How To Know When You’re Ready to Start Your Job Search

If you’re sitting right now in your office or at home, aimlessly clicking through emails and wondering if now is your time to branch out and start your job search, this is the article for you.

Before we get going, I want to acknowledge that the fact that you’re reading this article should convey to you that you’re truly starting to consider making a change. You’re feeling like you’re not exercising your full potential, but you’re also not 100% sure that a new job opportunity is the way to fix this.

Here are four signs that you’re ready to start your job search:
1. If you’ve been in the same role for two years without promotion.

This doesn’t apply to senior leaders as much as it does to those with 0-10 years of experience. This is a time when you should be moving upward or taking on a new role in your company every two years on average. If you find yourself at the two year mark and you know you’re not being considered for a promotion, take a step back and think about what’s next for you. After more than two years in the same role, you might feel like you’re not being challenged or given the growth opportunities you need to thrive. If this sounds like you, now is the time to start shopping around for new opportunities!

2. If you’ve been at the same company for five years.

After the five-year mark, it gets increasingly difficult to make an industry change as you’re now considered specialized in your sector. When you reach this point, it’s important to evaluate whether you want to be in this industry, if it will help you achieve your long term vision, and if the advancement opportunities still appeal to you. If there’s a little voice inside your head saying that you’re not completely sure you’re in the right place, now could be the time to listen to it.

3. If it’s just before peak recruiting season.

I’ll tell you the truth: the average job search takes between 3-6 months. That’s a long time to go without a pay check if you suddenly decide to quit your day job and get out on the market again. Just like anything, preparing to start your job search requires thinking strategically about what’s best for you. To set yourself up, start preparing at least three months before peak recruiting seasons, or the months between September – October and February – March. This sounds like a lot, but the reality is that if you’re currently employed full-time you won’t have a lot of time to set aside for your job search. Instead, I recommend setting aside a manageable 90 minutes per day to implement your job search strategy.

4. If your industry is stagnant or dying.

If you turn on the news one day and notice that there’s been yet another set of major layoffs by a big player in your industry, it’s time to consider getting out now before you go down with it. Another major warning sign is when you start seeing budget cuts throughout your organization.

Are you preparing to start your job search? Unsure if it’s the right move? Tell me about it in the comments section!


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