Ques­tions to ask be­fore start­ing job hunt

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Success - Jill Sch­lesinger Jill on Money Jill Sch­lesinger, CFP, is a CBS News busi­ness an­a­lyst. A for­mer op­tions trader and CIO of an in­vest­ment ad­vi­sory firm, she wel­comes com­ments and ques­tions at askjill @jil­lon­money.com.

Chang­ing ca­reers is be­com­ing the rule rather than the ex­cep­tion. Ac­cord­ing to a long-term study by the La­bor Depart­ment, peo­ple born in the years 1957 to 1964 held an av­er­age of 11.7 jobs from ages 18 to 48.

Dur­ing the Great Re­ces­sion, many were forced to con­sider new po­si­tions, but now, as the la­bor mar­ket con­tin­ues to flour­ish, more work­ers are seek­ing new jobs.

If you are in the mar­ket to make a change, whether due to fi­nan­cial ( job switch­ers can pocket 10 to 30 per­cent larger an­nual pay in­creases than those who stay put, ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Re­serve Bank of At­lanta) or life­style con­sid­er­a­tions, fig­ure out why you are jump­ing ship. Be­fore you start spend­ing time and en­ergy on LinkedIn, In­deed, Glass­door and myr­iad other web­sites out there, it’s help­ful to think through some ques­tions. Here are 10 to get you started:

What do I like/dis­like about my cur­rent job/oc­cu­pa­tion?

Do I like my in­dus­try, but not my com­pany?

What skills do I have?

What are my strengths and weak­nesses? How can I use my skills in an­other field/ ca­reer?

Do I need more ed­u­ca­tion or train­ing be­fore mak­ing the leap?

Will I need to work longer hours/days? Will I lose pre­cious va­ca­tion time?

Am I will­ing to phys­i­cally move or en­dure a longer com­mute?

Will my ca­reer change re­quire me to ac­cept a lower salary or a loss of ben­e­fits?

These ques­tions re­quire you to be hon­est with your­self. With re­gard to the last one, if your shift re­quires you to take a step back fi­nan­cially, then be sure to have ad­e­quate sav­ings to cover your ex­penses. In ad­di­tion to your reg­u­lar fixed costs, be sure to in­clude any one-off bills that your new ca­reer might re­quire.

Af­ter think­ing this through, you might come to the con­clu­sion that you are bet­ter off stay­ing where you are and ask­ing your boss for a raise. Even though the la­bor mar­ket is tight­en­ing up, you still want to demon­strate your value, how you make a dif­fer­ence to the com­pany and what your po­si­tion is worth in the mar­ket.

Once you have the ev­i­dence and de­sired num­ber in hand, think about your ne­go­ti­a­tion in a slightly dif­fer­ent way.

Re­searchers at Columbia Busi­ness School found that us­ing a range, rather than a sin­gle num­ber may help you in­crease your com­pen­sa­tion. Here’s how it works: If you wanted a $100,000 salary, you’d sug­gest a $100,000 to $120,000 range to your boss. Ranges fre­quently lead to higher salaries for a sim­ple rea­son: most em­ploy­ers are un­likely to go be­low or even the bot­tom end of your range. The key is to an­chor the range with an am­bi­tious, but rea­son­able num­ber at the bot­tom, equiv­a­lent to the one you would have used as a sin­gle dol­lar of­fer.

And don’t try to shoot the moon; most suc­cess­ful range of­fers re­mained within 20 per­cent of one an­other.

Fi­nally, the thought of quit­ting your day job to pur­sue a busi­ness of your own may be in­tox­i­cat­ing and even es­capist, but it may also be a bit un­re­al­is­tic. Most of us can’t af­ford to quit a job that de­liv­ers a reg­u­lar pay­check and ben­e­fits, to boot. One way to beef up your earn­ings is to start mak­ing ex­tra in­come out side of work. Chris Guille­beau’s book “Side Hus­tle” is an easy-to-read resource for those who have the small busi­ness itch.

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