Dear Mark,

I work in one of the big commercial firm’s ‘north-shored’ offices, where I’ve been for a year (I qualified at a small firm three years ago). I’m ambitious to further my career, possibly aiming for partner, but am getting concerned that this will be harder to do via this office. Do I need to try a move?

Mark Bailey Sellick Partnership

Mark Bailey, manager, Sellick Partnership

Firstly I would consider the structure of your department, and the career progression opportunities that are already available. This should give you a strong indication if progression is likely. Look for examples of previous promotions in the business, take advice from senior colleagues and make sure you fully understand the requirements of the route for progression you want to take. If you find that there is not a clear structure in place it may be worth asking your direct manager if you can work with them to create one.

You also need to recognise how well appointed your office is, and how it is regarded across the firm. If you are working in an environment that shows strong signs of growth the potential for progression will be greater than an office that may be struggling.

A practical factor to consider is the impact a move may have on your CV. Clients often look for longevity and stability in a CV, and having a 12- to 18-month stint will need explanation should any move not work out. Can you show stability elsewhere, or will another move make your CV stand out for the wrong reasons? I would therefore explore the following prior to making your final decision.

The first point of call should be to discuss your concerns with your line manager. Consider what has previously been discussed when you applied to your present firm and anything that has been said in your appraisals.

If progression is not available in your current office, consider if an internal move to another office would change things.

Once you have fully explored all of these options within your current firm, if you do not feel the progression on offer fits your requirements I advise the following:

• Fully consider the possible locations where you could relocate if this is an option.

• Prepare an essential and desirable list for your role search.

• Prioritise the criteria for your search. For example are you looking for the quickest possible progression route, or would factors including remuneration, location and profile of firm impact this?

We would then suggest speaking with an industry expert or an experienced recruiter in your local area.

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