained financial stability. Consider it a safety net for your future. When a nonprofit has a sound Form 990 and financial reports that showcases reasonable annual expenses, incomes and budgets, this substantiates its legitimacy and gives you insights on its impact and livelihood.
7. The new position gives you time to do the things you love-outside of your career. It’s not uncommon for some executives to enjoy their work, but feel overwhelmed by their schedules. Having a great life-work balance shouldn’t be something you aspire to have nor should you have to choose between the joys of your life and career. Don’t pass up a mission-driven position that will allow you to maintain a personal life. If the position will bring you geographically closer to adult children, grandchildren, aging parents, your alma mater, a vibrant arts community or give you enough time to participate in your favorite hobbies, consider it a huge plus. A career growth is one that will enhance your life just as much as your career.
Though compensation remains a leading motive for making a job switch, it’s not necessarily a sign of a career growth. “The more people focus on their salaries, the less they will focus on satisfying their intellectual curiosity, learning new skills, or having fun, and those are the very things that make people perform best,” argues Tomas Chamorro- Premuzic, CEO of Hogan Assessment Systems, in an article for the Harvard Business Review.
If the higher salary doesn’t come along with at least three of the seven points mentioned above, it might not be a good fit in the long run.