But that doesn’t mean you should retreat into your happy work cocoon. While you might not be reading the job boards over your morning coffee, in a certain sense, you should always be job hunting.
For one thing, you never know when your company might downsize, change focus, be bought or go under. Job security is largely an illusion; a steady paycheck isn’t guaranteed; and employer loyalty is, in many cases, a thing of the past. It’s not a reason to be scared—merely prepared.
As well, a huge percentage of jobs aren’t advertised. You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” And it’s true. Sometimes the best jobs—the job that will advance your career, the opportunity you only dreamed about—come along when you aren’t looking. It’s one more reason to be prepared.
So what does job hunting mean for a happily employed person?
An updated resume.
Was the last time you worked on your resume in your college career center? Styles change, as do employers’ expectations. Make sure your resume is ready to best represent your current experience and skills. Merrfeld offers a simple resume and LinkedIn critique as well as full-blown resume writing services.
It’s easy to be consumed by your current work world. Most of us have more on our plates than we can manage in our existing jobs. But make the time to go to the industry meet-and-greets and the business luncheons. Be active in your community. Expanding your contacts instantly multiplies the opportunities when they need to hire or you need a job.
Constant skills development.
You may be an ace at your current job—the best in the business—until new software comes along, new regulations change the way you do business or new technology makes your job obsolete. Ride the winds of change: take a class, teach yourself (and your colleagues) how to use a new program and look for ways to stay ahead and grow. You’ll be well-poised if the perfect position opens up (or your position goes down).
It works both ways: You should always be job hunting so that you’re prepared for the worst AND the best. Even if you have no intention of leaving your awesome position, keep your antennae up, your skills sharp and your resume polished. You’ll be a better employee right now and well-positioned for the future.