This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.
Thinking about leaving your current position, but not sure you’ve got a good enough reason to jump ship and start looking for a new job? Nervous that the economic impact of the pandemic may put your position in jeopardy?
How do you know when it’s time to find a new job?
A host of factors might enter into your thinking when you’re trying to decide if it’s time for a new job, especially in today’s unprecedented environment. Even if your job feels safe right now, how do you know if a furlough or layoff is on the horizon?
There’s no lack of career advice related to the topic. Right now, some job seekers may be focused solely on finding a job with a steady income that will carry them through these uncertain times, while others are zeroed in on their career path. Some may be weighing work-life integration issues.
Whatever the case for you, it’s worth considering a few factors if you’re deciding whether to quit your job and launch a new job search.
1. It looks like a layoff or furlough is imminent
COVID-19 has sent the world into a tailspin, and the effects on the economy as a whole have been jarring. If you’re in an industry that is particularly susceptible to the negative economic impacts of the pandemic, it may be time to start looking for a new position that can more easily weather the storm.
How can you tell if a furlough or layoff is impending, though? If your co-workers are being laid off or furloughed or industry peers are taking drastic measures, that’s a good indication that, at the very least, things are unstable. Similarly, other signs that change could be coming include:
- Your workload has decreased significantly
- Business as a whole has slowed down
- Key accounts are struggling with payment or are no longer clients
If you notice any (or all) of these happening in your workplace — especially in the current job market — consider getting a jump on your job search.
2. Every night feels like Sunday night
Are you always eyeing “greener pastures”? Feeling stressed or anxious about having to report for work the next day every day?
As a kid, you might have experienced feelings of dread on Sunday night, knowing that school was starting the next day. And now, as an adult, you feel the same way about work.
You may feel under-appreciated because of a lack of positive feedback, a subpar work environment, or perhaps there’s little support from supervisors or colleagues.
But when every night starts feeling like a Sunday night (and every day at work feels like a Monday morning), it might be time to dust off your resume.
3. There’s little or no work flexibility
COVID-19 has turned most businesses into remote companies. While you may enjoy working from home now, perhaps your company previously didn’t offer much in the way of work flexibility and has indicated that employees will soon be returning to the office.
Going back to your commute doesn’t excite you, and the lack of flexibility makes it difficult to manage children and life’s uncertainties.
If you’re worried any newfound flexibility won’t last and negotiating permanent remote work will go nowhere, it may be time to find a new job.
4. Your work performance is starting to suffer
Do you notice that your enthusiasm for your job has significantly lessened and that your job performance has some definite room for improvement? If you feel like you’re going through the motions every day in your job, it may be time to address this with your boss to see if you can work together to find a resolution.
Depending on how that goes, decide what your next move will be. Give it a chance, but don’t let it worsen, either. Establish timelines for yourself and act accordingly based on progress.
5. You’ve learned everything you can
A new job can be exciting as you learn new policies, procedures and protocols. After some time, though, you might feel as if you’ve outgrown your position, especially if you’re not learning anything new.
You may have taken all the steps you can to avoid career burnout, but nothing has worked. Lack of opportunity for career advancement or training to enhance your professional skills may be another sign that it’s time to think of moving on.
When that happens, speak to your boss to see if you can tackle new responsibilities or move to a new position, particularly if you still like the job and the company you work for. But if a change of position or new responsibilities are not possibilities, you may want to look for a new job that will allow you to grow more and spread your wings.
6. The pay isn’t going to get any better
Perhaps you’ve asked for a raise a time or three and have been put off, or told directly that a pay increase isn’t in the cards. If you’ve truly tried asking for a raise and hit a wall, that’s a pretty clear indication that it may be time to search for a new job.
That said, considering the current climate, employees should be mindful that there are likely a lot of companies that are wrestling with pay increases.
The job market has changed considerably of late and companies aren’t hiring like they were a few months ago. And, those who are hiring may not be offering top dollar since the job market is over-populated with applicants in certain fields.
Make sure you’re realistic with your expectations and understand that it may be best to wait during slow economic times, in order to maximize your value several months from now.
7. Your workplace is toxic
At some point in your career, you might have a boss whom you really, really don’t see eye to eye with. Let’s face it, we don’t always get along with everyone, but most times these blips are temporary or something we can handle.
