Unemployment is low and a wide range of industries continue to experience job growth. As the market for talent becomes more competitive, opportunities for talented individuals increase.

For many of us, the last thing we want to do is voluntarily endure the time, energy and emotional drain of a job search. However, it is in a market with lower unemployment that we may have a better chance to move up.

In other words, it is now, while we are happy and gainfully employed and thus do not need to look for work that we should consider jumping into the talent pool.

Mirror, mirror

From our presence in the interview through to the final stage of the offer negotiation, the entire tenor of the recruiting process changes when we do not need the job. We are free to thoughtfully and bravely be ourselves.

From answering questions the way we want to answer them as opposed to the way we think we should, to drawing a firm line in the sand about salary and benefits expectations, we have the opportunity to be more bold than we would be if our income hung in the balance.

It’s not me, it’s you

Similarly, being gainfully employed allows us to be truly discerning in our approach to opportunities. Now is the time to look for that dream job, ideal salary or incredible title.

Applying for that job, with the confidence noted above, allows us to wholeheartedly say that were it not for this opportunity being the opportunity we have been waiting for, we would not be looking. That reason, coming from a happily employed applicant, makes the recruiters and interviewers feel great about our application.


An added bonus of not needing a job and being selective about to which ones we apply: it takes a lot less time. Most of us associate the job search with a full-time job. When we need a job, it takes a lot of time and energy to search because we are casting a wide net.

Looking specifically for something better than what we have narrows the search quite a bit. And with so many companies and posting sites providing the option for job alerts, we can set up a search and afford to wait for the right position to show up in our inbox.

But what about Bob?

Several of my colleagues balk at this idea because they say it undermines our loyalty to the employer keeping us gainfully employed. Maybe, but here is why I disagree.

If I apply and interview for my dream job and it turns out my dream job really was not what I thought it was, I would be that much happier and more devoted to my current employer. Similarly, if I did not have a dream job but was just shopping around, doing so can serve to both reaffirm my appreciation for my current employer and confirm that the grass may not always be greener.

The bottom line is that the happier and more successful we are, the more our happiness and success comes through to potential employers. Searching when we do not have to creates a positive cycle of wins that can result in securing a dream job or increasing our happiness where we are.