Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job, with Jessica Hernandez

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Find Your Dream Job, Episode 156:

Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job, with Jessica Hernandez

Airdate: September 12, 2018

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List.

I believe that to find a job you can love, you must stop spending all day on job boards. That’s because as many as 80% of all jobs never get advertised. To find these hidden positions, you must learn how to look for work.

Here’s the good news: job hunting is like any skill. You can get good at it with study and practice.

This show helps you do this. Every Wednesday on Find Your Dream Job I talk to a different career expert. We discuss tactics and tips you can use to find a job that matters.

In a moment, I’m going to talk to Jessica Hernandez.  Jessica is an executive resume writer, and she’s the president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast.

She meets a lot of people who want to change jobs. Jessica says she often hears the same reasons for making a switch.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Do you feel that there’s no opportunity to grow where you are today? Maybe the promotion you want is a job filled by someone who plans to keep it until retirement. Perhaps your company isn’t growing, so everybody is stuck where they are.

Or worse, your workplace culture is stifling. Even toxic. Or you have a terrible boss.

Jessica says you need to recognize and understand these and other signs that show it’s time to leave your job. She also says you need to know what might stop you from switching jobs. She shares her best advice in our conversation for overcoming these obstacles.

Want to learn more? Listen in now at the Mac’ List studio as I interview Jessica Hernandez.

Now, let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Jessica Hernandez.

Jessica Hernandez is an executive resume writer and she is the president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She joins us today from Callahan, Florida.

Jessica, thanks for being on the show.

Jessica Hernandez:

Thank you for having me.

Mac Prichard:

It’s a pleasure and our topic this week, as you know, is signs that it’s time to leave your job. In your business, you obviously talk to a lot of job seekers. Why do people leave an employer? What are some common reasons?

Jessica Hernandez:

Normally, what I hear from people is that they are leaving because of a bad boss or they are leaving because they want to do more meaningful work. For everybody that means something a little bit different but they want to be fulfilled and they want to be happy with their work and what they’re doing and feel like they’re making an impact.

Mac Prichard:

Jessica, when you talk to people, do you first encourage them to address these issues or try to make changes in the company? At what point should  people just move on?

Jessica Hernandez:

Right, so when we talk to clients, if there are no opportunities for them, for growth or advancements and they have discussed that with their manager or supervisor…they’ve expressed that they have an interest in advancement and that manager or supervisor is not open to that, they have gone to them several times and said, “I would like to move up, I would like to have a promotion. Here are my strengths. Is there a way we can use those to benefit the organization or bring value to the company?”, and the manager or supervisor is just not receptive to that, they don’t want to help you make a plan to grow or advance, I think that’s a pretty good indication that it’s time for them to explore opportunities outside of the organization.

Mac Prichard:

You may find yourself in a situation where you can’t move up, you’re not going to be able to use all of your strengths, or as you said earlier, you might just have a bad boss. Are there other reasons that people should consider leaving a job?

Jessica Hernandez:

I think so. I think there are times when you can see that a company is just not growing, new opportunities are not being created within the organization. There might be instances where you’ve just contributed all you can and made the biggest impact that you can. I see this a lot with executives, and in order for them to continue making a difference, they feel like they need to leave that company and go to a different company that has a need that they can meet.

Mac Prichard:

One of the things I didn’t hear you say is money. Should people take salary into consideration or other forms of compensation when they’re making a decision about leaving?

Jessica Hernandez:

I think so. There’s a lot of research that’s coming out right now that’s actually been saying that job switchers are making significantly more than job stayers. The indication there is that the rate of salary increase isn’t growing as much when you’re staying in a position as opposed to leaving and going to a different company. I think that if you’re trying to advance your career or you’re trying to increase your earning potential long term, that is certainly a reason to consider making a move.

Mac Prichard:

I know we’re going to talk about reasons why people don’t make a move but first I want to touch on length of service. I didn’t hear you talk about job-hopping. Should people be concerned when considering to leave about the amount of time they’ve spent at a company?

Jessica Hernandez:

I think that that’s going to depend a lot on that individual and their circumstances. As a recruiter or an HR manager, I was always trained that anything less than two years in a position is considered job-hopping. I think that across the board most job recruiters are going to think the same thing or think the same way. We’re all kind of trained similarly when it comes to that.

