What’s your next Transfer Move?

It’s January and it’s a busy month of the year for Transfers in the Premiership Football season. Sky Sports has a Transfer Centre to update us on the latest big money moves before the transfer window closes. These Premiership Football stars have their agents to advise them and negotiate big money moves between clubs. Alexis Sanchez recent move from Arsenal to Man United will see him earn a staggering £600,000 a week, yes a week.

It’s also hectic Transfer season for Employers scouring the market for new talented stars to join their teams. All this transfer talk got me thinking about the many talented people we meet that have to make life changing decisions by accepting or turning down a job move.

Here, I have looked at four categories of people we meet – you may identify with one of them – and I highlight some of the career advice I might be giving you if you retained me as your Highly Paid Agent?

So where are you now in your career?

In my experience, you are somewhere broadly in one of these 4 categories:

  1. Reactive/Curious – You are not actively looking but have been contacted by a recruiter for a new job, you don’t feel now is the time to move but you are curious why you were contacted
  2. Reactive/Ready – You have been contacted by a recruiter, you have not been job seeking but with the right offer would be open to consider new moves
  3. Proactive/Ready – Your role is going to made redundant or you have experienced redundancy and keen to get back into another job
  4. Proactive / Curious – You are proactive and always testing the market to see what further career opportunities are out there. You are not ready to move right now but always keeping an eye to the future

Reactive/ Curious

You have received a call or a LinkedIn message out of the blue; a recruiter would like to speak to you about an opportunity. Let’s face it, it is flattering, we all like to think someone wants us. Even if you are really happy in your current role, it peaks your interest even to find out how much they might offer. If you do return the call, it can open up an interesting conversation about a new role in a new sector. My advice is to be curious, find out more about the employer, their challenges and how they compare to your employer. A word of warning, you may also be contacted as a result of a robotic AI recruitment process churning out matches to your LinkedIn profile. This leads to a conversation with an inexperienced junior recruiter with little business experience busily trying to hit their monthly sales targets. The increase in online recruitment means you are going to get many more suggested job offers than before. Take time each week to review your LinkedIn requests and build career connections with a select number of quality recruitment professionals. They have lots of personal connections to employers and you never know when you will need them in the future.

  • Be curious and ask valid questions to increase your market knowledge
  • Don’t ignore, a courteous reply is never wasted, stating the type of role you would like to be contacted about in the future


You have been contacted about an open role and after a conversation, the role sounds appealing and you would consider a move. The recruiter would like to put you forward for an interview. Remember, you are at all times in control of your personal brand and the CV that is forwarded will need editing and tweaking to marry the job specification. It is not enough to ask the recruiter to tidy up your CV. Your CV is your personal brochure and it speaks volumes for your brand. Get professional support to make it the best you can in advance of forwarding. I have found people are poor to highlight their own achievements but it is very easy for me as a career coach to ask questions to uncover these achievements. This work also helps with your upcoming interview and marrying your relevant experience to the role requirements. If you consider going forward for the role, write down 3 big reasons why you want the role and commit to give it everything in the interview process. I have seen people contacted about a role and adopt an attitude that the employer has to prove to them why they should work for them. If the employer feels they have to impress on you so much why you should take it, the future work relationship is doomed for failure. Like in any relationship, there needs to be a mutual commitment to making this work

  • Present your brand in the best way possible at interview, even if you don’t end up taking the job, remember hiring managers move jobs too, so you never know where you might meet them again
  • Review the process, your learnings and any potential development gaps you may not have realised you had pre-interview


As a result of a restructure you have found yourself out there again proactively trying to find a new role. As we deal with a lot of outplacement candidates, this is often a time where we see urgency getting the better of common sense. Proactive job search is a process. There are steps in every process, but urgent job seekers will want to skip vital foundation steps in an effort to get to find another job. Certainty is replaced with uncertainty. This leads to panic replies to every potentially suitable job advert online. My advice is to clearly define what your ideal next role looks like. You don’t go online to buy any car, any dress, you shoes. You have a good idea what you want and what style, model and colour will suit you.

I cannot tell you how many people fail to do this exercise. What work tasks ideally would you be doing, in what sector, at what salary level, in what location, in what type of culture, what next challenge appeals to you and why, what type of company describes this list? When I get people to complete this exercise, I then speak about their gaps to finding this role. These gaps might be network, education, skills or salary expectations. To address gaps you need to reinvest in your learning. This could be practical or academic. I have just worked with someone and there gap is a network in a new sector. Once we started to discuss who may be in that sector, names started dropping. They had more connections that they had thought. This was their gap. When I ask some urgent job seekers to complete this exercise, they say “I just want a job, as any job is better than no job, I just need to get back earning again”. I say yes, but you also want to get back earning in an environment where you will thrive rather than just survive and soon want to leave.

  • Clarify what your ideal next job looks like, you simply have to know what you are looking for before you find it, otherwise you allow yourself to take a job that’s not for you
  • Address your network, skills, education or salary expectation gaps as these are your barriers to future career success

Proactive/ Curious

You are happy doing what you are currently doing and wouldn’t describe yourself as actively job seeking. But you have the mind-set of a top football player who always seems to be in control of a game. Top sports stars don’t just focus on the outcome, they focus on the process. This is a critical mistake a lot of people make in their careers. They target one future role as the Holy Grail. I once coached a client who told me that in his twenties he ambitiously set a goal to be a Country HR Director by the time he hit 40. He worked hard and exceeded his own expectations by reaching the role at 36 years of age. He was sent to me for career coaching at 39. He had achieved his lifetime ambition but when he got there felt unfulfilled. He was still only 39 and had not thought about the next 25-30 years. He had one focus that, when realised, was not what he once thought it might be like. This hero’s journey to the top often follows with questions like “what’s next?”
The top footballers can see a potential future move before anyone else. They can sense the way the game will go from fine tuning their skills. In the modern career game, you need to see the world of work as an evolving series of game changing events. You need to learn to spot new potential opportunities that are a match for your skills and talents. If you don’t, someone else will.

  • Scan the internal and external market for new future projects and opportunities, like a great footballer, you have your ‘head up’ looking for a gap to exploit
  • The career game is a process, there is no one ‘holy grail’ job, best to focus on a series of intrinsically rewarding career growth moves.

If you remain proactive and curious throughout your career lifetime, you will largely remain in control of your future career moves. If you choose to remain reactive, you will always be adapting to fit into someone else’s idea of what they think you should do. Speak to one of our team of Harmonics career coaches and let us be your insightful agent to gain that extra insight before you feel pressurised to make the wrong move for you and your future.
Every success for your next career move.

People who end up with the good jobs are the proactive ones who are solutions to problems, not problems themselves, who seize the initiative to do whatever is necessary to get the job done.
― Stephen R. Covey

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