Why you need to 'flirt' with other jobs

When it comes to jobs, we’re in a time of opportunity that’s unlike anything seen in recent years.

Job ads hit record highs in 2022 – with far more jobs being advertised now compared to before COVID – while unemployment fell to record lows.

More businesses are searching for employees across virtually all industries and professions.

In New Zealand, 3 in 5 people agree there are more opportunities to advance their career in this job market, research for SEEK shows. And change is working out well for many – 7 in 10 people who switched jobs in the past 6 months are happy with their move.

Plus, with the demand for workers so strong, you might have more negotiating power when you do go for a new role.

What this all means is that even if you’re in a job you like, it’s a great time to explore your options and see what else is out there. You might even think of it as ‘flirting’ with other jobs.

Why it’s worth exploring other job options now

Exploring your career options is about seeing what other jobs are out there, and what’s appealing about them to you. You might be interested in finding a different style of working, better work-life balance or more pay.

Exploring other jobs doesn’t necessarily mean you have to apply for any right away, or quit your current job. It’s a matter of seeing what’s out there.

Doing this can open your eyes to new opportunities that you may not have considered.

It could also help you make changes to your existing role. Sometimes it’s not about starting from scratch but about adapting and making tweaks to your current situation, says Kate James, career coach and founder and director of Total Balance.

According to James, it’s always a good idea to explore what your other options are –especially if you’re feeling restless in your job, or think something might be lacking in it. Exploring other options could help you revitalise your working life.

“Seeing what opportunities are available really can be beneficial to job happiness – especially if your current role doesn’t align with your values and drivers, particularly when it comes to salary, work-life balance and career progression,” she says.

“After all, we spend so many hours at work, so it’s important not to settle for second best.”

Staying in touch with what’s happening in the job market also helps you to explore whether your skills are adaptable to other industries or roles.

“While you may not actually move roles or companies, flirting with other jobs does give you a fresh perspective on your current role and how you might improve things or make a move in future.”

5 steps to explore your opportunities

James says there are plenty of ways you can explore other options and build your confidence in the process.

1. Start by updating your resumé

James says updating your resumé can be great for your confidence.

“It’s good practice to stay abreast of your skills and strengths and think about how you might articulate those strengths to prospective employers.

“By updating your resumé you hone in on what your key strengths and skills are so when you are ready, you can confidently articulate those skills to prospective employers.”

It takes courage to move outside your comfort zone, so it’s also important to consider whether now is a good time for you personally, says James.

“If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you are considering other options, so now could be the right time to put yourself out there to see what other career opportunities there might be for you.

By updating your resumé and keeping up to date with changes in your industry, you are primed and ready to jump on an opportunity if and when one arises.

2. Set up or refresh your SEEK Profile

A SEEK Profile lets you explore new possibilities easily. You create your profile listing your skills and experience, and you can choose to let potential employers contact you about opportunities. It’s up to you whether you respond.

3. Set up job alerts

Another way to explore is to set up job alerts with various employers and recruitment agencies. That way, the types of roles you might be interested in automatically appear via email for you, without you having to commit to anything. Setting up saved searches on SEEK also lets you get notified when new opportunities pop up.

4. Do some skills and strengths assessments

“Strength testing is a valuable way to explore your values and aspirations, recognise your natural talents and then identify opportunities and pathways so that you can actually make things happen,” says James. These 5 tools and quizzes can help you get started.

5. Schedule a coffee date

Reaching out to people who can shed light on different roles or career pathways is also a great way to explore your options. “Set up a coffee date to find out all you can about different roles that might suit you before taking the leap,” James says. You could reach out to a prospective employer, or someone working in a company or industry you’re interested in. Come prepared with questions you can ask them.

What if I’m uncertain about changing jobs?

It’s normal to feel uncertainty and hesitation around changing jobs. Research for SEEK shows almost to 3 in 5 people say they’re worried if they change jobs, the new company might not be right for them.

James says a good way to explore other jobs is to try volunteer opportunities. “By volunteering for a job you think may be interested in, you can dip your toe in without having to leave your current workplace.”

Focusing on your goals and doing your research are other ways to help overcome fear around changing jobs.

Why now is the time to explore other jobs

With The Great Job Boom underway, we’re seeing more jobs, and less competition for them – so there’s never been a time like this to look at other job opportunities.

Consider whether now is the right time for you personally. But even if it doesn’t seem like the ideal time, there’s still no harm in putting the feelers out, just to see what opportunities might pop up. You could find an opportunity better than you imagined – or the motivation you need to revitalise things in your current role.

Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually. Published October 2022.