Job hunting is just for the unemployed, right? Wrong. You don’t have to be unemployed or dissatisfied with your current position to be searching the job market. In fact, there are several important reasons why you should make looking for a job a frequent activity, even if you’re happy in your current role. So though we don’t recommend that you suddenly quit a job you’re perfectly happy with, in order to continue growing both personally and professionally you should always have one eye on the horizon. Here’s why:
- Shapes the big picture – For many of us, our careers are rarely a straight, linear path from Point A to Point B; many of us decide to change industries or switch professions entirely. By keeping tabs on positions that spark your interest, you’ll be able to reflect on the things you love (and don’t) about the work you do now and how that plays into where you see yourself in the future.
- Helps you create goals – Can you imagine finding your dream job, only to realize you’re not at all qualified? Putting feelers out in the job market now will help you get a better idea of what type of credentials or training you’ll need a few years down the road when you may be ready to make a change. Creating short-term goals will keep you motivated and more importantly, keep your career development on track. Regardless of what happens, improving yourself professionally is never a bad thing.
- Allows you to stay competitive – Adding to the last point, building your skills also helps you maintain a competitive edge. Keeping tabs on the job market and setting career goals will give you valuable insight into how your current skills align with what employers want. And when you do finally decide it’s time to move on to a new position, you’ll have a leg up on other candidates – many of whom may have waited until they were unemployed to begin looking at the job market.
- Prepares you for the worst-case scenario – If you found yourself jobless next week, how would you manage? No matter how successful or well-off your company is, it’s unwise to think that job security is a guarantee. The truth is that the economy fluctuates, business needs change, and layoffs do occur. To avoid being blind-sided, you need to keep an ongoing job search. At the very least it will give you a solid starting point should the unexpected happen.
Keep in mind that all this doesn’t mean you need to scour job boards every single day, nor does it mean you’re being disloyal to the company that you currently work for. It’s purely a reminder of the important reasons why you shouldn’t let 5, 10, or even 15 years go before you decide to reevaluate your career goals.