However, the market’s changed a lot, so now I hear recruiters say anything less than six months or anything less than nine months is considered hopping. Because of everything the economy has been through, especially since 2008, so many people have lost their jobs or were unemployed or laid off. It’s just such that it’s not seen the same way that it used to be.

Really, there’s a lot that goes into that; if the person is in a really bad situation, their current work environment is negative or creating a lot of undue stress, then they may want to consider not hanging around for longer than six months or trying to make that two-year mark so it doesn’t look like what would traditionally be considered job-hopping.

I think that there are exceptions to that. I don’t think it has to be a two-year hard and fast rule where you look like it’s job-hopping. I think that as long as there’s not a pattern on a person’s resume. As long as every job, the last four or five jobs isn’t isn’t a six-month stint and there’s not a pattern of that, they shouldn’t have to worry or stress about the job-hopping aspect of it.

Mac Prichard:

Does the stage you’re at in your career make a difference when employers are thinking about whether you’re a job-hopper or not? For example, if you’re early in your career, five or ten years after college, are employers more forgiving or less forgiving at that stage?

Jessica Hernandez:

I’m not sure that I have noticed there really being a preference there as far as where a person is in their career when it comes to job-hopping. I don’t necessarily know that that’s been an issue. What I have seen with mid-level managers and executives who have been in the career field for fifteen or twenty years is that they stay with a company a long time. Ten, fifteen, twenty years even, and they get stuck in this loyalty trap and they don’t want to leave when they probably really should.

Mac Prichard:

I know we’re going to talk, too, about what stops people from taking action but one last question about moving on. For some people who are in large organizations, it might be possible to find another opportunity inside a big company rather than go to a different firm. Is that something you encourage people to consider?

Jessica Hernandez:

I think so; always looking internally for opportunities is definitely an option for anyone who wants career advancement. I think especially if they like the company that they’re with, they connect with the company culture and their mission and their values and they want to stay within the organization. Certainly looking at a different organization or branch within the organization is an option.

But I think for some people, they just come to the realization that there are not options to do that, or they’ve tried and they’ve just come up against too many obstacles and roadblocks and it’s not working the way they’d like it to.

Mac Prichard:

Well, let’s talk about what stops people from taking action. What are some of the common barriers that you see when you talk to job seekers? Why don’t they leave companies or jobs that they aren’t growing in or where the workplace is toxic?

Jessica Hernandez:

This is really interesting because I think there is a divergence there between what people say stops them and some things that they don’t necessarily like to talk about that stops them. A lot of the things I hear my clients say are, providing for their family’s specific needs, especially when the economy wasn’t very good. They wanted to stay where they were because they needed to put food on the table. A lot of executives have kids that are in a good school, they don’t want to move, they don’t want to pull their kids out of that school and move to a different one. They’re having a hard time finding a different opportunity. They are staying because they’ve been promised a promotion that just never happened. I’ve even had people tell me they were waiting to hit the ten-year mark so they could get retirement. They’re staying for money, the pension, the retirement plan. Some of them stayed for job stability, they don’t want to appear like a job-hopper. Others of them just stayed because of situations in life, like mortgages, college tuition, staying for their spouse’s position and not wanting to relocate because their spouse has a good job.

Mac Prichard:

I’ve heard all of those reasons, particularly the one about pension benefits. My career, much of it was in government, and it was common for people to stay…in the government I worked for, investment kicked in after five years…sometimes people would hang on, even in jobs they didn’t like that were affecting their health because that economic payoff could be substantial.

Jessica Hernandez:

Exactly. I was speaking with a woman earlier this week who said her husband stayed in an absolutely miserable position for ten years just so that he could get the retirement. The day that he retired they went out and celebrated. She said that it was the happiest day of their lives because he was finally free. I thought, “I can’t believe that he stayed that long being that miserable.” People do it.

Mac Prichard:

Sometimes when you look at the calculations and the benefits you might get if you do indeed qualify for that pension or other retirement benefits, it can be a big number and you can understand why people might hang in there.

We’re going to take a break but when we come back, Jessica, I really want to dig into how people can overcome these fears and move forward. Stay with us and when we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Jessica Hernandez about signs that it’s time to leave your job and what you can do about it.

