Tell-tale signs it’s time to move onto a new role and top tips to help you

clock face, time, time for a new role / job

Finding a new job can feel like an arduous process, particularly if you’ve been in your current role a long time.

Perhaps you are out of practice for interviews or it feels like a job in itself to ‘put yourself out’ into the market. Here’s some practical advice on when the right time to move on is and what to do about it.

Finding a new job – is there a right time?

Frequently, experienced professionals put off finding a new job until they really have to. That ‘really have to’ moment may be redundancy or a pain point which has just become too much, such as a lack of promotion prospects or a change of leadership.

However, the worst time to look for a new role is in a rush or panic; there could be a ‘frying pan into fire’ effect. It’s also not advisable to look for something new when your confidence is low. It won’t help you to communicate yourself and your expertise confidently and clearly.

So, here are the tell-tale signs it’s time to start preparing to look for a new role:

You cannot see any way to progress at your current organisation.

Top tip: if you work in a large organisation, consider whether there are other roles you could move into. Use your network to investigate and if you don’t have an internal network, make a plan for building one. I’ve helped clients make such a move.

Challenging relationships, particularly with your line manager/other close colleague

Top tip: challenge yourself. Have you really put work into resolving the challenges? ‘Office politics’ (to find more about this topic, click here) can be very difficult to navigate but often with the right guidance, improvements can occur – improvements that are enough to make it worth staying.

You’ve been in your role/organisation a very long time which is atypical of your industry.

Top tip: consider whether you’re still developing in your organisation. If you went for an interview tomorrow, could you ‘justify’ why you’ve stayed so long? If you can’t and you feel your development and interest in your work are stunted, then it’s probably time for a change.

Top tip: consider what more you could be doing in your role? Are there additional responsibilities you could take on? What might interest you to get involved in?

You have had major disruption to your life for a long-time due to work, which is damaging your mental and/or physical health.

This includes extensive travelling that you’re keen to cut down on or a long commute and you aren’t able to move nearer your workplace to alleviate it.

Top tip: reflect on whether it really is impossible to move and whether the existing level of travel is essential. Consider whether you could ask for more flexible working arrangements.

You’re uninspired by the leadership of the organisation and can’t foresee any reason why this would change in the short to medium term. An even bigger reason to move is if you feel practices are unethical.

Top tip: consider whether you really are at the mercy of the leadership team’s way of doing things. Are there changes you could make in your team that would improve your day-to-day working without causing a wider issue?

Five tips to be ready to go for a new role

Maybe, having read the above, you now realise it’s time to move on or perhaps you have come to the conclusion that your time in your current organisation is not yet at an end. Either way, it never does any harm to be prepared to go for a new role; circumstances may suddenly change or someone could tell you about an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.

So, start to prepare to look for a new job before you really need/want to. My top tips for doing this are:

  • Keep you CV and LinkedIn profile up-to-date – it’s harder to update them meaningfully about work you did a year ago.
  • Continue to network and connect with new people you meet in person on LinkedIn.
  • Visit LinkedIn a couple of times a week for a few minutes, to keep up-to-date with what is going on with your contacts and in professional life overall outside of your immediate environment.
  • Where possible, interact with what you see on LinkedIn – genuine likes, shares and comments help to keep you in people’s minds.
  • Make notes of what you would want from a different role – these might be what the role involves or practicalities, such as location and flexibility.

Despite the challenge of finding a new job when you have a full-time job, being organised, and working on some of the above over time will your search be more focused. You won’t waste your time when you do want to go to the job market.

Joanna GaudoinAbout the author

Joanna Gaudoin, Inside Out Image specialises in helping ambitious professionals and their organisations improve performance and achieve their goals.

She does this by helping them master and strategically use the business skills of Personal Impact and Relationship Management. These skills are required for professional success.

Before establishing Inside Out Image, Joanna worked in marketing and consultancy in large corporates. She understands the business world and its challenges. She now helps organisations and individuals understand how to succeed in it. Sign up here to receive Joanna’s newsletter for monthly advice on how to achieve professional success.

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