At some point in your career, you may decide it's time to find a new job. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average tenure for most employees in any one company is 4 years. This is a far cry from our parents’ or grandparents’ generation, who worked for the same company for 30 years and received a gold watch and a hefty pension when they retired.
Times have changed. This is why it’s so important for you to manage your own career development. No longer are companies focusing on developing life-long employees. Sadly, for many companies, the only measure of success is the bottom line. Meanwhile, unhappy and disappointed employees seek employment elsewhere, hoping to find satisfaction and opportunities for advancement.
The bright news is that there are still companies that do see the value in their greatest asset – their employees. These companies spend a lot of time and effort to ensure their employees are satisfied. Researching a company’s corporate culture and environment will be one of the activities you pursue as you seek employment outside the company you work for.
So, how do you know when it’s time to find a new job? The president of a company I used to work for would tell us “If you wake up three days in a row dreading your work day, then it’s time to find a new job.” Everyone has bad days here and there, but if you find yourself having days and days of bad days, it’s not worth your time or effort to stay in a position that makes you miserable. If you can pinpoint why your current job is miserable, it will help you to either make positive changes or know what to avoid when it's time to find a new job. Try making your current situation better, and if that doesn’t work, then it may be time to find a new job.
With that said, however, you should have a good reason for leaving a company or position. Leaving a position because you don’t like your boss or your co-workers will only set you up for disappointment elsewhere. As bad as your situation may be now, you could potentially end up in a worse situation somewhere else. Having an “escape” mentality will blind you to any faults or potentially unfulfilling positions somewhere else. Recognize why you’re leaving a company, and leave for positive reasons (personal goals, advancement opportunities, new challenges, etc.).
If you are the victim of corporate downsizing, hopefully you received a severance package that will allow you ample time to find a new job and discover another opportunity elsewhere.
Your Job Objective
Make sure your job objective is specific, and only seek opportunities that you qualify for, and have a strong desire to do. Just throwing your resume out and hoping for the best won’t bring recruiters to your door. You must focus your efforts. It’s okay to have more than one job objective, just make sure you have separate resumes for each objective.
There are so many opportunities and ways to find open positions. One of the best ways is through personal networking. You can also use job search engines, newspaper classifieds, etc. when it's time to find a new job.
Make sure your resume(s) highlight your special skills and qualifications; the attributes that a hiring manager for the position you’re seeking is looking for. If there are specific qualifications and desired skill sets in a job posting, make sure your resume reflects all the qualifications and skills that you possess. This is not a time to be modest or, on the flip side, arrogant. You must sell yourself without appearing to be conceited. If you don’t have the time or expertise to re-write your own resume, there are many resume writers that will help you focus your objective and highlight your unique skillset and qualifications.
Whenever possible, you should include a cover letter with your resume. A cover letter makes the process more personal, and provides another way for you to sell yourself to a prospective employer. The cover letter should be brief, but detailed enough to show that you are an excellent fit for the position. The cover letter should also lead a prospective employer to contact you for an interview.
When you do get a call for an interview, don’t panic! Research the company, talk to anyone you know who has worked for the company (or knows someone who has), and jot down questions you would like to ask the employer. Remember, you don’t want to leave your current position just to put yourself in a situation that’s worse. Interviewing a potential employer shows you are interested, motivated, professional, and provides you a way to find out if this is really a good fit for you. And best of all, almost no one does this! As a hiring manager for a number of years, it amazed me how many people didn’t have any questions during the interview.
Okay, so you aced the interview and got an offer! Before negotiating your salary, know the absolute bottom number you would be willing to accept. It would help to do some salary research. Salary.com offers a great way to find out what others are making in the same type of position in your area.
The art of negotiating must be handled tactfully. On one hand, you need to make sure you get paid what you believe you’re worth, and on the other hand, you don’t want to ruin your chances at your dream career over a salary dispute. Your negotiation should be handled with the facts (your unique skills and qualifications) to help you and the employer come to an agreement. If you’re currently making $38K a year, don’t expect to be offered a position paying $80K a year (although stranger things have happened!).
On the flip side, if the final salary you’re offered is far less than what you’re accustomed to, you really need to think about it, and prepare yourself to be okay with the decision if you accept.
By following the steps on this website, you'll be prepared when it's time to find a new job.