Do you think it’s time to look for a new job? One of the first things you must do is get your resume ready. Here at Mac’s List, I read a lot of resumes. I’m honored that people ask for my advice about their resumes.

But I have a confession to make. My own resume early in my career wasn’t so good. Sometimes, I let a typo slip by. I used the same generic resume again and again for every application. I always talked about my job responsibilities, not the results I produced for my bosses.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t get many job interviews in those early years, much less job offers. I don’t want you to make the same errors I made or spend the time it took me to learn what I was doing wrong and how to fix it.

That’s why I created the digital guide, Don’t Make These 8 Killer Resume Mistakes.

It’s a free PDF. You can get it at macslist.org/resumemistakes.

Inside, you’ll find my best advice for how to make your resume stand out. My tips draw on hundreds of conversations I’ve had with employers, career experts, and job seekers like you.

I’ll show the eight biggest blunders people make on a resume. Do just one and you’ll automatically move your resume into the circular file.

Don’t let your next application end up in the reject pile. Go to macslist.org/resumemistakes.

Now, let’s get back to the show!

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Jessica Hernandez. She’s the President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast.

Jessica, before our break, we were talking about the reasons people don’t leave jobs they probably know they should move on from and some of the barriers that stop them from doing that.

Let’s talk about how people can overcome those barriers. What are your general recommendations?

Jessica Hernandez:

Great. One of the biggest things that I see is a general fear of the unknown. A lot of people lament over all of the what-ifs. What if I hate my new job? What if it’s worse than my current one? What if my boss is worse or I have to move? What if I can’t find anything suitable that doesn’t pay me what I’m currently making?

They let this fear, doubt, and worry talk them out of something that may be really great. I always encourage people not to let that fear hold them back. Instead of focusing on all of these negative what-ifs, instead focus on the positive what-ifs.

What if your new boss is amazing? What if they’re invested in your growth and they not only appreciate your ideas but they implement all of them and it’s a great success for the company? What if they value your input and your accomplishments? What if they pay you more? What if your career satisfaction increases?

You can play the what-if game either way and I think sometimes you have to say, “What am I saying to myself that’s really stopping me from making this career change?” Maybe even list out those fears or things that are stopping you. Then let’s look at the opposite side of that. What if it is great? What if it is more than I hoped for? What if I’m really happy? Then try to weigh out those pros and cons of each. At some point, I think you have to get to a place where you decide that you’re not going to let the fear, the doubt, and the worry hold you back from a better life.

Mac Prichard:

Do you recommend that people sit down and make a list of those fears and think about the positive opposites of them?

Jessica Hernandez:

I think so and I think one of the things people don’t even realize is that it’s fear that’s holding them back. I think the first thing is trying to understand exactly what it is that is holding us back from wanting to make a change. We tend to get stuck in that list of things I was telling you before. About providing for basic needs, and not wanting to leave their child’s great school, or staying for that promotion. In the background, what it really might be is the fear. I think the first thing we need to do is think about, “Is there fear here, or worry, or doubt, keeping me from making this move?” If there is, what is that? Then let’s talk about, or think about, or list out on this piece of paper what the opposite of that could be. It may be this but it may be something better.

Mac Prichard:

Take us through that process, Jessica, perhaps with one or more of the clients that you’ve worked with. They’ve sat down and made that list, they’ve identified those fears. What have you seen happen next?

Jessica Hernandez:

One of the really amazing things that happened over the last two weeks…I was working with this RN, locally. She was on night shift and she absolutely hated it. She was only getting a couple hours of sleep before she had to go back to work. She didn’t loved the job but she was scared that she wasn’t going to be able to find something else that was on day shift that would be closer to home. There was a lot of different things coming into play but she was very overwhelmed and fearful of the job search altogether.

We were able to look at, “Okay, the market is really good right now, especially where she’s located”; she’s right outside of Jacksonville, Florida. We have a lot of hospitals here so there are  a lot of options for her. We sat down and rewrote her resume for her. Within twenty-four hours of her doing that, first, she said, “I feel such a huge stress relief”, because she knows that it is taken care of. Secondly, she sent it out and in less than a day she had several responses from local hospitals who reached out to her. She had an interview within a couple days and she ended up with a great day-shift position at a local hospital that was closer to home.

For her, it was really getting over that fear of the job search process and if she would be able to find what she was looking for. She ended up being able to do that once she sat down and decided, “Okay, it’s time to make that move.”

