If you're lucky enough to have found a job that you enjoy, it's understandable to relax a little about your career strategy. Still, relaxing isn't the same as dropping the ball.
Let’s face it: most of us are not going to land our dream jobs right out of college. Even if you know exactly what you want to do, it takes time and hard work to develop a career.
As you push forward, chances are you’ll eventually find yourself in a great job with an excellent salary, great opportunity for growth, and awesome benefits. Jackpot! It’s easy to say you’re going to stay there forever, right?
During this period of relative career bliss, you may be tempted to let your resume sit untouched. You’ll let recruiters’ calls go unanswered and ignore suggested jobs sent to you by LinkedIn. This is the thing, though: even if you’re the most content woman with the best career out there, sitting still isn’t savvy.
Here’s why those of us in even the most satisfying jobs should keep our toes in the job pool:
YOU'RE NEVER AT A DEAD END
Just because you’ve found a job doesn’t mean your resume stops dead. The best time to update it (and your LinkedIn profile) is actually long before you’re seriously looking for another position. Every time you complete a big project or learn a new piece of software, add it to your resume and professional profile. That way, your body of work is accurately reflected.
Should the time come when you really do want to look for a new job, you won’t have to worry about trying to remember everything or scramble to update your information. Plus, being able to look at your resume on a regular basis can help you identify your strengths, as well as areas that could use some work.
YOU’LL GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Browsing online job listings that align with your personal career goals can help you think like an employer when it comes to your skills and experience. Employers are always looking for top talent, and guess where the required skillset is listed? In the job posting.
By looking at the qualities that other employers are seeking, you can not only assess how you stack up against other people in your field but also learn which skills you should develop for the future. Even if you aren’t looking for a job currently, adding new and desired skills can help you advance at your current company. Leverage those skills to gain new responsibilities and projects or to negotiate raises and promotions.
By looking at the qualities that other employers are seeking, you can not only assess how you stack up against other people in your field but also learn which skills you should develop for the future.
YOU MIGHT JUST LAND YOUR DREAM JOB
The search for your ultimate career can be a lifelong endeavor. As great as your job is, ask yourself honestly: is this your ideal? Even if you haven’t quite found "It" yet, each job you’ve taken has gotten you one step closer and hopefully taught you something about who you want to be in your career. It’s inevitable you’ll take a few hits before landing in the perfect spot.
In that sense, finding your dream job is like dating. Really. The employment cycle actually parallels the dating cycle. Just like in a relationship, after a while, you may start to feel stagnant in a job, and you shouldn’t stick with a job just because it’s comfortable. Your best opportunity is out there, and the only way you’re going to get closer to finding it is if you keep looking.
Your job should always help you achieve your goals. Even if it doesn’t hit all of them now, ask yourself if it will eventually.
KEEP YOUR GOALS IN MIND
Your job should always help you achieve your goals. Even if it doesn’t hit all of them now, ask yourself if it will eventually. If the answer could be yes somewhere down the line, it still doesn’t hurt to look for jobs that will help you accomplish your goals now. You don’t necessarily have to apply for anything you find. The upside of having a great job currently is that you can afford to be picky.
Browsing job listings online or setting up alert emails can actually help you create new goals for yourself and your career. When you set overarching goals for your career, you’ll find they shift and change as you get further along and also as your industry develops. It’s good to keep on top of what’s happening and to look at the big picture.
Finding a job you love isn’t easy, and when you do find one that makes you happy, it’s tempting to forget about the job market beyond those comfortable office walls. However, there are few things more stressful than finding that happy job fizzling out, and then having to start from the beginning on a taxing job search. By keeping your eyes out for available jobs and your resume updated, you’ll be well prepared for anything that might come your way.
* * *
How do you feel about the idea of looking for jobs even when you're happy with your current place?