In a historically strong job market, is quitting a winning strategy?

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Hanna Horvath, CFP®

Hanna Horvath, CFP®

Managing Editor & Certified Financial Planner™

Hanna Horvath, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and former managing editor at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in NBC News, Business Insider, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, Best Company, and HerMoney.

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Is “find a new job” on your list of new year’s resolutions?

2020 may be your year. Unemployment is at a 50-year low and employment is still growing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly jobs report.

“This is a great time for people to look for a job, even if they are happy in their current job,” said Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster, an employment website.

Even if you’re satisfied at your current job, it may be a good idea to look. Here’s why.

I love my job. Why should I be looking?

Even if you feel satisfied with your current job, it doesn’t hurt to look around. Maybe you aren’t getting paid as much as you could in your current role. Switching companies may give your income an extra boost. Job switchers on average get a higher pay bump than those who stay put, according to the Workforce Vitality Report from ADP, a payroll services company.

Learn more about how employee loyalty can hurt you.

Some companies may also offer specific perks your current company doesn’t offer, like student loan repayment, gym membership reimbursement and better paid time off. Some perks are more important to potential employees than pay.

“People think, ‘Oh, let me coast this year,’” said Salemi. “But it’s in everyone’s best interest to look for a job you can really maximize your skills at.”

While you may fear a coming recession, Salemi said it’s best to wait until you receive a job offer to consider if a potential economic downturn can affect your future job security. (We also have a guide to preparing your money for the next recession.)

First, don’t wait. Companies typically begin posting new jobs at the beginning of the year, and are looking to interview and hire as soon as possible, said Salemi.

“Everyone is back in the office and in the zone,” she said. “Put that momentum into your job search.”

Update your resume and reach out to old contacts to learn what jobs are available. Sign up for local job alerts in your inbox. See one that fits your resume? Salemi recommends applying the same day you see it, if possible.

Throughout the job application process, ask yourself how you can grow in this role. You can always withdraw your candidacy if the role doesn’t fit what you’re looking for.

I got a job offer! Now what?

It’s negotiation time. Employees can use a job offer to leverage a raise at their current job, or discuss other benefits like paid time off. Or, use your current employment to negotiate your job offer.

“As soon as a company hires you, the sooner they can potentially boost their revenue,” said Salemi. “You can always ask for more.”

Even if the job search doesn’t yield the initial results you want, Salemi argues you can still gain valuable experience interviewing. You may also get insights into your industry you can use for negotiations at your current job.

Looking for a job? Here's where to look.

Image: Nastia Kobzarenko