As the market continues to rebound and hiring trends strengthen, many of the professionals with whom I work are uncovering opportunities that didn’t exist a few years ago. However, just because an opportunity presents itself doesn’t mean that now is the right time for you to make a change. Making a professional move is a delicate decision that requires an honest and in-depth look at your career and your goals. Here are a few things to consider when navigating the next step in your career.

It’s All About Timing – Successful job changes are made strategically at optimal times in one’s career. If you’ve moved jobs or changed industries in the past 2-4 years, it may be worthwhile to wait out a career change at this point, allowing yourself to gain more experience and further build your portfolio. Whereas, if you’ve been in your current position or industry for seven or more years, you may begin to become institutionalized, and this could mean limited options for your future. Decide if the timing is right based on your career history, tenure with your company and time within your current position.

Consider Opportunities for Career Advancement – Are you growing and learning with your current company? Have you earned a promotion in the past 2-5 years? While smaller companies offer more visibility, larger corporations offer more fluidity and opportunity for advancement. Also, consider whether your current company has the depth and resources to help you grow your career either by moving up or moving over. Keep in mind that sometimes a lateral move to another department opens opportunities for further growth and career advancement. Likewise, ask yourself if you are consistently challenged in your role. If you have become bored or understimulated in your workplace, it may be time to evaluate your skillset and see where it better fits in the changing market.

Prepare for Change – Whether you’re ready to dive head first into the job search or you’re still on the fence about changing positions, make sure you’re easily found and able to be reached. Be open to talking to executive recruiters about opportunities; learn how they can assist you through the executive search process and be clear with them in your desires and expectations. Also, refresh your LinkedIn profile and any other professional sites you’ve joined. You want to market yourself to potential employers, as well as your peers and colleagues, to maximize your network.

If you’re contemplating a career change, I look forward to hearing more about the considerations you’re making and the factors you’re weighing.