Confidence in the jobs market is on the rise, so Simon Howard offers some timely advice about moving on

Twenty one today, twenty one today”, it’s alright, I’ve not lost the plot, just commenting that this is my twenty first Careers File for The Grocer. The first was back in September 2002 when things (in particular, career things) looked very different - there certainly wasn’t the business and jobs optimism there is today.
This is particularly borne out by the latest Global Career Confidence Survey from career consultants RightCoutts. Whereas six months ago 29% of UK workers felt that they were in danger of losing their job in the next 12 months, this figure has now dropped to 21%.
Although at first sight the figure might seem high, it is from a cross-section of workers and is broadly comparable with the US, Australia, Switzerland and (this would have been a real surprise in September 2002) Germany.
But perhaps not surprisingly, the Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Spanish and French are the most confident when it comes to job security - not surprising because employment law in these countries almost prefers companies to go bust, rather than lay off workers they don’t need and can’t afford.
Most heartening of all though is that UK workers are among the most confident when it comes to finding comparable work - in stark contrast to the Swiss, French and - you got it - the Germans, who are the most pessimistic.
It would also be a pretty safe bet that UK career confidence will climb even further in the next survey in six months time - mainly because career confidence tends to lag recruitment demand from employers, which has now been rising for 14 consecutive months.
So armed with all that, it would seem a pretty good time to think about moving on - but before you do, it would be a good idea to give yourself a bit of a talking to first. Start with asking yourself “Why move?” If the first answer which popped into your head was “more money”, then forget it. Sure, more money will usually come with a move, but you’re on a slippery slope if that’s your prime motivation.
Now, I’m not particularly into holism (if there be such as word), but a career move should be a little more holistic than just the cash. So you should be asking yourself questions about your personal progression (which doesn’t always have to be upward), about who you work for, and about whether you feel you have to excuse your job to yourself or your friends.
Now I’m sorry if that all sounds a little namby pamby, but being content in your career tends to be based on four key things: working for a company you admire, with a boss you admire, in a job which makes the most of your skills and which remunerates you (pay, benefits, location - they all count) satisfactorily. So before you move on, ask yourself how well your current career satisfies those criteria, and how a new job will have to do better.
So that is the first stage to moving on: sorting out your Career Priorities. Once you have done that you need to get together a bloody good CV.
Odd thing really, but this electronic age has arguably made a good CV even more important, because more often than not, you’ll have to email one, and even if you apply online through a website, you’ll usually have the chance to attach one.
So make sure it’s bang up-to-date, the right length (two pages), goes into the recent stuff in more detail (simple guideline; the more recent, the more relevant) and above all else it lives up to my one golden rule: a CV is a brochure not an autobiography.
What you’ll also find in preparing your CV is that you will be forced into thinking about how to present yourself - which is more about marketing than sales…you have to save the sales bit for the interview.
Anyway, armed with your Career Priorities and your CV, all you’ve got to do now is find a job. On the one hand you’ve got to network (simple maxim here: someone you know, knows someone who is looking for you), while on the other you’ve got to go into the market…and browsing through the pages of The Grocer that follow has to be a pretty good start.
n Simon Howard is a founder of Work Communications and writes the Jobfile column for the Sunday Times