Just because you’re doing something well now doesn’t mean you’ll always be successful at your job or enjoy the work you do. There are a number of reasons you might decide to look for another job.
Changing careers always carries a certain level of stress, but there are things you can do to make future job searches easier for yourself, no matter when you find yourself job-hunting.
Here are some situations that may prompt or complicate your job search and some tips for dealing with them.
1. You’re Unfulfilled at Work
You can be the best at what you do, but if it doesn’t make you happy and keep you engaged, it can be miserable to continue.
Aside from being disinterested in the type of work you’re doing, other reasons that might cause you to dislike your job include toxic relationships with co-workers, office politics, a lack of potential for growth, and assignments that seem meaningless and never-ending.
Many people feel this way for years before taking any action.
Even taking small steps early on can increase the chance that you’ll find a new job that you will enjoy. You can begin exploring your options by searching for profiles and podcasts that feature someone who is in a job that sounds interesting to you.
Career-related books and websites can also help you to identify potential directions. Digging deeper, you can find a lot of information about specific companies you’re interested in as well as employee experiences in different positions.
Leaving your job isn’t the only option if you’re unsatisfied at work. In some situations, communication is the key. If the company you currently work for conducts regular performance reviews, be sure to take advantage of these.
The thought of your supervisor assessing the work you do may bring up insecurities, but this is an opportunity for communication and growth.
If you see a particular need within the company or recognize a industry-related skill you’d like to learn, your employer may consider creating a new position or initiating a training program that gives you the experience you want.
2. You’ve Been Fired or Laid Off
If you’re fired or laid off, for whatever reason, it can add an extra layer of difficulty to lining up your next job. Though it’s important to be honest about the circumstances surrounding your being let go from a company, you shouldn’t describe the situation on your resume.
You’ll have a much better chance of making a good impression on hiring managers if you explain this in person. If you’ve been laid off or let go due to company-wide changes rather than performance issues, it might be worth mentioning this in your cover letter.
If you spend some time without work, you may face some financial struggles as well.
It can be helpful to list any current sources of income, including any severance or unemployment benefits, any amount you might get from your last paychecks, your savings account, and any liquid assets. Then write down your current expenses, using your bank statements as a reference.
You’ll get a clear picture of your financial situation if you can track three months of expenses. You’ll also be able to identify subscriptions and other luxuries that may cost more than you can afford without a steady income.
It’s important that you stay up to date on necessary expenses such as rent, utilities, loans, and car payments. Neglecting these can have terrible effects on your credit.
In some situations, contacting a company and letting them know your situation may allow you to stop or lower your payments for a period of time.
You may be tempted to use a credit card to cover expenses when you’re unemployed.
However, this can quickly increase the amount of debt you’re in and rack up interest that may take a long time to pay down, even once you’ve found a job.
You should never include credit cards within your budgeted income, but if you have no other option, you may have to cover some expenses using credit.
3. You’re Moving to a New City
Maybe you’re looking for a change of scenery. It can be challenging to find a job in a new city, especially if you don’t already have a network of people there to connect with.
If you have enough in savings to go without a few paychecks, it might be easier to wait until after you’ve made the move to begin looking for work.
However, for many people this isn’t possible, and you’ll need to begin searching for jobs and networking opportunities well in advance.
Even if you’re not planning to move for weeks or even months, it’s important to begin your job search early. At the very least, this involves doing online job searches around the new location on career sites and Craigslist.
You should also check for personal or business connections in the area on Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other networks you may be a part of. Even if you don’t know someone who lives in the new city, someone you know might still have a connection there.
Be sure to update your resume, and as you apply for jobs, consider that you may need to visit the new city ahead of time for an interview. Also, even if you find a job, it’s likely you’ll need to cover your own travel expenses, so you’ll need to include that when considering your moving costs.
Initially it may be necessary to take a temporary or seasonal job until you can find a permanent position. This would allow you to take care of the challenges of moving and settling into a new location.
4. You Just Need a Change
There may not be anything particularly wrong with your job, but you still feel the need to move on to a new position, a new company, or even a different industry than the one you currently work in.
People have seemingly unlimited potential for growth and change, and today could be the day you decide to take the first steps toward something new.
Even if you don’t know what you want to do, you can find a fulfilling career. One way to brainstorm ideas for potential jobs is to pay attention to growth trends in particular industries.
For example, careers in sustainability are in high demand, a trend that is expected to continue growing. Because environmentally friendly practices are becoming more important to consumers, sustainability jobs span across nearly every industry.
If you’re changing industries altogether or looking into jobs very different from your current position, it will help to make a list of skills you’ve gained that could apply to a variety of jobs.
Experiences with communication, research, leadership, and different software are applicable to many jobs. Be sure to consider specific examples from your work experience that demonstrate your ability to manage different situations related to these skills.
It’s no longer the expectation that you’ll stay in the same position with the same company until retirement.
Today, it’s much more common for people to make drastic career shifts when they need a change of pace, when companies’ policies or needs affect their position, or when people decide to relocate.
Finding your dream job is a process that may take some trial and error. Even if you’re happy with your job now, you should always look toward the future and prepare yourself (and your resume) for a variety of opportunities.