If you've been feeling the itch in your current job, the time is ripe to make a change.
As the economy steams back into action, employers are now keen to hire and are finding good people thin on the ground.
Listen to the Cooking the Books podcast here:
You can see it in the latest job ad numbers released by Seek. March had the highest number of jobs ever advertised on the website.
They were up 11 per cent on the previous month, and up 55 per cent when comparing March 2021 to March 2020 - although that second stat is perhaps not so surprising, given it was peak Covid disruption.
Even better, the increased job numbers are in every region across the country. Auckland saw the biggest boost, with 13 per cent more job listings between February and March.
Yet applications per job are down, which means if you're an employee on the hunt, the odds are in your favour.
This is great news for us workers, as changing jobs is one of the best times to get a raise.
Once you're on the payroll, many employers will be difficult to move on a pay rise beyond a couple of percentage points a year.
But when they're trying to poach you from someone else, that's your time to negotiate a much higher amount.
After many people were asked to take a pay cut to help companies survive the initial shock of Covid-19, you can't blame employees for wanting a piece of the good times as well. Fair is fair.
When you're hitting the job hunt, one of the first places to start is your personal network.
People who you used to work with and who have since moved to other employers within your field are invaluable.
They'll know about the jobs that haven't been advertised yet, and can give you the good oil on where's actually an enjoyable place to work, versus where's just a company with a good PR department paying lip service to work/life balance.
They could also give you a personal introduction to hiring managers or heads of department, if you decide you'd like to more aggressively pursue opportunities there.
For the jobs that are advertised, whip your CV into shape.
Clean of typos, with obvious headline sections, bullet-pointed, and not too long, are all important things to consider.
Use the job description to shape the workplace skills and experience that you list, so that you can show exactly how well you could deliver what they're after.
Then comes the most important part, for many of us. After you've got the ball rolling, how soon can you bring up money, and how do you negotiate it?
It depends on the role, but it's often discussed late in the process, either around the second interview, or once you've been offered the job.
You don't have to tell the new employer what you're paid now. If they ask, try a phrase like "what I'm focused on is being paid market rate for the job that you've advertised. How much budget have you assigned to this role?"
Employers expect it to be a negotiation, so will often offer you at the lower end of what they're prepared to pay, to give you room to negotiate it upwards. So always ask for more than offered, as otherwise you're leaving money on the table.
A good way to start a negotiation is with a gratitude sandwich – a positive, your request, and finishing on another positive.
A sample script could be "thanks so much for the offer, I'm looking forward to getting great work done at your company. I was hoping for something more along the lines of $X for salary, because of my skills and what I'm bringing to the role. Do you think that's possible? I appreciate you thinking about it, and I'm really excited about the work we can get done together."
Don't forget that you can also ask for job perks that save you money, so are equivalent to a pay rise.
These could be flexible work hours, working from home some days, equipment such as a phone or car, or staff rates on any products the company produces.
These are all worth money in your pocket, and can be a way to bridge the divide if you were hoping for more than what the company is able to pay in cold hard cash.
This column is general information only, and not individual financial advice.
Get all the tips when you listen to the latest Cooking the Books podcast here: