Why searching for a new job before you’re ready is the best time.

Take this scenario, it’s been a few years at your current job and deep down you know it’s time to move on, like any big change in life, it’s never without its stressful moments; searching, interviews, negotiating, rejections, not hearing back, chasing, that nerve-wracking first day and of course.. updating your CV. Now, the lucky few of you will find switching jobs a breeze, and hats off to you, but for those of you who find the whole task a bit daunting, it can be quite a stressful process.

Looking at a worst-case scenario, you really hate your current job, living for the weekend, those Sunday miseries when Monday is approaching – it’s awful, isn’t it? So, naturally you start job hunting and for many of us, this is a long-winded process, you need to update your CV, you need to find jobs that appeal to you, secure interviews, agree on an offer and then hand in your notice. Taking that into account, you could be looking at 3 or even 6 months minimum before you step foot into your new place of employment. That’s not a very nice prospect if you find yourself dreading Monday week in and week out.

With that in mind, my suggestion is, be ready for a new job before you’re ready, read on for the why and some helpful tips…

Updating your CV & LinkedIn Profile

Updating your CV can be quite a difficult thing to do sometimes, you need to paint yourself in your best light, highlight your achievements and most importantly quantify your success. Thinking back over the last 2-3 years of your current job for 4 or 5 key breakthrough moments might be quite tough to do, plus if you’re not feeling overly positive about yourself or your current job it’s going to be quite tricky to describe the experience in your CV.

That’s why it’s important to constantly be updating your CV, even building a portfolio (if relevant) throughout your career, and most importantly – do it when you least need to and when you’re feeling the most comfortable in your job, it’ll shine through in your CV and it’s one less thing to worry about at crunch time. Besides, somebody might headhunt you tomorrow and wouldn’t it be great if you could zip your CV over the same day without having to even think about it.

The same goes for your LinkedIn profile, more and more employers are checking you out on social media, before, during and after the hiring process, so keep it up-to-date and keep it clean.

Be open to opportunities

Opportunities turn up whenever they want. Four at the same time, nothing for two years, a week into your new job but more often than not, not right when you need them. That’s why you always need to be open to them, don’t turn around and say “nope, all good thanks” just because you’re not in the right frame of mind or you’re only a few months into a new job. Make sure to explore opportunities that come your way, just make sure you manage the other individual’s expectations; As Milton Berle famously said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”.

“I’m not actively looking right now, but I’m happy to have an informal discussion about it” Is one way to still have the discussion and takes the pressure off you accepting something if it’s not the right time

“I’ve only just started at my new job and I’m really enjoying things, but let’s stay in touch?” Keeps things friendly, but gently lets them down.

But, if you can see something really isn’t right for you, don’t be afraid to say no, but always explain why – at the very least, they’ll understand what makes you tick and they might come back with something else.

Lastly, LinkedIn allows you to set your job-seeking preferences, to privately signal recruiters that you’re open for discussions – don’t worry, it doesn’t send out a foghorn signal, it’s very subtle.

Stay in touch with your recruiter

Recruitment is a people business. Pick the recruiter, not the agency and providing that person listens and delivers, stick with them. Over time your understanding of each other will grow and the performance can only improve from there. They’ll understand your wants and needs and you’ll understand their approach to recruiting. Just because their job is over (for now), make sure you stay in touch, pick up the phone once in a while and get their feedback on the good and bad things that might happen at work to get an unbiased opinion, find out about industry movements and see if anything interesting has changed since you last changed jobs, talk to them about your most recent pay rise or bonus and find out how it stacks up against the market standard. These are all things a good recruiter can and will happily help with, that many people don’t actually realise.

Got an itch? Start tentatively looking…

Starting to get an itch? Step it up a notch – make sure you’ve covered all of the points above and start putting out tentative feelers – do not worry about turning interviews or offers down because it’s not the right time, just start looking. Maybe the itch will go away and then simply call off the search, but if that itch develops into a scratch, at least you’ve given yourself a head-start.



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