Is It Time For A New Job? Here’s How to Decide

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Shorter Version

Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute

Are you wondering if it’s time for a new job? It may very well be. If you think it’s time for a new job, then it’s important to start thinking about what job would work better for you. Your changing interests and goals combined with the quickly evolving job market make finding a job an important skill. It can be daunting…just step back, take your time, and follow some reasonable steps and you’ll be able to do this well. Remember that change can bring opportunity. 

How to Know if It’s Time For A New Job

Take the time to have a sense of your goals, both personal and professional. This will set the framework for your job search. You can then build your story around this. Why do I want to change? Is it worth the risk? How does my path so far help build my next story? Is it time for a new job, or are there ways to improve the job I’m at? Take a deep breath. Answering these questions will build the confidence to move forward. You’ll then be able to share your story and make believers in it. This will open doors for you.

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Longer Version

Est. Reading Time: 10 Minutes

How do you know if it’s time for a new job?

You need to ask yourself the following questions: Why do I want to change careers or jobs? Is it worth the risk? How does my path so far help build my next story? Is it time for a new job, or are there ways to improve the job I’m at? If after answering these questions you’ve determined that it’s time for a new job, then you should take these next steps.

If it’s time for a new job, here’s how to get started

Okay. So it’s time to look for your next opportunity. Feeling a bit scared? Thinking this can be a daunting undertaking? Maybe even excited to try something new?

Personally, I’ve been through this many times – from all sides. I’ve been the searcher, the candidate, the hirer, and the coach to help others. I’ve made some good choices and some choices where I learned. 

I hope to help you with this process.

My goal with this post is just to set the stage and provide a general framework to get you started. There will be more posts in the near future to share additional perspectives and guidance.

Framework for success when looking for a new job

Before diving into finding a new job, I’d like to share a few points to help you into the right mindset. Take some time to think about these. 

Where there is change, there is an opportunity

The world is changing quickly. There are opportunities being created every day, many of which were not envisioned just a short time ago. You’re going to need to develop “finding your next opportunity” as a life skill if you want to try something new.

Believe in yourself

The top two things I see coaching people is that individuals either do not believe in themselves enough or can’t map/relate their skills to what they would like to do. Believe in yourself. You have unique and treasured talents and experiences and have more to offer than you think. Take some time to explore and understand how these talents and experiences relate to what you’d like to do. This will take effort and courage to do so.

“Soft skills” are at a premium in the market

Soft skills are the key to getting hired. Certainly, in some roles, you’ll need a technical background: engineering, accounting, being a physician, etc. With that said, soft skills matter! There are tons of articles you can read on this. You can develop these skills in an infinite number of ways – work, school, community, hobbies, extracurricular activities, or part-time work. If you are not developing these skills, take action to do so quickly. 

  • Can you work on a team? Prove it. Teams are needed to address rapidly changing conditions. Working with others in a positive, energized, productive way matters.
  • Do you have the flexibility and creativity to learn quickly and solve problems? With change comes problems and challenges. Can you listen, learn, process, and generate new and creative solutions? Persevere when things are tough?
  • Can you communicate what’s on your mind? What you see? What you feel? Your ideas and recommendations?
  • Can you show up, have a great attitude, and be willing to earn your spot?

You’d be amazed as to how many people can’t or won’t do this.

Look for opportunity

With the points above, your orientation needs to be on finding your next opportunity, not your next “job.”  It sounds a bit idealistic or odd….with that said it’s all in how you look at things that will help you find the best fit to get you to where you want to go.

If you think it’s time for a new job, here are the steps you should take

So, with this background, let’s get started!

Take a deep breath

It will be ok. Think about the points above. Treat this as an explore and put in the necessary time to do it right. If you’re currently not working, this should be at least 30 hours a week. If you’re currently employed, you can move at a slower pace. Like most things where you’ve been successful, it’s going to take time, energy, and commitment. Remember that the process you are going through is very common, so many of your family members, friends, and trusted colleagues have been through it as well. Reach out for support and ideas. Most people are willing to share and help. 

Get a sense/improved understanding of what you’d like to do next

This is sometimes the biggest challenge. So where to start? Here are the basic questions you need to consider. Be brutally honest with yourself.

  • What are my short and long term personal and career goals? You need to have some sort of vision to work towards, even if it’s super basic (I just graduated and need to get started by trying something to see if I like it).
  • Where do I want to live and work? Sounds obvious but this helps to zero in on location and sets parameters on how much money you need to make.
  • What do I know about my strengths and capabilities? Think about your interests, hobbies, favorite subjects, things that energize you. There are also some great tests you can take to understand this – the Gallop Strengths Finder is a perfect example. Learn, be confident, and be able to describe what you’re good at.

Time For a New Job? Start Here.

  • What are the next steps I need to take toward my goals? Think about what you’ve learned so far – both the good and not so good. Who are some people that come to mind that have jobs and a career progression that interests, or even energizes you?
  • What are some specific jobs that begin to fit into this overall picture? Just begin to describe in words what the next job could look like. Some thought starters in this area:
    • Google and read job descriptions for areas you are exploring. Save the ones you like or are attracted to in some way. It’s amazing what you’ll learn about what you like….and what you don’t like.
    • Google using power phrases such as “jobs good for this particular strength,” “transitioning from x to y,” “career progression for z,” etc.
    • As appropriate, ask at the company you are with. As mentioned above, the workplace is dynamic. New jobs are being created every day. Without asking you may be missing out on new positions that you’d be a great fit for.

Build your story

You’re now ready to begin developing your story about what to do next. At this point, you should begin to develop your resume, with the context of your goals, skills, previous work experiences, and other experiences as support. 

