When Should You Start Looking For a New Job?

By Nicole “Nikki” Green

Imagine having  your dream job, where your management and team are amazing, you feel valued as an employee, and the perks and compensation are in line with what you think you are worth. Life is good … then, POP, your bubble bursts. You are suddenly informed that your firm is going to be restructured or your attorney decides to leave and join another firm.  Now what?

Should you wait and see what happens because Becky from HR told you it’s going to be OK?  Should you look for another job? Is your resume up to date? Oh, no. You ask yourself, should I have gained more litigation experience? Should I have taken the offer a year ago from that other firm?  Well, with the unemployment rate being low, I should be OK, right? Yes, the unemployment rate is low, but the market is very competitive and finding the right opportunity takes time; and we can’t just say “Alexa, find me a new job!”

Even if you are content where you are, it’s always good to passively look.  This doesn’t mean you should start applying for every job under the sun. Instead, keep tabs on how the job market is and the available positions.  Keep your LinkedIn profile updated so it matches your current experience, make connections with people in your field, join that association that you have been putting off because you have been too busy.

With the market being so competitive, it’s not just a good idea to always be networking or actively participating in a networking group where you can connect with colleagues with the same interests or career paths; it is mandatory.  There are a plethora of networking options available to you via industry associations like the NCBA or even your corporate alumni networks. There are also online groups that you can join if you don’t have time to attend events. I understand life gets busy, but I would start with any professional designations that are in line with your profession and build relationships within them.  Good connections don’t happen overnight. You need to plant your networking seeds now and continually fertilize them so they flower and blossom when it’s time to harvest.

When you meet people, ask for insights and advice instead of saying you are job searching and need help.  Networking makes you better as you share experiences, learn new skills and capabilities, and keep abreast of industry changes and updates so you will be up-to-speed with the best practices in your industry and become more valuable.

If you are a recent college graduate or going to school, start building your network now so when the time comes you will already have established connections to build from and grow. You won’t regret it, and it will kick start your career growth.

The power of networking is fantastic.  If you start now or continue growing your network, when something does happen with your employment, there is a greater chance that someone you’ve already networked with can recommend or refer you to an opportunity as they arise.

Ask yourself this question: If you were to find yourself looking for employment, would you be ready?  If your answer is no, then it’s time to make this change. You should always keep your resume updated and in line with your career path or search. Keep it precise and to the point by highlighting your years of experience and your strongest skillset or topic knowledge. For example, if you have more than five years of experience and your background is in personal injury; or you are currently supporting more than two attorneys; or you have extensive knowledge reviewing medical records, these should be the eye-catchers of your resume. The pulp of your career should go in the summary or introduction part of your resume.

In the day and age of internet and mobile technology, privacy is scarce and news travels at the speed of a tweet.  Keep your social media presentable or make it private; if you are going to post something public you should post it like your grandmother would be reading it because your future employee may be the one that does. Sometimes what is presented on your social media accounts can put a stall or even a stop on your employment opportunities.

Believe it or not, these days most employers search for your social media profiles and posts to get a better idea of who they may be hiring and your character, and unfortunately, sometimes they do make a decision based on what they see or perceive before even considering interviewing you.  So, that picture of you dancing on of a table may have been a one-time funny event, but it’s best to keep this private and offline to avoid misperceptions. Unfortunately, your friends may not have the same mentality and should probably read this article too. They may still post and tag you in crazy pictures, so be sure to have a conversation with them or ensure you can approve posts you are tagged in before they get published in your account.

So, in summary, the question is not when to start looking for a new job. The key is being proactive throughout your career, so if anything does happen, you are already prepared and on the right path for success.  It’s also important to protect your image in our online world to avoid misperceptions and missed opportunities.

My name is Nikki Green, and I am the owner and founder of Ave Staffing LLC. My company came to life after I decided to walk away from the corporate world. I knew that I could offer a more personal experience for job seekers and the companies that needed to find the perfect talent.

With my refined background in recruiting, I am your legal matchmaker! As a child, my mother always told me to fly high and follow my dreams. “Ave” means bird in Spanish, so I decided this was the perfect name for my new company and a great way to honor my mother. By following my dreams and by stepping out on a foundation of faith and hard work, I created Ave Staffing. If you have any questions or comments for Nikki Green, please contact her at nikki@avestaffing.com.