Years ago you could count on your job search having a beginning, a middle and an ending, just like a good fairy tale. At the conclusion of a job search, you would put all your energy and attention into succeeding in your new job. That would be pretty much it until the next time you were ready to make a change. Not any more. Continuous job search is becoming more the norm than it was in the past.
Traditionally, job seekers have been divided into those who are diligently looking for a new opportunity and those who are open to the idea but have done little if anything to promote themselves in the eyes of potential employers. A third category is employed individuals who aren’t particularly interested in making a change because they’re happy to stay where they are. If you’re in that category, you probably don’t even consider yourself a job seeker. However, that doesn’t mean you might not be in the near future, either because of a shift in your outlook or because you’re driven to it by a change in your circumstances.
For example, your employment situation might appear to be stable; you’re well compensated and have interesting work to perform, as well as enjoyable colleagues and a good boss. In that case, you aren’t likely to consider a job search in the foreseeable future. The operative word, however, is “foreseeable.” Suddenly you learn that your company is the target of an aggressive acquisition attempt by a competitor. Realistically, you know your secure job is at least now more questionable than it was, and you feel a need to move from not being a job seeker at all to at least becoming a passive job seeker.
I receive a newsletter published periodically by Express Employment Professionals. In their September/October issue, I read the following: “According to a study by CareerBuilder and Inavero…, 69% of full-time employees are regularly looking for new job opportunities, while 30% job hunt on a weekly basis. With the digital world at our fingertips, it is difficult to distinguish between an active or passive job seeker. 74% of workers find new job opportunities online, 68% come across them through traditional networking, and 67% through job boards. Most employees come across job openings on a regular basis and have no problem looking into new opportunities.” (Staffingindustry.com – Oct. 10, 2012)
Are you among that 69% who are keeping an eye out for new opportunities or maybe among the 30% who maintain their job search on a weekly schedule? Even the smaller of those two groups represents a lot of job seekers contemplating a move and taking steps toward it; the larger group includes over 2/3 of potential job seekers.
Whether you like it or not–and many of us don’t–you can find yourself in need of a job change (and, as noted above, sometimes when you least expect it). The savvy, career-minded employee (at whatever level–newbie to senior executive) knows it’s a smart idea to take appropriate action before a crisis erupts, rather than waiting until it hits. If you have a well-thought-out career management plan, with actions to take on a more or less scheduled basis, you’re almost certainly going to be miles ahead of those who don’t exercise that kind of forethought. Staying in fairly continuous job search mode could be your ticket on the bullet train while your competitors are stuck on the milk-train with frequent stops or on the broken-down train that’s stalled on the tracks.
Where would you rather be?