Most of us tend to begin the search for a new job when we’re either retrenched, about to graduate, have just been passed up for a promotion or absolutely can’t stand our boss anymore. You typically want a job immediately if any of these things have happened to you; however the best time to look for a new job is actually during the times when you don’t absolutely need one yet. Right around the time you start to feel like you’re ready to move on or interested in trying your hand at something new is the time you should start sending out feelers and keeping your eyes open for available positions.

If you wait to look for a job until you really need one you’re limiting your options and may be forced to settle for less or spend some time unemployed. Most job searches take at least a few months depending on industry and location so don’t force yourself to rush the process and wind up having to accept any job offer you get.  Here are some ideas of good times to start looking for a new job:

Before you hate your current job

You generally won’t love your job one day and then wake up the next day to hate it. Look at the signs at your current job.  When you start to dread going to work every day, get a new boss you don’t click with, or no longer feel like you’re learning anything new, it may be time to start looking for a new one. 

When the industry is growing or hiring

It won’t do any good to look for jobs when big companies in the industry are downsizing or retrenching employees. The best time to start looking for job openings is when the industry is growing or a new market emerges in the field.

Once you know what you want the next step in your career to be

There usually comes a time in your job when the next step becomes clear. Maybe you’re a case planner and you realize you want to move into becoming a vocational specialist. If you have a job, there is no pressure to find something immediately but it’s a good time to start looking—that way you’ll be ready when the right opportunity comes along.

After completing a major project or high season

You generally shouldn’t leave right before a major project you’re working on is expected to roll out or during the busy accounting season. You might end up putting out your current employer and risking a bad reference. You’ll also have more to put on your CV by finishing that big project.

After a major life change or big vacation

Try to avoid looking for a new job when you’re going through a divorce, a few months pregnant or you have a big vacation planned at the end of the year. Don’t give yourself one more thing to adjust to during a stressful time.

After holiday breaks and the beginning of the financial year

Don’t start sending out a bunch of resumes before Thanksgiving holiday. Most people are trying to get their reports finished and leave things clear so they can enjoy their break. When they come back your resume will be buried under a week of other emails.  It’s usually best to apply for positions during the new financial year when companies have a fresh budget and are able to hire.

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