Mac Prichard:

She was afraid that it was going to be difficult to do a search and once she identified that fear and she worked with you to get that resume out and was pleased with the response that she liked, I’m curious, did she share with you where that fear came from? Had she had a bad experience looking for work in the past?

Jessica Hernandez:

Actually, I think hers just come from a general anxiety. She suffers from anxiety overall and so she had a lot of fear going into the process: job searching, interviewing. So we really walked her through all of it, from start to finish. It helped to alleviate a lot of the stress that she felt. She had to do a lot of the work to face that anxiety. I know a lot of people who have anxiety about job searching; it can be overwhelming.

Mac Prichard:

It can and we talk about that a lot on the show because clearly, like you, I can see the importance of people learning how to look for work. Most of us, we learn it by trial-and-error, don’t we, Jessica?

Jessica Hernandez:

Yes, absolutely, we sure do. It’s not like we graduate high school, go to college, and someone teaches us how to do all of these things. Most of it is trying to figure it out on your own, or finding a resume writer, or career coach, or somebody to guide you through.

Mac Prichard:

Often, we did go to schools that had career services offices or a guidance counselor, and I know many of my listeners were much more earnest than I was in those days. I didn’t take advantage of those resources and I know many people don’t. As a result, they do struggle with this. I think the other factor, and I think you see this as well, is most people don’t think about it until they need it to change a job or find a new one. That might happen only every five or ten years.

Jessica Hernandez:

You’re exactly right and then by then, the job market has changed so much that resume writing and job searching in general isn’t the same as it was for them five or ten years ago. Normally, when they come to us, they’re like, hands in the air, “I have no idea what I’m doing. This has changed so much.” When I first started job searching, you just went and put in your job application to the company. Now everything is online and it’s through applicant tracking software systems and they have no idea how to write a resume to get it through the screening systems. They are just getting stuck and end up in a black hole.

Mac Prichard:

Well, let’s talk more about how people can get over those fears of whatever it is that’s holding them back, whether it’s inexperience in job hunting or some of the other barriers you’ve mentioned, like thinking they can’t afford to move or they need to keep their kids in school. Can you share some other examples of people you’ve worked with that have encountered those kinds of obstacles and how they’ve overcome them?

Jessica Hernandez:

Absolutely. So, recently we were working with a gentleman who had one child in high-school and one in college and he had a mortgage. He wanted to advance his career but the issue he was having was that he didn’t want to relocate because of all of the situations with his kids. One of his kids was getting ready to graduate high-school so he just didn’t want to relocate. He was concerned that there were limited opportunities in the space where he was for the type of work that he did. What we helped him to do was identify some of the companies that he wanted to work for, in the location where he was, in the work that he did. Then we helped him get his resume together so that he could apply to those positions that were local.

What we helped him realize is that you don’t have to just sit back and wait and apply online, then take whatever comes. You can target specific companies that are in your location, that are in your industry, and you can approach them. It’s one way of tapping into the hidden job market. He thought that he was limited to what he saw on the internet and all of that was not even local to where he was. He didn’t realize that he had the power to go and do the research, target the specific companies, and reach out to them. Once he realized that, he felt a lot better and he wasn’t as concerned about being able to advance his career and having to relocate to do that. He realized he could stay local.

Mac Prichard:

I love that story for a number of reasons. One is that you’re helping people understand that their choices aren’t limited to what they see online. You can get out there and talk to people at the companies you want to reach. A lot of people struggle with that, don’t they?

Jessica Hernandez:

They do, a lot of people struggle with that. I think a lot of people just don’t realize that it’s okay for them to network and reach out to connections, hiring managers, decision makers, at the companies that they’re really interested in working for. A lot of us think we just have to sit back and take what’s available. We don’t realize that we can be proactive and that we can go out and find companies whose culture is a fit for us, whose mission and values line up with what we’re passionate about, that have opportunities that align with our strengths, the things that we want to do.

We can go out and make those connections and reach out to them. Even if it’s what I would consider as “old-school” as sending in a resume and cover letter through the mail to the hiring manager at that company. You would be surprised what that does because no one does that anymore.

Mac Prichard:

The people you see that are successful at this, how did they learn how to do this, Jessica? I know obviously that many people work with you but is there some common quality or trait that you’ve seen in people who figure out how to navigate the hidden job market?

