The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low in September 2018, making candidates more desirable than ever. Maybe you’ve been thinking it’s time for a change. You wouldn’t be alone.
According to Ceridian’s 2018-19 Pulse of Talent report, 37 percent of respondents are looking for a new job — either actively pursuing new opportunities (20 percent) or casually seeking a new position (17 percent).
Maybe you were passed over for a promotion or are having trouble having a good relationship with a new boss. The easy answer would be to just quit, but it’s probably not the right answer.
When you see someone quit their job in dramatic fashion, that may look like fun (especially after a bad day at work), but there are many reasons why that’s not a good idea.
An Addison Group 2019 Workplace Satisfaction Survey of 1,000 jobseekers found 79 percent of respondents say they are likely — or very likely — to look for a new job after a single bad day at work.
One of the top reasons why that may not be the right choice is that “unemployment discrimination” is a real thing. Both research and anecdotal evidence have found it’s harder to find a job when you’re unemployed than if you’re job searching while you’ve got a job.
One recent survey measured the difference. According to “The Science of the Job Search (2018)” survey by TalentWorks, “People who showed they were currently employed (even if creatively) saw a 149% hireability boost compared to their previously-fired or laid-off competitors.”
“Creatively” demonstrating current employment can be anything from continuing to show the work experience as “To Present” on a résumé or LinkedIn profile even after leaving a job to listing a “consulting business” as interim employment.
But when a hiring manager looks at your résumé — in particular, at your most recent positions — he or she likely won’t know if you’re not there because you were fired, laid off, or you quit.
Quitting can negatively impact your chances of getting hired. And it’s not just about quitting your job — it can be about quitting your job too soon (or looking for another job too soon).
The need to demonstrate current employment is particularly important if you haven’t been at your most recent job for very long.
According to the TalentWorks research, “People whose shortest job was 9+ months were 85 percent more hireable than people whose shortest job was 8 months or less.”
Furthermore, TalentWorks found that you are more hireable for your next job if you are at your current job for 18 months or longer.
If you did quit your job, you had better be ready to answer the question in an interview about why you left your most recent position.
That’s if you get the chance to interview at all. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for reasons to narrow down the pool of candidates they will interview. It may be worth your while to address the reason for your departure in a cover letter accompanying the résumé, because leaving that question unanswered may result in your application being discarded in the initial screening process.
Why People Quit Their Jobs
There are many reasons to think about making a change. The Pulse of Talent survey found the top five reasons for quitting include:
- Salary – 28 percent
- Work was not interesting/didn’t like it – 14 percent
- I was not respected – 13 percent
- No opportunity to take on additional responsibility – 12 percent
- Poor relationship with manager – 12 percent
Nearly a third of employees in the same survey said they would need to leave their current position to move forward in their career.
All of these are “valid” reasons to pursue a job change, but they are not a reason to necessarily quit a job before lining up another one.
Reasons to Look for a New Job While You’re Still Employed
When you’re employed and looking for a new position, not only will recruiters and hiring managers be more inclined to interview you, but you’ll also have more money to invest in your job search. Being unemployed can be expensive!
The average job search is 13 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Could you afford to go without a paycheck for that long?
Networking takes time, as does applying for positions. You may have to wait a month for the application window to close, and candidates to interview to be selected. It can take 1-2 weeks after that to even get an interview scheduled, and the hiring decision may not be made for a couple days or weeks after that. Even if you’re available to start immediately, the company may require drug testing or have other pre-employment tasks that can lengthen the time before you actually start the job.
On the other hand, conducting a confidential job search while you’re still employed gives you time to prepare the tools required to support your job search. Having a résumé or professional LinkedIn profile professionally prepared can take 2-3 weeks.
Instead of simply quitting, you can also prepare yourself for a career move. Rather than quit right now, you might stick it out for six months, using that time to get yourself ready for the next opportunity. For example, taking classes or pursuing a certification that will better prepare you for your next job, or starting a side hustle (that might grow into a full-time opportunity in time).
Also, you want to make sure that you’re not running awayfrom something as much as you are running towardssomething better. Spend some time thinking about what you do want to do next and why this particular job wasn’t a good fit.
If you’re looking to change careers, lining up your next job before quitting is even more important. Switching careers itself is more difficult than finding a job in the same industry and adding unemployment to that equation can make the job search process take even longer.
Next week – Part 2