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Thinking about making a career move?

Nina Spitzer is a SheKnows.com columnist and a freelance writer living in sunny Cave Creek, Arizona.

Proceed with caution!

Is this a good time to make a career move? You're fed up with your job. You hate your boss. You need to make more money. But in this economy, be sure to do your homework before you make that career move.



We all have different reasons for considering career moves and all are legitimate. The current economic climate, however, may cause someone to think more than twice before making the big leap. Job security is crucial right now. These days, doing extensive research and being well informed is more important then ever, according to Michelle, a recruiter with a top New York City employment agency. What kinds of things should be considered?

Reasons for career moves

- potential for lay-off
- advancement up the career ladder
- more money
- better benefits
- educational opportunities
- poor relationship with current boss or co-workers

Research your current job situation

Right now, some industries offer more security than others, so know what's going on out there. A solid knowledge in current events will be your foundation for wise decision-making. As appealing as the prospect of a career move might be, stability is key to financial success in these unstable economic times. If, however, research reveals your company is headed for trouble that could directly impact you, then the writing is on the wall - start looking elsewhere.

Important points to consider

- Is your company financially stable?
- Does the company's current financial situation make a layoff imminent?
- How stable is your position in the event of a layoff?
- What is your current salary and the possibility of an increase during the next twelve months?
- Will this company be able to support your career path?
- Are there stock and/or profit sharing benefits that you would sacrifice by leaving?

Your resume

You should always keep your resume polished and current, especially if you're considering a career move. It's a good idea to have several versions of your resume, each emphasizing different skills that may be required for different types of jobs or careers. Be sure your list of references is current and includes those who can present you, your accomplishments and your career potential in the best light.

Networking

Get yourself out there and talk to as many people with networking potential as possible. These could include …
- friends
- acquaintances
- current and past co-workers whom you trust
- multiple recruiters
- representatives at job fairs

Potential new job?

Do your due diligence! Make certain that your career move won't take you from the frying pan into the fire. Google the potential new company for all the information you can find. Check with the Better Business Bureau in your area. Talk to networking contacts in the industry. Investigate the potential employer through industry associations and newsletters.

A lateral move?

A lateral move within your present company might be a good temporary fix. A move of this type could take you out of a department that is being downsized or a project that is going to be eliminated, as well as make you more attractive for promotion. Perhaps it can offer more money or additional experience or training. It would also place you in a different environment with a new boss and co-workers who will make your work more pleasant and could be beneficial for future networking. In addition, the experience you gain in a lateral move might also help you become more marketable when the economic climate is better for the career move to a new company.

Weigh the Pros & Cons

Once you've gather all your information, weigh the pros and cons of staying with your current position versus making that career move. Keep the risk of the current economy in mind. Carefully assess your personal financial situation in order to determine how much risk you can handle. Do you have enough banked away to cover you should the floor fall out from under you? Experts recommend 3 to 6 months of living expenses held in a cash reserve. Remember, if you do take that new position, frequently the last one in is the first one out. Your dream job could turn into a nightmare if a bad turn in the economy lands you out the door.

Finally …

There are no right or wrong answers when considering a career move, just a delicate balance of weighing all the information and then doing what might work best for you. Most important, base your decision on research rather than emotion and then … Proceed with caution!

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