Sometimes a new role is hard won, after seemingly endless months of searching, countless rejections, and a laborious season of interviewing. Other times, it seems like a position drifts by on a wind of serendipity when you aren’t even looking. Perhaps a job posting on LinkedIn piques your interest or a friend emails you a position and notes it looks like a good fit. How do you know whether to apply for a job when you’re not in the market for a new position? Here are three questions to help you decide.

• Does it align with my long-term goals? Even the most attractive position with the most prestigious company is a terrible choice if it takes your career in the wrong direction. Stay anchored to your vision and values as you make pivotal decisions about your future.

• Would it be a good experience? Whether it’s practicing your interviewing skills or becoming more familiar with a new industry, applying to a position often benefits your career even if you don’t make it to a final round of interviews.

• What will it do to my connections? The old adage “it never hurts to ask” is hopelessly naive. Every time you enter into a social exchange you are debiting or crediting your account. Will exploring this opportunity strengthen your connections for future collaboration or will it make your colleagues feel used?

Sometimes the career moments come along when you are not engaged in a job search. Without the pressure to find a job—any job—you are able to be more clear-headed about what you really want and more strategic about how to get there. If you want to discuss the possibility of a change on the horizon, we’d love to be a sounding board. Reach out today.