The best time to look for a new job

There’s no time like now when it comes to looking for a new job. Stop there. Sometimes there are reasons to put a job search on hold – temporarily at least. Other times there are reasons to fast forward it.

If you’ve got comfortable it might be time to move on says Peter Acheson, chief executive at Peoplebank. On the other hand you might want to finish a big project first because it will look great on your CV, it could open doors, or mean you leave your current employer on better terms.

It’s best to move on whilst you're still happy with your existing job. Don't wait until you hate it. If you can see that you’ll stagnate make hay now.

The stars will never align perfectly, but if you’re looking for the right time to start job hunting, consider these seven pros and cons:

  1. Read the signs. You may know in your heart of hearts that you need a new challenge. Or there could be a lack of job security, you feel a bit unappreciated, you’d prefer a better boss or you’re not as interested in your day-to-day work as you were.
  2. It’s bonus or big pay rise time. Holding on for a pay rise will give you a greater bargaining wedge in the marketplace. Likewise it’s unusual to quit just before you’re due a bonus.
  3. You’re in the middle of an exciting project. Finishing your latest project before moving on often makes sense. It’s personally satisfying to do this as well as looking good on your CV to knock off a big project.
  4. Is it the right time of the year? Looking for a new role in the silly season may not be as fruitful as in February in many industries. Likewise the end of the financial year may mean stretched recruitment budgets.
  5. What are your personal plans? Perhaps you’ve got a wedding coming up, you’re building a new home, or you’re taking the kids to the FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games, or other big event. You may not want to take on the added stress of a new job at the same time, says Acheson.
  6. Don’t wait until you hate it. It’s best to move on whilst you’re still happy with your existing job. Don’t wait until you hate it. If you can see that you’ll stagnate make hay now.
  7. How healthy is the business or industry. Many industries are cyclical. If they’re in hiring mode it’s a good time. In a recession you may want to wait for better times.

Remember, there probably isn’t a textbook time to move. Only you know how the facts align in your individual circumstances. If you’re not sure, see a career counsellor.