You know it’s time to look for a new job when…

There are certain moments during the year that people consider looking for a new job. After New Year and after summer holiday breaks are noticeable peak times for this. People re-evaluate and want to “start afresh”. On holiday they have plenty of time to think things over and a new year offers new possibilities. It always reminds me of one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions – a new diet regime with an aim to lose weight! After the initial personal promises to ones self and others, the good intentions often go pear-shaped (forgive the pun). This is because an analysis hasn’t been made and the plan then cannot be realised.

Finding a new job is often very similar to going on a diet, although you may not think so. The intention is good but there is often an excuse not to do it or to put it off; like a successful diet, a new career won’t appear all by itself. It needs the person in question to take responsibility.

Firstly you must question the reason for wanting a new job – and there can be numerous reasons for this:

Am I bored in my current role?

Boredom is a killer. When enthusiasm levels are low through boredom, they will not get better by themselves! Self-motivation becomes increasingly difficult and finally disappears altogether – even the most menial of tasks can become a massive challenge.

Am I stressed at work?

There can be more than one reason for stress in the workplace: A consistent overload of tasks and/or additional responsibility can be very damaging. I’m not talking about a busy period when overtime is needed to clear a backlog, with a sigh of relief (and a satisfied feeling) at the end, but a never-ending workload that remains the same and never seems to fluctuate; the feeling of continually attempting to catch-up and it never happening. Efficiency is threatened and the job cannot be well executed because there is simply not enough time and you are too tired and bogged down.

Stress can also rear up its very ugly head in the form of bad working relationships. Having a laugh with colleagues is so essential, being able to do the job in a pleasant and friendly environment is key to development – both to yourself and to your employer. Remember, joy in the workplace can enhance your career. Enjoyment makes you feel empowered and leads to success.

Do I feel scared about having to go to work?

All alarm bells must be ringing if this one is familiar. This is serious stuff. The cause of this feeling (a nagging one that makes you sick to the pit of your stomach), is usually stress-related and often due to a lack of confidence when performing your tasks. Ultimately it could also have an adverse effect on your health – very serious indeed and definitely not worth the health risk.

Am I doing a job that isn’t in line with my ethics and core values?

Have you ever had the feeling of having to do a job that isn’t in line with how you view your own personal values? Even worse than that – have you ever had the feeling that you had to be dishonest to clients or colleagues when working? A scam! A cheat! No way you can carry on, as you will certainly damage your personal integrity. It is so important to do what you trust and believe in.

Do you “just have to earn a crust”?

Let’s be honest. Money is important. We all have to pay our mortgages, bills, taxes etc. – and still hopefully have a bit left for a nice holiday and a decent wardrobe. Not to mention providing for our children if we are parents. A salary is a touchy subject but a very important one. It should go hand in hand with a nice job and not just be a means to an end. Are you getting badly paid for a job you dislike? Do you put in loads of overtime for nothing? Do you just get out of bed to make sure you get paid at the end of the month? Then you are not being very kind to yourself, or to your employer for that matter. Believe me, you are worth more.

I could give more examples of the above but it’s so much more inspiring to go onto the next step.

The next step is answering the question is it time to look for a new job? If the above are sounding familiar, it may well be the case.

What do I do now?

Firstly the question has to be asked whether or not you can re-discover the joy with your current employer. Are there courses to follow or the possibility to work elsewhere within the company in a different role? A chat with your employer is often a scary prospect but it can clear the air and lead to great improvements on both sides. A solution is then close to hand.

If not, then it’s time to take action. The first thing to do is to spruce up your CV and portfolio (if relevant). For tips and advice on these, take a look at our previous blog postings – Six seconds to make an impression! Top CV tips from the experts and Spring clean your portfolio – Top tips from the industry experts. These should get you well on the road to confidently hunting down the best available career opportunities. If you are on LinkedIn then be sure to fully complete your LinkedIn profile; make it clear and interesting, include a couple of images to grab attention –these could be from your portfolio or work-related interests but make sure they look professional. Don’t forget – if you don’t complete your profile fully, those who are viewing it might not be able to find the information they are looking for and move on!

Make sure all of your best skills are visible, ask for recommendations and recommend and endorse others regularly. Join groups. Connect as much as you can. Follow companies you’re interested in and most importantly – make sure people know how to contact you!

Think carefully about what you want. What kind of company or agency? Large or small? National or international? Think about the location – closer to home or are you prepared to travel for your dream job? Do you want to work in a busy city centre or a quieter environment? What are your salary requirements – would you be willing to negotiate for the right opportunity? You may consider going freelance. This can be very liberating too.

It’s essential to be clear on your requirements, otherwise you’ll never be able to make a decent decision.

So where to start looking? There are plenty of online job boards out there where you may just find your dream job. Or have you ever thought of a signing up with good recruitment agency? They really do exist:

Making contact with someone who takes an interest in you and takes time to understand your career needs can be a huge support. It can open up even more opportunities than you thought possible.  The job market can be a pretty daunting place at times and sometimes just having someone who you can share your concerns with or give you honest feedback on your CV or portfolio can really build confidence and help you on your way.
It’s up to you!

Last but not least: Take action. Follow your career dreams and contribute to your own personal growth. You won’t be disappointed!

Author Director "Life's a journey, not a destination."