The Old Cliché: New Year, New Job

So you had a great Christmas and New Year holiday and the thought of going back to work filled you with dread and you started thinking is it time for a move? At this time of year you are not alone, research shows that 1 in 3 employee’s question whether they are in the right job. Not so many actually do anything about it but it is still always a busy time for recruiters.

It used to be that nothing happened on the job front until after Australia Day but the last two years have seen a change with things starting earlier than normal. Perhaps employers have recognized that it seems easier to attract talent at this time of year so there are now more opportunities out there.

If you think it’s your time to take a look, here are some guidelines to follow that will help you avoid mistakes people make when changing jobs. It will also help you decide if this is the right time for you to make a change.

Current Situation

Have you really made a difference in your current job? What you’re looking for when you ask yourself this question is have you taken challenges and turned them into positive results and had major accomplishments in your position. Also ask yourself if you’ve developed all the skills necessary to succeed in your current role.

If you can say you have made great strides at work, developed usable work skills, and attained impressive achievements, you may be ready to take yourself to the next level elsewhere. If not, you really need to look at how long you have worked at your current employer and what it would look like on your resume to leave at this stage.

Could there be the opportunity to move up where you work now? Would that promotion make you feel successful or motivated? Think about your skills, the company culture, your accomplishments and achievements to decide if you want the career path your company offers. How far can you go from your current role in the company? Looking ahead, would you feel empowered and happy about moving into the next level at work? Could a lateral move be better than leaving for another company? Start looking within your current company for other positions that fit your skillset.

What if you’re ready to leave, is the grass really greener?

The company culture is often the reason people leave companies to go elsewhere, it could be management, coworkers or how much the company values you (or not). There is nothing worse than feeling undervalued especially if you are working really hard and getting the results. However, it’s easy to think that things will be better elsewhere and receiving headhunt calls often reinforces this. I’ve seen junior members of staff get sold a great story of how amazing a role elsewhere is and so many times they are disappointed when they go there. Do your research, ask around and get a good feel for what it would be like to work elsewhere, is it really better than where you are now?


Remember to update your resume, add any new skills you’ve developed, training the company has provided, and any achievements you have made during your time at this company. Achievements are key as this what people want to read and will make you stand out, rather than just listing your job duties.

Not only should your resume reflect your intentions, but your online presence should do the same. LinkedIn is essential, keep it up to date and participate in discussions, join groups and post regularly, this will hugely increase your chances of being headhunted without being too blatant that you are on the market. Be careful with your other social media activities as perspective employers often search to see what they can find.

Giving Notice

If you do decide to leave, don’t burn your bridges, you still need a reference and you want to leave in a favorable manner whenever possible as you never know what could happen in the future. Never walk out on a job, regardless of the situation. Always give notice and if you have a legal obligation to give notice make sure you check your contract to see where you stand. It can be hard to motivate yourself and be easy to down tools and do little work but again you need to be professional and leave on good terms. People think that they are safe because an employer can’t give a bad reference. You need to consider that the way a reference is stated can infer issues and often what is not said can give it away. Like it or not there are ‘unofficial’ references asked for all the time particularly in industries that are good at networking like financial markets or recruitment.

Legal Restraints

You may have a non-compete clause or some other restrictions that stop you working for a competitor. Before you break your contract, check what you signed and get legal advice if you are unsure. It’s rare but I have seen companies take out injunctions and stop ex-employees working if deemed necessary. This is not a situation you want to get yourself in.

Final Thoughts

Remember to take these factors into consideration before walking out on your current job. Have an honest conversation with your boss and you may find that you are more valued than you realized and a new position could be coming up that fits your skills and helps you meet a New Year’s goal.

If it really is time to see what’s out there, make it easier for yourself by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile and speak to a specialist recruiter in your field. They will be able to advise on market rates, give you feedback on organisations reputations and discuss what is currently available.

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