It can almost always feel that it’s a bad time to search for a new job. Even when things are getting stale, or you’re feeling stretched too thin in your current job, finding time to commit to job search can be a challenge. And as we know, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Leaving one role for another comes with a degree of risk, and the potential loss of accrued benefits and long service perks.
See Also: 14 Steps to Finding Your Ideal Job
Starting to look for a new job is a big decision. Although timing it right is something more of an art than a science, it’s not something to rush blindly into. Start too early and you risk missing out on development opportunities with your current employer; but leave it too late and you may find yourself tempted to settle for anything that arises to simply get away from a job that’s past its sell by date.
Research shows that millennials will change jobs, and even completely switch career in a way that previous generations would never have considered. On average, a millennial can expect to change job 9 times (equating to around a move every five years) over their working lives, and even completely switch career at one point. That’s going to mean a lot of job search!
So when is the right time to start your job search? Read on for our ideas.
When Leaving is Good for Your Career
Without doubt, there are times when for the benefit of your longer term career success, a move is crucial. If you need to gather experience for the good of your ongoing career, and your current role can’t provide it, then it’s time to start job hunting sooner rather than later. The average working life time is 48 years - so don’t get trapped somewhere you hate!
Keep yourself sane during your job search by finding alternative ways to stretch your personal development alongside your current job. If your job can’t give you what you need to progress then consider a volunteer opportunity, or take a further qualification online or in an evening class.
It can also be time to start looking for your next job pronto if your values or direction no longer align with your employer. In this ’it’s not you, it’s me’ situation, staying put can very quickly damage your wellbeing and emotional health. If you’re asked to do things that don’t sit well with you, then kick start your job search and get out while you can.
Finding your perfect position might take a little time, so keep heart and take special care of your health if you’re finding work stressful. Try meditation or yoga for de-stressing and remember to find time for yourself to relax and unwind. Being tense won’t help your job hunting.
Consider looking for temporary positions as well as permanent roles. Increasing numbers of people are looking for a new model of work which fits better with the flexibility we now have thanks to mobile technology and cheap and easily accessible global travel. Companies like Jobbatical exist to help employees source short term gigs across the world - which may of course develop over time into something longer term, but it can also offer a new shot of excitement and personal development to your career plan.
When Moving is Good for Your Wellbeing
Of course, as well as there being times that moving job is right for your career, sometimes it’s also the right thing for your wellbeing. In this case moving quickly can feel like an imperative - but don’t forget to look before you leap.
If you’re feeling undervalued at work, and have tackled this with your boss without resolution, then maybe it’s time to start your job search. If you have a complaint then try talking it through first, but if the relationship is beyond saving then start your job search. The same goes if work is negatively impacting your personal life to an unreasonable degree. If your workload is unreasonable for an extended period of time - and can’t be reduced - then start polishing your CV.
Finding a new job whilst you’re also busy at work can be stressful. Don’t overload yourself but do find ways to keep yourself motivated. Even just spending 15 minutes every day can help you quickly build some momentum. Choose a habit tracking app like coach.me to allow you to see how much progress you are making over the course of time. By logging your efforts you can look back and see your progress and get a boost at times when your motivation dips.
Finally it’s time to move if you feel you’re subject to bullying or discrimination (and this can only be fixed with your leaving). This is a serious issue so seek advice from your boss, HR, Trade Union or a solicitor. However, if you no longer trust that you can work without suffering unfair consequences, then moving on might be the best thing. Make sure you understand your rights and legal recourse if you’re really worried.
Don’t Jump too Soon
If you possibly can, then take time to think before committing to a new job search. Don’t run blindly away from a job that’s boring you - it’s far better to know what you’re moving towards. If you don’t have a plan you might find yourself moving out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Take some time to come up with an action plan - detailing the sort of roles you’re aiming for and the steps you need to take to get there. Even if you change and adapt as you go along, it’s much better than setting off without a direction of travel in mind. Browse careeraddict.com for inspiration on how to best plan your career.
Before committing mentally to a move, check out the internal development options available to you. This could give you the best of both worlds by allowing you to hold long service benefits, and avoid the stress of changing company. If your boss can’t or won’t help, then see if your HR team, mentor, or another manager you trust can suggest anything. You may not score a new role this way, but you are showing how proactive you can be, and getting your name in the minds of the decision makers.
If you think you might have a period of unemployment while you’re looking for a new job, then get a financial plan together before you leave. Save a little before you leave, as a safety net for your job search, or consider taking on some casual or freelance work to tide you over.
Don’t forget - the best time to find work is when you’re actually working. Employers see your complete work history and know there is no suspicious reason for your decision to move on. At the very least - and no matter how excited you might be at the prospect of change - get all your prep done, such as polishing your CV and updating your network, before you leave.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t waste too much time before beginning your job search. You’re best to move before you’re so disenchanted your performance suffers; which in turn can have a knock on effect on your confidence and happiness. Being stressed and with low confidence will make it more difficult than ever to find a new job, and can simply prolong your problems. Take some time to plan and weigh up your options, but then use both heart and head to pick the right point to start job hunting.