The problem arises when a temporary blip isn’t so temporary. Carefully evaluate the mission and the culture at the company. Blurry direction and inconsistent company objectives are good reasons to find a new job.
8. You’re at the point of ‘quit or be fired’
Do your best to avoid doing anything rash, like quitting before you have a clear job search plan in mind.
If you’re really at the point where you may be out the door any day, but not quite yet, there’s no better time than now to get clear about your life and work priorities.
9. You want to make a career change
Maybe you secretly always wanted to be a web designer, or you love volunteering at the animal shelter. Whatever it is, the thought of a new career is what keeps you going at work these days.
And when that’s the case, it’s probably time for you to take the necessary steps to transition to that new career.
10. The thought of a new job excites you
There’s something to be said for listening to your instincts. So, if your heart starts to flutter a little faster at the idea of a new job, maybe you should trust what your gut is telling you — and get into job search mode.
Tips to get your job search going
Once you’ve decided it’s time to leave your old job, you will, of course, need to start your job search. But, before you get deep in the hunt, take some time to prepare. Keep up with the companies who are hiring for work-from-home jobs despite the pandemic.
In the same vein, it makes sense to research which in-demand skills will be most helpful in the post-pandemic job market — and then do your best to stay up to date on them. Job skills are, of course, different for every career path, but some skills that are becoming increasingly necessary and valued no matter your profession include:
- Emotional intelligence
- Artificial intelligence
- Data literacy/analytics
- Tech savviness
- Critical thinking
- Creativity and innovation
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend lots of money or get a whole new degree to stay relevant in today’s job market. You can find plenty of free and online courses for nearly any skill you’re looking to develop or refine.
Look at your transferable skills
If you’re considering a career change, you may think you won’t be eligible to apply for positions in your new field. Looking at the job descriptions, it seems like you lack any relevant skills and experience.
But that may not be the case. Do a skills inventory on yourself and identify all the transferable skills you have and can bring to your next job. It just might give you the encouragement you need to take the plunge into a new career.
Employers want all their employees to have problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills. You may not have a lot of project management experience, but you probably have experience breaking down a large project into smaller steps and communicating with co-workers. Learn how to brag about these abilities, and you may discover you’re more qualified than you think.
Figure out what would make you happy
Maybe one of the reasons you want to look for a new job is because you’re not happy in your current one.
But instead of blindly starting a new job search, take the time to determine what it is about your current job that has made you both happy and unhappy and what you’d love to find in a new job (e.g., the ability to work remotely, a company with a great culture, etc.). Then base your new job search on those parameters.
Work your network
A big component of job searching success is getting the word out there that you’re job hunting. Utilize online networking to let your network know you’re looking for new work opportunities — but be selective about who you speak to.
After all, you don’t want it to get back to your current boss or co-workers that you’re job hunting before you’ve found a new position.
Update your resume
Before you start your job search, you’ll need to update your resume. Hopefully, you’ve been keeping up and revising your resume every six to 12 months.
If you haven’t, don’t worry. Start with the latest and greatest (even if it’s your currently not-so-great job).
Start with your outstanding accomplishments, then move onto the new skills you’ve learned.
Even if it’s been a while since your last update, once you start thinking about all you’ve done, updating your resume should be a breeze.
Fix up your LinkedIn
While you’re updating your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, too. (Or start a brand new one!)
One quick tip: Don’t simply copy and paste your resume into LinkedIn. Your resume should be unique and tailored for every job you apply to. Your LinkedIn profile is static, so it should be broader than your resume.
That doesn’t mean your LinkedIn profile can’t be as unique as you are. With an eye-catching banner, a creative summary section, and even some recommendations, you’ll create a standout LinkedIn profile in no time.
Leaving your job at the right time
Sometimes the signs that it’s time to move on are obvious, and other times, you can’t quite put your finger on it but you know it’s time to leave your job. Trust your instincts. If things feel off to you or you’re simply not happy or engaged anymore, that can be reason enough!
No matter why you’ve decided to leave your job, you should never feel guilty about moving on. Your professional life is short, so don’t spend more time than you have to in a position you dislike or one that isn’t a good fit for you.
And when you’re ready to make a professional change, consider joining FlexJobs. We’ve got remote and flexible jobs of every shape and size across 50 career categories.
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