How to hop between companies.
February 7, 2017 10:10 AM   Subscribe

I hear advice all the time that the best way to get ahead in your career is to "hop" between similar companies. It allows for greater salaries and roles and a more diverse experience and expertise. Sounds great, right? Given my unfortunately situation at work, I figure now is a great time to do this "hop". But - how does someone ACTUALLY "hop" to a new company?

My current job is rough - sales are down and they are cutting people. I haven't been cut yet, but my relationship with my boss isn't great, and I'm not performing well due to being overworked. My boss and everyone is aware of my contributions, and while I don't get much recognition, I don't think I'll be cut anytime soon. Anyway, it's about 80hrs a week of high-stress for around 80k.

So, it finally hit me after a bad performance review, that I just am not set up for success here. My manager agrees, but they put it up to passion (You will naturally do a better job with work if you are passionate about it). While I am passionate, I still find it hard to want to do something that I don't have the resources to accomplish.

I hear advice all the time that the best way to get ahead in your career is to "hop" between similar companies. It allows for greater salaries and roles and a more diverse experience and expertise. Sounds great, right? Given my unfortunately situation at work, I figure now is a great time to do this "hop". But - how does someone ACTUALLY "hop" to a new company?

My question is: How do you do that? Do I just start searching for new jobs? How do you find a job at the 5-7 year experience range? Are there specific companies I should call/network with for placement at that range? Any tips for managing my departure, besides give a long notice and do my best to help the group take over my roles? What kind of resources should I use, and which should I avoid? So far nobody at my company knows my intentions and I intend to keep it that way until I have an offer, but most of my network is current/ex employees at my company so that makes networking hard.

I think you understand my situation - I've been with the same company for 7 years or so and now I'm looking for a change - I barely know where to begin.

I have an MBA and my field is Brand Marketing.

Thank you so much for your help!
posted by bbqturtle to Work & Money (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You probably know who the competition is, don't you? You can look at their posted openings, and you can also use Linkedin to reach out to their recruiters. You don't have to say you're looking necessarily, you can always be coy and say it's for a friend with a similar background. They won't care if you backtrack from that later. Also, if you have acquaintances who have left your company, have coffee with them. Never say you're looking to leave, just that you want to learn more about the landscape.

5-7 year range is a great time to make a change.

As for giving a long notice, I understand that's a thing in Europe but in the USA two weeks is fine for individual contributors. I wouldn't ever give a longer notice than I could afford (ie if they walked you out on the spot, will you still be all right.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

You network. Go to industry events. Talk to people in your field. Reach out to your people and quietly say you are interested in someplace new. You could set yourself a goal - 100 new contacts in your industry. If you find a place you are interested in, you can send an email to the hiring manager and say that you are still employed but are reaching out because you are particularly interested in X company because of Y and you'd love to be in the loop if something comes open. You can suggest coffee with folks to just "learn about your company" and then do just that. Ideally you want to be running toward something and not away.
posted by amanda at 10:23 AM on February 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Are you certain that the axe isn't already slowly swinging towards you? Under performing for boss you don't have a great relationship with at a company where they're cutting jobs doesn't sound very safe, especially if the boss is talking about how you need to find a job that you're passionate about. But I digress.

Are you in LinkedIn? Are the meetups and professional conferences in your area for your field? You need to be going to them and making a network that way. Talk with former co-workers, ask if they're happy at their new positions and if they'd recommend you look at that company. Many places pay referral bonuses, so if they like you enough to stick their neck out a little, they have an incentive to recommend you for positions.

Don't worry too much about leaving, that's their job. Give two weeks notice - they may not even opt to keep you that long.

