It's not new news that the job market is constantly evolving. It can be tough to know when to start looking for a new opportunity in a wonky job market. Even if you already have a job, there are many compelling and smart reasons to start your passive job search right now. Here are three reasons why it is practical to keep your feelers open/out in regard to looking for a new job or considering a new job -even when you're already employed.
Career growth and development: One of the most common reasons people change jobs is to pursue growth and development in their careers. If you've been in your current role for a long while (more than 20 months) and feel like you've reached a dead end in terms of advancement, it may be time to start exploring other opportunities. Even if you don't end up leaving your current job, the process of job searching can give you valuable insights into the skills and experience you need to progress in your career.
Better work-life balance: Another reason to job search while you're employed is to improve your work-life balance. Don't get me started on what work-life balance means for everyone. We are all different. If you're feeling overworked and underpaid, or if your current job is causing undue stress and affecting your health or sleep, it may be time to consider other options. With a new job, you could potentially negotiate for better hours, benefits, or remote work options that would improve your overall well-being for example.
Opportunity for more total compensation: Finally, one of the biggest motivators for people to change jobs is to increase their earning potential. If you feel like you're being underpaid or undervalued in your current role, a job search could help you find a position that better compensates you for your skills and experience. Additionally, you may be able to negotiate for better benefits, such as health insurance, a 401(k) match, or paid time off, which can significantly improve your overall financial situation. Keep in mind if you negotiate benefits and pay outside the "typical" offerings the company has that it is likely the organization lacks true pay equity and equity in general when it comes to culture, etc.
Over the years I've encouraged my direct reports and mentees to apply for other roles and interview with other companies just as much as internal opportunities. The worst-case scenario every time is that nothing happens. More often than not, I've seen this blossom into opportunities for people to grow. Whether it's as a recruiter, an interviewee, or a leader - it is a good idea to poke your head over the fence and see why the grass may look greener next door or down the street. Is it because it is astroturf or is it because the company truly cultivates its culture and is exactly who they say they are from total compensation to how the company operates?
Next time a recruiter or sourcer gets in touch with you about a role you're qualified for, do yourself a favor and schedule 10-20 minutes with them to see what you can gain from learning more about the job and company as it compares to your experience. I suggest approaching this by asking yourself, "what is the best that can happen" if I talk to this recruiter? You may find out that you're in the best place you can be right now. You may find out that you already belong somewhere else.
There are way more than 3 reasons to keep your options open when it comes to career search and decisions. Comment with yours.