You should also begin to use tools such as LinkedIn (invest in making it look great) and give your Facebook and other social media accounts a quick review to make sure you’d be seen in a positive light should someone check them out.

For resumes, tailor your format and content based on the industry.

Include your accomplishments with supporting details (yes, use specific numbers and $$) – not just your responsibilities. 

On both resumes and LinkedIn, I believe you should include hobbies, community work, and other meaningful experience that paint a picture of you, your experiences, and capabilities.  

Share your story

Ok, so at this point, it’s time to get the word out. There many channels to do so…use them. It’s a basic numbers game for people (and for search engine results) to see you. I like to use the analogy around fishing….if you have 1 hook in the water you have a chance to catch one fish, if you have 100 hooks in the water you have a chance to catch 100 fish. So get some hooks in the water!

Reach out to people as networking is one of the top ways you’re going to find your next job. This is sometimes the hardest part because you may be asking people for help. Do not be afraid. Remember, just about everyone you talk to has been in your shoes and is most likely willing to help.

If not, move on after trying 2-3 reminders.

Decide where to post your resume electronically. Once again, so many options. Take your time to understand the benefits and make wise choices. Yes, I would recommend LinkedIn – be sure to set the “open to new opportunities” option to “yes.”

Be proactive

Be proactive in sending your resume (email or snail-mail) to companies you have a high interest in. Don’t worry if they are advertising open positions or not. Take time to write a compelling cover letter as to why you’re interested in the company and your specifics skills that you could bring to the table, including the soft skills mentioned above. I’ve heard several stories where direct, snail-mail letters to executives have led to the person being hired.

Be familiar with how recruiters work in your industry and geography. They may be helpful. Just remember that recruiters work for the hiring company. Their job is to fill positions so be aware they may put you in a position that is the best for them – not you.

Also, some markets have specific job boards just for that particular city. Be sure to understand if these are available.

Make believers in your story

So hopefully now you’ve had a few nibbles (back to our fishing analogy). Now’s your chance to make people who have reached out to you believers in what you can bring to the table. If you have done your homework above then you’re going to be in a great position – you have goals, you know yourself and why you’re interested, how you could be a good fit, and you can describe your qualifications and soft skills. 

Wow, you can make this happen!

Crush the interview process

Treat each and every interaction with respect and professionalism. Be sure to do some homework on the company to be prepared. It’s simple – specific questions about the company and job show interest! No questions are an immediate “reject” in my mind.

The first contact or two is normally just to see if you can communicate well and can articulate the basics about yourself and why you’d be a good fit. It’s easy to be too casual…don’t fall into this trap. It’s time to be on your A-game. Be sharp as first impressions are lasting impressions. The goal of these interactions is to get a face to face interview so you don’t have to close the deal just yet. You just want the interaction to end with “sure, we’d love to have you come in.”

As you get to a face to face interview, continue to refine your thinking on why you’re a good fit. Practice your wording/communication with a friend if you need to improve confidence. Continue to research the job and company.

The basics for interviews:

  • The first 60 seconds matter. It’s yours to generate a great first impression.
  • Eye contact. Smile. Show some personality. Watch for “prompts” from the interviewer about if they are interested, paying attention, watchful of time.
  • Tell your story and answer questions efficiently and succinctly. You may be a bit nervous so it’s easy to talk long. A great rule – once you sense you’ve talked for more than 60 seconds, find a way to wrap it up. A super effective transition is “I’ve shared some initial thoughts. Would you like to learn more or ask another question?”
  • As teams are so important, the interviewer will be looking and thinking one thing – do I see this person fitting in well? Could I work with this person? Show some personality and be ready to provide specific examples.
  • Be ready with facts about your prior experiences. How many people? How big? The % increase and/or $$ amount you generated…
  • Have a good closing at the end. “Thanks for sharing some specifics around…” “I learned I could be a good fit because…”

Might be me, but when it comes to talking salary, this should occur later in the process. Do some research to get an improved understanding of the pay range using something like ZipRecruiter,, or GlassDoor. When it gets down to the brass tacks of salary negotiation, try responses such as “after doing my research the pay range for this position is between x and y. I would find z acceptable.”

Make the best decision to choose your next opportunity

If you have worked diligently on the above and have done it well, you should now have some final interviews and decisions to make. Based on the combination of understanding yourself, your short and long term goals, and the job and company, you should be in a good position to make a decision you are confident about. If you’re still not sure, ask good follow-up questions to the potential company as well as trusted friends and colleagues. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and make your best choice. Congrats!! 

Actionable Steps

If you think it’s time for a new job, here are the steps you should take


Take a deep breath

You can do this! Changing conditions can bring opportunity.


Set aside time

Set aside some quiet think time to understand your path so far and what you’d like to do next. What are your short and long term personal and professional goals? Use this and/or this website to help.


Build your story around what’s next

What skills and experiences have you done that will contribute to what’s next? Use all your experiences to build your story.


Share your story

Get the word out via your networks – friends, family, social media, job boards.


Make believers in your story

So now you have some interest. Be able to share your story face to face with excitement and commitment, in a concise and efficient way.


Make your best choice

If you’ve done your homework and researched the potential employer, you’ll be able to make a good decision.

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About the Author

Tim Rolfes

Tim Rolfes

Senior Program Manager

Tim is a Senior Program Manager at the Christ Hospital Health Network, where he recently led their team to open a Joint & Spine Center. From start-ups to mature businesses, local to global, Cincinnati to Hong Kong, he’s seen it all. As a business driver, community leader, and personal coach, he specializes in helping people and organizations find and maximize their talents and opportunities.
Full Bio | Connect With Tim | LinkedIn

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