When is the best time to switch jobs?

When is the best time to switch jobs?

You’ve been contemplating about leaving your job for a while, so you’ve been looking at job posts in your spare time and some of them do look promising. Should you pack up your things and leave your employer right now? Not before you have looked at all your options and the conditions are right.

As with any other career decision, your choices must not be made on the spur of the moment. You must look at the issue at all angles to help you pick the best course of action to take. Make the wrong move and you may end up losing a lot in the process. Assessing your current life and employment situation can help you come up with the right answer to the question, “When is the best time to switch jobs?”

Study your current job situation

To start things off, look to your current job situation to help you make the right decision. Ask yourself the reason behind your need to switch careers. Has the job become stagnant? Do you feel you are stuck and have exhausted every means to advance in your current assignment? Perhaps all is still not lost and you may want to discuss this with your boss about your options. Voicing out your concerns to people who can help you should be your first plan of action.

But what if your fears are true? What if there really is no room for you to advance at your current job? This could be the case for long-tenured employees, and if that’s the case then by all means, the time’s perfectly ripe for you to look for a new job. After all, seeking out new opportunities and experiences are what employees need to keep their skills updated and fresh.

You also need to look at your employer’s situation before deciding to jump ship. Things like, are you in the middle of working on a big project for the company? It might not be wise to move right now. Another question to think of is the level of activity that your employer is currently experiencing. Each industry or company has its busy and laidback seasons and you need to know these things to make sure your timing is right. Your best bet is to leave after completing a successful project. Usually there is a bit of downtime in between huge projects so you’ll be free to do your job hunting activities, plus you’ll be coming from a good place career-wise—you’re more upbeat from your recent success (which is always helpful when looking for jobs) and more importantly you can use this achievement to boost your resume.

Check your personal needs and concerns

The next factor you need to consider before deciding to switch jobs is your personal circumstances. Assess where you are in life right now and decide whether you have the resources to make the big move. Going through a major life change at the moment, like pregnancy or a death in the family? It may not be so wise to change careers now. You don’t need the additional stress to an already event-filled life. Learn to focus on one big thing first before tackling anything else.

It’s also not a good idea to take on a new job just before a vacation. It’s better if you get your wanderlust out of the way before you switch careers as it would help you start things off with your new employer on the right foot (just imagine getting asked by the HR for your start date and you having to delay it for several weeks because of a planned vacation you’ve made months before), plus you’ll be more refreshed and energized once you take on the role.

Lastly, your financial situation will also dictate whether it’s the right time to switch jobs. It’s always better if you already have a job lined up before you leave an old one but what if there is no new job in sight? Can your finances handle weeks and months of being jobless? Do you have enough savings to cover your expenses? These are the monetary considerations you should be thinking before moving companies.

Know the job market/industry’s condition

Finally, you need to know the current job market situation of the industry you are applying for before you switch careers. Check the news or the Labour Department’s reports to help you see what is out there. It will certainly help you decide whether your chances at securing a job are great or if you’re better off waiting until the time is right.

If the job market’s climate is favorable for employment, try to look for companies who are in the process of turning over a new fiscal year. Here’s when companies are launching new projects and in turn results to lots of job openings waiting to be filled. Look to industry news and your very own network to know when this occurs. 

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Further reading: 

The 7 items you should remove from your resume

5 ways to stay focused in a busy work environment

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