Some little details - if you have an FSA, you must spend it before you leave the company or you lose it. HSAs you can move. Figure out how your health insurance will work during any gap you might have. Retrieve or securely delete any personal files that you might have on the work computers but do not take ANYTHING that could be considered confidential information.
posted by Candleman at 10:36 AM on February 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

who you know, not what you know. leverage all your connections and make more of them.
posted by lescour at 11:14 AM on February 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Candleman, the axe swinging toward me is the reason I'm looking for a new job. Well besides me being miserable here. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
posted by bbqturtle at 11:17 AM on February 7, 2017

Lots of people have already said "network," but don't discount good 'ol job listings. Setup indeed and craigslist alerts for positions that might work for you. My last 3 positions have all been from submitting a resume and cover letter in response to a job listing.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:20 AM on February 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ask a Manager is an amazing resource (often recommended here for good reason). I have her How to Get a Job ebook and it gave me a LOT of confidence to go out and start interviewing for jobs. It's a really good way to get back into the "finding a job" mindset. No need to buy the book, just the blog itself will give you a good sense of best practices and ways to talk about yourself. There's advice for just about every job related topic under the sun: how to network, how to write a cover letter, how to negotiate salary/benefits. I bought the book after bombing an interview because I was out of practice.

One of the best pieces of advice she gives is to avoid letting your current salary prevent you from getting a pay raise at a new company. Lots of advice on her site for how to politely decline to share your salary and how to convince a company that you're worth more if they do require you to disclose your current salary.

Applying through job boards is totally normal at your level. For cover letters, make sure to show that during your 7 years that you took on more responsibility even if you were in the same role. Show that you're flexible to new challenges and keep an open mind that other companies may function differently than how the company you're used to does things.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:36 AM on February 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

I think you're misunderstanding what a job "hop" is - that's when you change jobs every 18 months or so.

At 7 years with one company, you are looking for a totally normal job change, not a hop. You apply for jobs the normal way - lots of places want someone with 5-7 years experience. Don't eliminate yourself if you don't meet all the requirements - let them eliminate you (I'm hiring right now and I can tell you my job requirements is a dream list - I'm really looking for someone who hits 75% of those - any 75%). Not being desperate is the best time to look because you can be picky and stretch. Network, of course, (ex-employees of your current company are totally fine to network with - after all, they left too) but work on having a strong resume & a strong cover letter (though make sure your resume speaks for itself - I work for a Large Company and it's like pulling teeth to get the HR screeners to actually send me the cover letters for applicants).

You don't need to give a long notice at your current job - 2 weeks is standard and fine. You're not trying to completely replace yourself in that time period, just make sure everything is well documented and they know where to look if someone needs to do something you usually do. You can start doing that now (it's good practice anyway).
posted by brainmouse at 12:50 PM on February 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the help.

I reached out to a recruiter that messaged me 4 months ago on linkedin and I already have a new job interview lined up for roughly 40% more salary and bonus.

I know it's not in the bag yet, but I do have good qualifications for the role, and the recruiter said I'm the first person he's come across that's a perfect fit for the job. So, my hopes are pretty high.

I think in the end you're right, it's not a job "hop" - it just feels like one because I've held many roles during my time at this company. In the end it's a company hop.

Anyway, thanks again for your support - not everything is perfect about the potential new position (3G companies anyone?) but for someone with a bit of flexibility and competitiveness, I could see myself being happy.

Happier than unemployed anyway!
posted by bbqturtle at 2:23 PM on February 7, 2017

Best answer: Just came in to say recruiters, recruiters, recruiters.

After my very first job out of grad school, I kept my LinkedIn profile current, making sure to use pertinent keywords/ highlight skills that could be used to find me if recruiters were looking. I've had three great jobs since then, each with 3-4 year tenure (except for a year with one terrible company where my boss ended up suing the company), and all happened thanks to recruiters finding me.

Just be sure to work with reliable recruiters - you can likely tell from their LinkedIn profiles how trustworthy and respected they are.
posted by Everydayville at 2:59 PM on February 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

« Older Please help me register my daughters as Irish...   |   What's up with my mini-Malaprop? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.