Does your Monday start to feel more dreadful week by week? Have you lost the enthusiasm for your career that you once had? Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about when to quit your job and what it will take to get a better one.

Experts say that the average adult changes jobs about 12 times in their lifetime. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, gender, age, and life experience can play a role in this. On average men between the ages of 18-48 have held 11.8 jobs, women 11.5 jobs. Working people 18-24 years of age held an average of 5.5 jobs, but by the time workers reach age 25-39, they slow down switching jobs to about 2.1 jobs during this period.

How to know when to quit your job

There can be a number of personal and professional factors that can influence your decision to switch careers. These can range from general dissatisfaction with the job itself to an impending move to another region. If you fall into the first category, you may be seeing signs around you that include:

  • No further advancement opportunities available in the job or company
  • Poor compensation and benefits that are below industry averages
  • Constant conflicts between staffers and members of the management team
  • Bad business decisions putting the company, clients, and employees at risk
  • Toxic working conditions or co-workers that have become part of the culture
  • A job that no longer meets your professional goals or career growth

If you find yourself feeling overwhelming stress, anger, or disappointment in your job, by all means try to talk with your supervisor about ways to improve things before you walk away.

Planning a job change

Whenever possible, plan your departure from this company ahead of time and do so with one goal in mind: to find a better job and company where you can shine. From a professional standpoint, it’s always preferable to leave on a positive note and with plenty of notice given. Use the following steps to get ready to find a new job and leave this one behind.

Step 1 – Take a good look at your current skills and how they align with your career goals.

Before you can start applying for new jobs you may need some brushing up on certain skills and knowledge. For example, if you are looking to make a career leap into a management role, there are some free and low-cost leadership development programs you can get involved in. Consider online classes and after-work groups that enable you to maintain your current job while you work on improving your skills — something that today’s employers like to see on a resume.

Step 2 – Evaluate the current resume and cover letter you are sending to employers.

It can be easy to get stuck in a rut by using the same old resume and cover letter, but things have changed a lot since your last job search. Employers are no longer interested in reading through a long detailed resume. Many no longer require much more than a brief email introduction or a link to a social media profile in lieu of a cover letter. Take the time to get your resume scanned and reviewed to make sure you know what areas to improve. Create a short-form cover letter and customize it to each job you apply to (no form letters!).

Step 3 – Meet with a certified career coaching professional.

A job change is not something to look at lightly. This can have a major impact on yourself, your spouse or partners, kids, and even friends and other family members. It’s important to understand how to handle things with tact, from searching for jobs to arranging for interviews around work time. A career coach can help you establish clear career goals, focus on the right career opportunities, and make the transition more smooth. An added bonus: many career coaches have connections and can refer you to hiring companies.

Step 4 – Improve your brand image, and your confidence.

Before stepping outside into the world of job seekers, take an inventory of your current image. How up-to-date are your social media profiles? Is your LinkedIn profile optimized?

We know that around 70% of employers routinely check out the social media profiles of candidates before calling them in for an interview. Yours needs a professional photo, a good overview of your skills, written references from past and current colleagues, and some featured content that shows off your achievements. Clean up anything else. Do the same with the way you present yourself in person: get a haircut and get some new clothes for interviews and networking opportunities.

Step 5 – Understand the current job market.

How people apply for jobs and how employers seek out candidates are continually evolving. The current job market favors job seekers, mostly due to shortages of skills in many core areas and industries. Soft skills are critically important, but so are technical, analytical, and project-focused abilities. How well does your resume reflect these areas? Use a resume scanning service to get matched to targeted jobs and companies that should be on your radar. Evaluate how well you are matching with desired jobs so you can get better results.

The above steps are just a few ways you can start getting ready to leave your current job and move into a new one. Take your time and leave your old job behind when the right job offer arrives.

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