Waiting until you need a job is the worst time to look for one. Even if you like the job you have, looking for the next opportunity is a smart career move. And if an opportunity comes along, you don’t have to take it. The choice is yours.
Here are three reasons you should be looking for a new job even if you are happy where you are:
1. Your Ideal Job May Not Be Available the Next Time You’re Looking
Whether something happens and you decide to quit or you’re laid off, you’ll be looking for something quickly and may end up taking something that isn’t ideal simply because you need a job.
If you’re looking for a job while you’re still gainfully employed doing something you like, your job search is really about making a step up—whether that’s an increase in your position on increasing your scope and responsibilities. If you wait until you need a job, your next job may end up being lateral or even a step backwards. Looking for a job before you actually need one is more of a career move than a job hunt.
2. The Job Network Won’t Wait for You
Most jobs aren’t advertised, particularly more senior positions, and if they are, you are much less likely to find out about them if you aren’t looking. If you wait until you need a job to start networking, connecting with headhunters, and keeping your ears to the ground for available positions, it will be too late.
If you’re not in a hurry for new job, that’s even better. You can foster a network within your industry (which you should be doing anyway) and lay the groundwork by asking people in your network about the job market. You can even plant the seed that, while you are happy where you are, you would like to hear about new opportunities. Something might come up next month or next year, but at least you will hear about it. Be sure to share the job market knowledge you pick up with others in your network. In other words, be sure to give, not just take.
You should also connect with headhunters who deal in the industry and type of position you are interested in. Let them know what you’re looking for so if a job comes up that fits your requirements, they will check to see if you’re interested. There’s nothing wrong with being approached about a new job. If you want, you can pursue it. If not, just say no thanks—this time. And if you can, help them out and pass it along to someone else in your network who may be interested.
3. When You Don’t Need the Job, You’re in the Best Position to Negotiate Salary and Benefits
Human resources managers know that if you’re out of work and looking, you’re likely to settle for less. If you already have a job you like, you have more leverage with the company that wants to hire you.
Getting a new job in a different company is the easiest way to improve your financial position. Unless a promotion is imminent within your existing company, your
compensation is unlikely to improve very much where you are. And sometimes, even internal promotions come with limitations in the percentage your salary can increase.
Starting the job hunt while still gainfully employed allows you to stay in control of your career, find out about great opportunities you may not have been aware of, and potentially increase your salary significantly.
What are you waiting for?
Adapted from an original post by Michel Theriault in allbusiness.com