Are you tired of doing the same job day after day, only to find your career is going nowhere? Have you started a new job that’s now turning out to be a nightmare? People decide to change jobs for a variety of reasons, but everyone hopes their next job will be perfect. Ask yourself these 5 questions:
1. What don’t you like?
Start by making a list of all the things you hate about your job. Everything from overly demanding managers to late night support calls and stressful client situations should go on this list. If specific incidents or certain projects make you dread going to work each morning, make sure to list those too. You can even list things that are missing, like “no gym at work” or “no at-work childcare option”. Then prioritize your list from the very worst items at the top to the annoying or unpleasant items at the bottom. Now you have a quantifiable list of items you don’t want to deal with in a new position. This can help you weed out bad matches before you waste time applying to them.
2. What do you love?
Make a corresponding list of all the things you love about your job and your company. Maybe you get to work independently on interesting projects without a lot of micromanagement. Or maybe your company is quick to provide training and technology updates for its employees. You should also list things like a short commute, or the ability to telecommute. Next, rank these items from the very best at the top to the “nice to have” items at the bottom. Now that you have your love and hate lists, you can compare them side by side. If what you love about your job outweighs what you hate about it, you’d probably be better off speaking with your boss or department head about how to improve your current work situation. But if what you hate about your job outweighs what you love, then you can confidently say you’re ready for a new job. The “love” list is also a great tool to help you evaluate open positions during your job search.
3. What would convince you to stay?
You need to know the answer to this question because it’s exactly what your current employer might ask you. Your boss doesn’t want to lose an experienced team member and then have to begin the whole hiring process to replace you. So ask yourself what it would take to make you stay. A higher salary? A more senior title? Less travel? You should list each possibility and consider it before handing in your resignation. That way you’ll be prepared to negotiate for a better opportunity instead of being caught off guard.
4. What’s the risk?
This is a question that will require some honest self-reflection, and maybe even a conversation with an experienced recruiter. First, ask yourself if other people’s welfare depends on your decision. If you’re supporting a spouse and putting several kids through school, all while paying off school loans, a mortgage and a car payment, then you need to carefully consider your next steps. Moving to a new industry or a different type of job could give you a chance at a higher income, but will also be more challenging to master. Telling your boss you want a raise and a better title might backfire if she calls your bluff and wishes you bon voyage. Consider having a conversation with a recruiter about the specifics of your situation. She can give you candid advice on whether this is the right time to be changing jobs.
5. Are you ready for a change?
It’s one thing to casually surf online job boards on the weekend. But when you’re ready to apply for a job, you need to be fully prepared and put your best foot forward. Start by updating your resume and building a solid list of references. Ask your friends to give you mock interviews, and have your interview outfit pressed and ready. If you need to brush up on certain job skills, now is the time to enroll in online classes or obtain certifications. If you update your LinkedIn profile, make sure your profile notification settings are turned off so your changes don’t raise eyebrows at work. And consider connecting with a recruiter; he or she will have access to job openings you won’t find online, and can give you advice on how best to prepare for the job market.
At Bishop & Company, our recruiters are ready to discuss your employment options and explore the job market for you. Contact us to begin your job search today.