Are things just “okay” at work? Are you having more bad than good days? Are you dreaming of greener pastures? If so, it might be time to seriously think about looking for a new job opportunity.
Consider these things first to help you decide if you really have good reasons for leaving a job.
What is prompting your decision to look for a new job? Are you finding it difficult to go to work each day? Are you so unhappy that you are not putting in 100% effort? Do you not see upward mobility within the organization? Understanding the source of your unhappiness will help to prevent a similar situation in your next job.
Have you exhausted all avenues at your current employer? If going to work each day has become drudgery, have you talked to your boss about it? Have you determined whether your unhappiness is the result of your boss, your coworkers or the job itself? Are there job openings at your company that you could apply for? A conversation with your boss or HR might help.
How is the job market? If the economy is stagnant, it will be more difficult to find something quickly, and you could be taking a risk by seeking a new job amid that uncertainty. However, if the market is good, start your research. The best time to look for a job is when you already have one. You are in the driver’s seat and can be choosy.
Start to look at jobs that are out there. There are numerous job boards that enable you to do a search based on keywords and assess which open positions fit with your skillset. There are also many positions that offer telecommuting, if that is something you have wanted to try.
Do you have marketable skills? Take a close look at the skills you have to offer an employer. Should you get that certification you have been putting off? Is your current employer offering training that you could take advantage of? Make sure your skills are up to date so that potential new employers will see you as a strong candidate.
Is your resume ready for primetime? Start working on this important tool long before you begin to look for a new opportunity. That way, if you find a job you would like to apply for, you’ll be ready to roll. There is a ton of information available online to help you get your resume in top shape.
Do you have a good network? Sometimes, the best jobs are not advertised. Word of mouth and networking will help you learn about potential opportunities. With LinkedIn, networking groups, and trade associations, it is easier than ever to increase your professional connections. Get out there and network!
Have you been approached by – but ignored – a recruiter? Perhaps you have been with your employer for a long time and are not used to working with recruiters. The good news is that recruiters can be a strong asset to your job search. They typically have great relationships with companies and sometimes work on confidential positions that are not advertised. Remember, you should only work with recruiting firms where the client pays the fee.
Do research on interviewing tips. Again, it’s best to be prepared before you start looking. Things may move quickly and you may find yourself invited to do a phone or face-to-face interview. Particularly if it has been a while since you have interviewed, you’ll want to brush up on your skills. There is plenty of material to review online.
Keep your long-term career goals in mind. You never want to look like a “job hopper.” Your work experience is something that stays on your resume, so any movement will have lasting implications. It is best to remain in a job for at least a year, if possible. However, in some positions, such as a contractor, shorter assignments are seen as acceptable if you successfully finish the project and there are no other available opportunities at that company.