Questions to ask before starting job hunt
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.