Changing jobs impacts every aspect of your life. Your first instinct may be that it’s time to jump ship, but there is some self reflection to do before making a critical career decision. Prior to going on an interview or applying for a new role, there are three questions to ask yourself to ensure you’re ready for a career change.

1. Am I running from or to something? In a best case scenario, you should be running to something. Ideally you should be content in your role and thriving at what you do, but ready for the next step in your career. You have done all you can to succeed in your role and with your company and are excited to advance to a new opportunity.

On the other hand, if you feel you may be running from something, have you done everything within your ability to change it? For instance, if there is tension or a personality conflict with your manager, have you considered your attitude and demeanor toward him or her? Ensure you have done all you can do to make the most of your current situation or you may find that you have made a move for the wrong reasons and end up in the same place with your new job.

2. What am I looking for? Think about where you see yourself in 10 years and determine if a new role would help you get there. Have a clearly defined idea of what you want and need in a position—and not just monetarily. Consider growth opportunity, autonomy, leadership capabilities and other factors. With a clear picture of where you are going, it will be much easier to evaluate how opportunities you are considering align with those goals.

3. Is there anything my current company can do to keep me? Whether it’s more money, a promotion, additional responsibilities, a flexible schedule—have you asked for those things? If you don’t communicate with your manager on what you need you could be leaving a role that could have been a great fit for you. However, be sure to have these conversations early and often and not just when or if you tell them you’re leaving. Also, what ever you do, don’t tell your manager you are considering leaving while having these discussions as you want to know what options are actually available for you with the company simply motivated by a job well done. If you tell your manager you are considering leaving in order to try to motivate the changes you would like to see, in many cases you end up getting empty promises or worse yet, you risk your position with the company as they may question your loyalty.

As a recruiter, I enjoy guiding candidates through difficult career decisions and identifying the right fit, whether it’s with a new company or remaining in their current role.

Do you have questions about changing positions or are you faced with a potential career move? We would like to hear your comments below.