Need to Keep Your Position Before You Jump Ship? How to Job Search While You’re Still Employed
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Whether you’re looking at the clock counting down the hours until your shift is over, or you’re stuck in a toxic environment, when you know you know — it’s time to find a new job. And most job experts agree that there’s never a better time to start looking for a new position than when you’re still employed. But it can be a tricky balance to navigate the responsibilities of your current position while trying to be proactive and put yourself out there as a potential candidate.
While it’s certainly challenging, we assure you it’s not impossible, but you do need to be discreet about it. There are certain risks associated with job hunting while you’re still currently employed, even if you shouldn’t necessarily quit or wait until you’re fired to start the job search. One of the biggest risks while looking for a new position is having your boss discover your search — they may see it as a lack of loyalty to the company, and might not provide a letter of recommendation or a good reference in the future. You might also be focusing so much on your job search during work hours that your attention to your responsibilities for your current employer start to suffer.
However, that being said, potential employers often see it as a good sign that a candidate is currently working a full-time job, as it shows confidence that you can hold down a position long-term. When you start your job search while you’re currently employed, there’s also less pressure on you, as you always have your current position to fall back on if the search takes longer than expected (although job sites like ZipRecruiter will help you be more efficient with your hunt). Being employed while looking for a new job also gives you leverage in terms of salary negotiations and benefits expectations when you eventually interview for a new gig.
Don’t lose your job before you move on to your next position — here are our tips for how to search for a new job while still employed.
1. Use Discretion When Applying Online
Stealth is key on your job search while you’re maintaining a full-time job — remember that your employer might be monitoring the social media accounts of their employees. Even if they’re not, you never know what virtual network might lead back to your supervisors, so mindful of posting about your job hunt online.
ZipRecruiter is our favorite site for finding the top jobs online, thanks to a few key functions that help streamline your job-hunting process. You can search by specific keywords and locations, which is especially helpful if you’re already far along in your career, and you want to seek out companies looking to fill senior management-type positions. If you’re worried about your boss finding your resume posted up on a bunch of job boards, ZipRecruiter uses a powerful matching algorithm and AI technology to create instant matches between you and the right companies for what you want to do, bringing the employers and the best jobs to you.
2. Update your LinkedIn profile
What’s the first thing a potential employer or recruiter check when you send in an application? Your LinkedIn profile. Before you update your experience or settings, turn off notifications so that any new profile updates you make aren’t broadcasted to your entire network. Even if this may seem counter-intuitive, you probably shouldn’t tag your profile as “looking for a new job” either, lest your current employer sees.
Now when you do update your profile, make sure your skills and experience are consistent with your current position and are up to date. Even if you’re not specifically advertising that you’re looking for a new job, on job boards like ZipRecruiter or Indeed, listings can be send out to thousands of potential applicants and be aggregated across multiple job sites, so you want to show what you can bring to the table as a candidate, even if your qualifications don’t 100% match the role.
3. Schedule Your Interviews Smartly
Even if you think you’re being sleek, if you’re constantly taking phone calls during work hours or calling in too many early-morning doctor appointments, you’re going to raise suspicions. You can be explicit with potential recruiters and hiring managers about your situation, and many will be accommodating about booking interviews during your lunch hour or after work.
Can’t get out of an interview during work hours? Consider taking a personal day or using vacation time, even if you might not want to. You don’t want to have to be anxious about rushing back to work to finish. a project by the end of the day or deal with being so distracted from your responsibilities that your boss notices.
4. Network to Your Advantage
Networking is one of the best ways to find a job (especially when you’re trying to be discrete), and while going to in-person events might be beneficial if you plan on working in a local industry, for more remote work you should start by networking online. Even if the person you’re reaching out to isn’t currently hiring for any jobs, they may know a company or a colleague who is.
Using social media and joining industry-specific pages is a great place to start advertising if you’re looking to switch careers specifically, and can help you make personal connections that don’t feel so transactional at first. Many people are in the same boat looking for new jobs, especially with transitions in the job market, so you’ll be surprised what opportunities you’ll find just by reaching out.
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