#AskJUGS: How do I know if I should start looking for a new job?

This is a pretty common question. While there are definitely some signs that you should start looking for a new job, a better question to ask might be, “How can I be ready to launch a job search?”

You never know when a great opportunity will come along or when sudden changes can leave you feeling desperate in your current job. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take on a regular basis to ensure that you’re ready to get serious about making a change should the need arise.

3 Ways to be Job Search Ready

1. Take Inventory

Find yourself occasionally wondering, “What’s next?”. Go ahead and try to imagine some of the possibilities. This brainstorm doesn’t have to be practical to be helpful.

Ask yourself what sort of role or projects you’d love to tackle. Make a list of what you do now, what you love and what you’d love to never have to do again. Are there programs or software you’d like to learn? Professional development opportunities you might want to take advantage of?

These notes aren’t just lists - they’re useful data about your evolving interests. If you pay attention, they’re telling you how to move forward, even if the end goal isn’t clear. If you’re not sure how to begin this process, you can start by asking these questions.

2. Ask for Feedback

Asking for feedback on your skills and strengths from your peers can be extremely valuable. Find three or four colleagues that you know, trust and like. These should be people familiar with your work and work style, as well as your values.

If you’re not sure what other career possibilities may be a good match for you, ask them to think about what they can imagine you doing successfully. My guess is that you’ll be surprised by how insightful your friends and colleagues can be!

Bonus: These conversations also provide great content you can potentially use in resumes, cover letters and job interviews!

3. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Quarterly

While it’s ideal to customize your resume and LinkedIn to the specific type of roles you’re interested in, it’s important to keep track of your professional accomplishments and evolution in real time, too.

Make a date with yourself once a quarter to take stock of new skills, experiences, and responsibilities and update your resume and/or LinkedIn accordingly. That way, should any interesting opportunities come your way, you’ll be ready!


Jenn Walker Wall writes a monthly career advice column called #AskJUGs for JustUsGalsBos.com and is the founder of Work Wonders Coaching + Consulting. You can follow her on Twitter: @JennWalkerWall