If you've managed to land a job with challenging work, good hours, and a vibrant culture, you might feel like you've found the occupational Holy Grail. But that doesn't mean you should commit to spending the rest of your career with the same company—at least without keeping an eye out for other options.
In his book Hustle Away Debt, author and personal finance writer David Carlson makes the case for periodic job hunting. “I recommend people look at job openings at least once a quarter, if not once a month,” Carlson tells mental_floss. Here's why it pays to keep your job prospects open.
1. IT CAN EXPAND YOUR SKILL SET.
Job postings help you identify what skills are in demand in your industry. By reading them, you can figure out which skills you need to hone or acquire. Not only does this increase your overall professional value, it provides leverage when it’s time to ask for a raise or a promotion in your current role.
“Most skills can’t be developed overnight,” Carlson says. “Looking at job postings long before you are actually looking for a new job lets you know what skills hiring managers are looking for. It also gives you the time to develop the skills that are in-demand so that you have them when you do need a job.”
2. YOU'LL GET AN IDEA OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL VALUE.
Browsing can also refresh your knowledge of salaries within the industry; your current role may be worth more now than it was when you first took it, or other companies within the industry may pay more competitive salaries. “If that’s the case, you can be confident when you ask for a raise,” Carlson says. “You won’t know this, though, unless you are actively looking at job postings.”
“Knowing what compensation is provided for each job helps you gauge how over- or underpaid you are in your current position, as well as what sort of increase you can expect if you were to make a move,” Carlson says.
3. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU MIGHT FIND.
“Many employees get comfortable in their job and looking at job openings is something that simply isn’t on their mind,” Carlson explains. “But what if there is a great job out there that would be a perfect fit for you, perhaps even at your same company?”
Without regularly searching job opportunities, you’ll never know when the “perfect fit” might come along. You might even be motivated to break out of your comfort zone and pursue an entirely new avenue.
Looking at job openings isn’t just about keeping your options open, though. It’s career research. You learn valuable information about skills that employers prioritize (which may have changed since your last job search), jobs that are available in your field, and even how quickly those jobs are snagged, Carlson points out. “All of this can be used to position yourself to advance your career—and make more money.”