Jessica Hernandez:

I think a lot of it is a motivation and a passion to advance their career, to grow, to do more meaningful work. I think it’s that passion that drives them, they start doing the research to figure out what it is. I spoke with a lady earlier this week who absolutely loved this one company and it was her lifelong desire to work with the company. She’s followed them for years, she’s connected with people in the organization, she identifies with their mission. She was so passionate about doing work for this company and it was that passion that drove her to do the research, to figure out how to make those connections, and how to get her foot in the door in the company, and align her values, and her experience, and her accomplishments with that organization’s mission. It really blew the company away. It just blew them away, her passion for what they did and how she was able to articulate that.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a terrific story and what makes it stand out for me is that she did something I hear so many job seekers say they want to see happen, which is to get in front of a hiring manager. Because if they could only do that, they think, and I think they’re right in seeking this opportunity out, then they can show who they are and why they’re passionate about working for that firm. But they don’t know how to get through the front door, or if they do send in a formal application, it’s in stack of fifty or a hundred. Here’s somebody who figured out how to go in through the back door and she caught the attention of people inside the company by doing so.

Jessica Hernandez:

She did. What made that so amazing was that it was Microsoft. They’re huge yet she was still able to find a way to get in. I think that really should inspire people that it doesn’t matter about the size of the organization. It doesn’t matter how big they are. If you are passionate enough, and you are driven enough to look for those opportunities, and to make those connections and network, you can even get in the door with a company as big as Microsoft.

Mac Prichard:

Well, it’s a great story and it’s a great spot to stop. Tell us, Jessica, what’s next for you?

Jessica Hernandez:

We’ve recently been working on a PDF download called Fifteen Keys To Get Your Resume Through Applicant Tracking Software Systems. Because so many of the clients that come to us tell us, “I’m applying to positions and I’m not hearing anything back. My resume is not getting through the screening systems and I don’t know what’s wrong.” We put together the PDF download so that people will be able to read through the different points in the article and then be able to apply those to their resumes so that they can see them get through all of the screening software systems.

Mac Prichard:

Great. Tell us how people can find that PDF?

Jessica Hernandez:

So they can go to www.greatresumesfast.com/macslist.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific, well, I appreciate that shoutout to Mac’s List. I know that people can also learn more about you and your company by visiting greatresumesfast.com.

Jessica, thanks for being on the show this week.

Jessica Hernandez:

Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Mac Prichard:

I enjoyed that conversation with Jessica very much and I hope you did too.

A key takeaway for me was her point that we don’t have to stay in a job we’re unhappy in. it is not a life sentence, there is a way out, and I loved the practical steps that Jessica outlined for how to move forward when you know that it’s time to leave your job.

If, in fact, you are ready to leave your job, or maybe you’re in the middle of a job search, I want you to think about a resource we offer here at Mac’s List. Before you send out your next resume, learn from the experience I’ve had talking to hundreds of employers, career experts, and job seekers about what makes resumes stand out. .

Take a moment, and go to macslist.org/resumemistakes. You’ll get a copy of our free guide, Don’t Make These 8 Killer Resume Mistakes. It can help you, today, catch and fix some of the most common resume errors employers and career experts have told me they see every day.

Don’t make those mistakes, get your free copy today.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Find Your Dream Job.

Join us next Wednesday. Our special guest will be Clark Finnical. He’ll talk to us about Job Search Myths we all need to stop believing now.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

If you find yourself experiencing doubts about your current job position, look for warning signs that it’s not worth sticking it out. A toxic workplace culture, stagnant company growth, no room for career development and other indicators can be clear signs that it’s time to move on. Our guest expert Jessica Hernandez shares how to overcome obstacles as you face a career change on this episode of Find Your Dream Job.

About Our Guest: Jessica Hernandez

Jessica Hernandez is an executive resume writer and President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast.

Resources Shared in This Episode:

  • Jessica shared a free PDF download with our listeners, “Fifteen Keys To Get Your Resume Through Applicant Tracking Software Systems.” Go to: greatresumesfast.com/macslist.
  • Get a digital guide to avoiding common resume mistakes. Download my guide, “Don’t Make These 8 Killer Resume Mistakes,” for free at macslist.org/resumemistakes.