Should I Apply For a New Job Even Though I’m Happily Employed?

At a fork in the road: should I apply for a new job or stay at my current one?

A Pivot HR911 Post: It’s time for our blog’s monthly Pivot HR911 post, where we feature questions from readers looking for employment advice. This month we help a banking professional who is thinking about pursuing a new job opportunity even though she is happy where she is. Should she risk leaving after only one year? Read on for our answer (hint: we think she should go for it!).

PS. If you are an employer worried about your employees seeking new opportunities, we encourage you to check in with them. Have you read our article on Stay Interviews?


Dear Pivot: Should I apply for a new job even though I’m happy in my current role?

This month’s HR911 question comes to us from a banking professional Michelle*, who was recently sent a job posting by a friend. The posting appealed to her despite being content in her current role with a national financial institution. It’s for a newly-created position focusing on an area of finance that is she is passionate about. Michelle also happens to have a contact at the new job and could easily reach out for more information and to establish a connection. However, Michelle has only been at her job for a year, and she’s worried that leaving after such a short amount of time will look bad on her resume. Also, she likes her job overall and working with her team. Should she take a chance and apply for the new job, risking the stability of what’s known for the uncertainty of the unknown, or stay where she is now for that extra year on her resume?


Our answer: Yes, apply for that new job, and here’s why:

We understand Michelle’s hesitation. While we think she should explore this new job opportunity, we want to address her concerns right off the bat:


1. Does being at job for only one year look bad on your resume?

In short, not always. According to Forbes, there has been a recent shift in thinking about “job-hopping”, or moving on to new job after only a year or two. Job-hopping has become increasingly popular with Gen X and Millennial employees, especially those who work in development or tech-based industries and change jobs to learn up-to-date practices and trends. But this strategy can work for any professional who wants to stay current in a highly competitive job market: cutting edge industry knowledge can offer real value to new employers.

Job hopping may or may not necessarily be the key to long-term success and job satisfaction for everyone, but in Michelle’s case, she doesn’t need to let a one-year entry on her resume hold her back from applying to a new and exciting opportunity.


2. Should you reach out to a contact to learn more about the new organization?

We recommend that Michelle reach out to any contacts she has at the new employer. It’s always helpful to get the inside scoop of what’s going on and they can introduce her to others to her build her network. She could frame a meeting as an informational interview, a technique that is often used by job seekers to learn about career opportunities and make connections in their chosen field. An informational interview is exactly as it sounds, a chance to ask questions to get more information. It allows you to find out about positions that may be available with a desired organization. Here’s how to go about arranging an informational interview:

  • Make a list of people you’d like to meet and any mutual connections you may have who could introduce you.
  • Once you have your interviewee’s contact details, invite them to meet with you; explain you are looking for information only, not a job.
  • Meet where it’s most convenient for them. That could be their office or a coffee shop, let them choose the location.
  • Be respectful of your interviewee’s time: have a list of questions prepared and don’t go over the time you agreed upon.
  • Treat it like a job interview: dress to impress and be be professional. Don’t forget your business card.
  • Thank them for their time and follow up with a thank you note or email.
  • Invite them to connect on LinkedIn so you can keep in touch.


Bonus Tip: Maintain your network

Even if you are happily employed, we strongly recommend keeping an active network. You never know what could change. Your company could have to downsize and begin layoffs; staffing changes could result in a less convivial work environment, or worse, you have to unexpectedly find a new job. This is when you’ll want to reach out to your contacts: they will help you source opportunities right away. Here’s how you can maintain a network even when the going’s good:

  • Volunteer in a role that enables you to meet other professionals.
  • Keep active with your professional association: attend networking events and trainings.
  • Initiate informational interviews with people whose careers you admire.


3. Should you risk the security of your current job for something that might not work out?

We get it. Applying for a new job is scary for anyone in this situation. You risk rejection and all of the other unpleasant aspects of job searching. Or what if your boss finds out you’re looking? Why chance all of this if you don’t feel like you need to? Well, we think it never hurts to find out more about an opportunity that piques your interest, so we encourage Michelle to go through the process, and then figure out if it’s worth making a move. We wish her the best of luck, and anyone else who may be in this situation.

We hope you enjoyed this month’s edition of Pivot HR911; If you would like to submit a question for next month’s Pivot HR911 post, please email your query to

*Name has been changed to preserve anonymity.

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