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Is Now the Right Time to Look For a New Job?

By Nicole Cavazos

The job market has shown significant strength since the beginning of the year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, new jobs are being added every month, unemployment is down and wages are up slightly.

With this news, it seems like a good time to look for a new job. After all, you never know how long the great jobs numbers will last. But before you make any sudden moves, here are a few things you should consider.

The Economy Might be Healthier, But is Your Industry?

The jobs numbers reflect the entire jobs market as a whole. But they might not reflect what’s happening in your particular industry, which could be stagnant or shrinking.

Do your research to find out where your industry stands. A good place to start is the U.S. Department of Labor’s career one stop web site. Many industries are cyclical and do the bulk of their hiring during certain times of the year. Others hire year round as needed. Once you figure out your industry’s timetable, you can use it to your advantage.

Sometimes a downturn can be temporary due to various factors, or permanent due to more fundamental changes in the market. If this is the case, it might be wise to start exploring your options in other growth-oriented industries.

Are They Hiring in Your Neck of the Woods?

Some regions of the country are experiencing slower job gains than others. The Midwest and areas of the South showed the slowest gains in March, according to a report from payroll processor ADP.

But job seekers in Pacific states, especially in California, are facing a more robust job market with 49,000 new jobs added in March. In these states, hiring has been strongest in the professional and business services industries, with manufacturing showing the weakest gains.

Is the Timing Right for You?

Yes, the economic conditions might be right to look for a new job, but are your personal conditions ideal? Are you experiencing a major life change such as a divorce, marriage, new baby, death in the family, or new home ownership? If so, it might be worth staying put for a while until the dust has settled.

Another reason to wait includes an impending vacation – it would be a shame to cancel your dream trip to Southeast Asia because you’re starting a new job. Also, if you anticipate that you’re about to receive a bonus, promotion or pay raise, it might be worth delaying your move so that you can acquire new skills and a higher salary to use as bargaining tool for your next job.

Are You Leaving for the Right Reasons?

Your career is more than your current job, it’s also your future. Yes there may be several lucrative opportunities to take advantage of, but before you take the bait, make sure that your choices are in line with your ultimate career goals. Know why you’re taking a job outside of the most obvious advantages (i.e. money, gourmet cafeterias, company climbing wall). Will this new job get you any closer to your ultimate goals? Or will it serve as a distraction and perhaps even a departure from your real desires?

It’s sort of like that old adage, don’t marry the first person you kiss, no matter how flashy they are. Sometimes it’s best to stay put until you find someone, or in this case something of substance. If you’re relatively happy with your job, you can afford to be picky. Perhaps this is the best benefit of a better economy.

Nicole Cavazos

Nicole Cavazos is a Los Angeles-based copywriter and blogger. As a former contributor to the ZipRecruiter blog, she covered the job market and wrote advice for job seekers.

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