Career Advice

9 Conversations to Have Before Searching For A New Job  

Searching for a job when you already have one can feel like a top secret, covert mission. While you shouldn’t announce in the breakroom that you’re looking to exit your current gig, there are several people you should talk to before launching your search.

“It’s always great to get somebody else’s perspective,” says relationship expert Jane Greer, Ph.D. “They can often suggest constructive tips to help you make a positive move—whether it’s advice on the interview, commute time, salary, or benefits, and they can share whatever they’ve found to be helpful in their personal experience.”

So with that in mind, here are nine people you need to talk to before searching for a new job—and exactly what you should talk to them about.

1. Talk to: a career mentor.

This may not be your first job hunt, but a career mentor has “been around the block a few times and can provide you with a 10,000-foot perspective of where a move might figure in the bigger picture,” says Dawn Rasmussen, certified resume writer and president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. What’s more, he or she will surely know what it takes to make the change you crave. “Speak to them about what challenges you may face, how to start over, and what transferable skills you have that would be useful to your new career path,” advises career coach Hallie Crawford.

[Related: Job Hunting? Money Isn’t Everything—Here’s What Is]

2. Talk to: a career coach.

Unlike a mentor, a career coach is positioned to “work with you to identify potential options and open your mind up to exploration and realization of your key goals,” Rasmussen explains. Another difference worth noting? You’ll pay a career coach with more than a thank-you latte. But a career assessment with him or her could open up new possibilities—including a complete career change—that you may never have broached with an industry mentor. Plus, the conversation can be ongoing. “A career coach can also give you regular advice and support along the way, helping you create the plan and implement it as well,” says Crawford.

3. Talk to: your significant other.

“It’s always helpful to talk to your partner so he or she feels considered and involved in whatever career decisions you are making,” explains Greer. “Whatever you choose will directly affect them and the quality of life you share together, so their input is really valuable.” Consider asking his or her opinion on what, if any, flexibility you might have in your budget for a salary change, Greer suggests, or if there are any job demands—such as travel—that might disrupt your relationship.

[Related: See Thousands of Jobs Hiring In Your Area]

4. Talk to: a financial advisor.

According to Elle Kaplan, financial expert and founder of LexION Capital, many people only turn to a financial advisor for help with investments. But a worthwhile financial advisor “will look at the big picture and ensure you have holistic financial health,” she says, and that’s why it’s smart to include one in your potential new job search. “Financially speaking, you’ll want to determine the long-term income prospects of your career change,” Kaplan says. “Even if a job switch doesn’t eat into your day-to-day spending, it could drastically throw off your investment plans—especially for retirement, where consistent saving and investing now can have an enormous impact decades later. A check-in with your advisor will help you see how this career switch will affect how much you’re able to stow away and invest.”

[Related: 9 Motivating Career Podcasts to Listen to This Week]

5. Talk to: your parents.

You may have left the nest years ago, but your parents may still have a thing or two to teach you. If your mom or dad ever worked in a similar field—or heck, ever left a job—she or he could have knowledge from which you could benefit. Ask your parents whether they ever made a similar transition, “and if so, do they have any regrets?” Greer suggests. “What were some of the challenges? Would they recommend that you do this? How did it work out for them?”

6. Talk to: a professor.

Like a career mentor, a professor “may have ideas on how to break into a new industry and what skills are required, and may even have networking connections within that industry that you could ask to leverage,” points out Crawford. And that’s why you should reach out to your favorite academic before you launch a job search. Ask him or her for any industry-specific insight to give you a leg up.  You never know—he or she may know the hiring manager at the company you’re eyeing.

[Related: How to Find A Kick-Ass Mentor At Your Job]

7. Talk to: a former supervisor.

Yes, it could be intimidating to approach a boss to whom you said goodbye years ago. But “former supervisors have inside knowledge of how your career trajectory might translate to other opportunities,” says Rasmussen. So if you have a good relationship with a previous employer, approach him or her with any questions you might have about the state of the industry, and how your experience could fit with any current openings—at their company, or another.

[Related: How To Introduce Yourself In An Interview]

8. Talk to: your coworkers.

If you’re considering searching within your own company, your coworkers could provide valuable insight about different departments and bosses. But even if you’re going to jump your company’s ship, you should seek your coworker’s advice—as long as you trust them to keep your job-search secret, says Crawford. “Ask them what they see are your greatest strengths and how you come across at work,” she suggests. “They can help you understand what you bring to the table, and how to sell yourself to the next employer.”

9. Talk to: your boss.

OK, so this isn’t a talk you want to have before you begin your job search—but it’s one you should prepare to have once you land a new job. Start thinking now about what you’d like your next steps to be, and how you’ll broach your resignation with your boss. Remember, “let your boss know with a reasonable amount of time that you will be moving on to a new road in your career,” says Crawford. “Give him or her enough notice to find a replacement, and train them if possible.”  

Alright, now you’re ready to search for your dream job. Good thing you’re already on Glassdoor! See open jobs in your area hiring now.

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