Essential Questions to Answer Before Changing Jobs

job change reflection

There are a lot of people looking for a new job.  As a matter of fact, according to CareerArc’s Great Resignation + Rehire survey, 23%  plan to quit their job within the next 12 months.  That is almost 1 out of every 4 people! While we appreciate a talent pool, full of outstanding people, we recommend that you take time to thoroughly think through your decision before you make a career move.

It is important that you don’t leave a good job – albeit not perfect, but good – and take a job that leaves you wanting.  With so many people looking for a new job, it feels natural for you to do the same.  It doesn’t take a lot to convince us that there is something better out there.  And there could be, but it is important that you know what ‘better’ means to you.

We put together several questions to help you answer the question, “Is a job change right for me?”  After working through the questions, you will have a clearer picture of what you want and why you want it.

This downloadable version provides the questions in a succinct form that is also easy to share.  It is a great tool for making a smart decision about whether a job change is right for you.

The Why of a Job Change

The first thing to think through is why you want to change jobs.  Can you list your reasons for looking for something new?  You want to be sure your desire for change is based on more than a feeling, but instead, on solid factors that will lead to something better. Know what you want to gain from a job change.

Part of understanding your why should be future planning.  Think beyond what you want today, think about what you want for 1-5 years from now.  Think through what will provide you with long-term satisfaction and give you the opportunities you are seeking for your career goals.

What Jobs are You Best Suited For?

There may be jobs that you think sound great; maybe they come with a bit of mystique because they are unusual or related to a high-end product. The key is to consider how your strengths align with those tasks or brands.  Take some time to list your strengths and areas of greatest fulfillment.  Maybe you love Excel spreadsheets — that may not feel overly sexy, but if you’re good at it and it brings you fulfillment, then stick to a job that involves Excel spreadsheets.

Additionally, think about the areas that you have had significant accomplishments in the past.  Those victories are a good indicator of where you have valuable skills to offer a new employer. Contemplate your past accomplishments and think of roles that would further amplify those strengths.

Also, think about the work environment that fits your personality. There are huge differences in a constantly pivoting start-up company and a well-established, process-driven corporation.  Which one is a good fit for you?  Do you thrive on deadlines and processes, or will that type of structure cause you frustration?

What is Important in Your Next Job?

Thinking through what is important in your next job may sound overly obvious, but it is critical to write it out.  This will help you avoid getting caught up in the excitement of an appealing job offer, forgetting all the little things that drove you crazy in your last position.  Decide now about your commute threshold, your realistic salary expectations, and willingness to travel.  Think about these areas before you are swayed by an opportunity that makes everything seem doable, only to discover several weeks in that you signed up for something you regret.

Another area to think through is benefits.  This includes tangible and intangible benefits.  Health care, paid time off, and 401k contributions are important to most people, but also consider the importance of career advancement, schedule flexibility, and the importance put on employee recognition.  Usually, people value certain benefits more than others.  Know what they are for you.

Where Can I Find My Next Job?

Networking is always our best advice for finding your next job.  Let everyone know that you are looking – your family, your friends, your neighbors, your professional networks and even your hairdresser.  Everyone knows someone and you may find just the right position simply by making a casual statement about your job search.

Be ready to clearly state what you are looking for in simple terms.  Know how to describe your ideal job in a few sentences that can be understood by the hearer.  If they understand what you are looking for, it will be more likely that they will have a recommendation or a person to refer you to.

Also, use the technology tools that are readily available.  Update your LinkedIn profile and follow job boards or recruiting services, (such as Centennial!) which can serve up a list of possible job opportunities.  Not only can you find jobs that are a great fit, but you can also read job descriptions that will help you articulate your own qualifications.  As you read through a job description, pull out the phrases that resonate with you and help you form a clearer picture of the right job for you.

How an Executive Search Firm Can Help

Sending your resume to an executive search firm, such as Centennial, is an easy way to be considered for upcoming positions.  Our process is a simple as uploading your resume HERE.  All search firms are a bit different, but our policy is to never share your credentials with an organization unless we’ve interviewed you ourselves.

We hope these questions help you to make a smart move the next time you are considering a job change.  Again, you can download these questions in PDF form HERE.

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