Even if you’re not job hunting, you should be.

Everybody tells you “don’t quit your job until you have another one lined up”….however, even if you’re NOT currently job hunting, you should still be looking for jobs.

Why? There’s many reasons…here’s three:

1. Complacency: At the end of the day, you work for a paycheck and the employer gives you a job because they have a task to fill. It’s a business relationship. Loyalty can be nice, benefits are a plus, and a company that aligns with your values and offers psychological job safety is invaluable, but most companies are not any more loyal to their employees than they need to be for business operation. You cannot know for a fact that you’re working for the greatest company that you can find, nor receiving the best possible offer that your job market has to offer if you’re not looking into other companies at least once a year.

2. Old Habits: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”. Just like a second language, physical fitness, or relationships… interviewing skills need practice. If you have worked in the same role for many years and not interviewed with others (internal or external) in a long time, you will eventually find that you simply aren’t as good conveying your worth to a company–which is a bad position to be in if you suddenly find yourself up for that promotion or job hunting. Always hone in your interviewing skills by applying for and listening to other job offers annually. You can always decline them.

3. Pay: The average raise an employee receives for leaving their company and getting a new job is between a 10% to 20% increase in salary. Speaking from my own personal experience, my largest pay increase was 36%. That is a stark difference to the annual 2% – 6% performance review raises you will get by staying with the same company. Likewise, if you are struggling to earn a promotion within–finding another company seeking to fill that role is a great way to advance your career.

Bonus tip: I encourage you to apply for jobs, even jobs you loosely sound qualified for or don’t have all the recommended qualities to fill. When employers have an opening, they post their “best case” wish list for their candidates…partly because they are usually required by HR to define the competencies for a role, but also some companies ask for a plethora of skills to discourage under-qualified applicants who do not have the gumption or teachable palette to fill the role, even if the applicant is lacking the actual skill set itself. They want “go getters” willing to put themselves out there, not people looking to only collect a paycheck.

Ultimately, the worst an employer can tell you is “I’m sorry, you weren’t selected” and the best that an employer can state is “you’re hired” –but they won’t be saying anything to you if you don’t apply.