A recent survey has provided data to back up the adage that it’s easier to find a new job while you still have one—80 percent of human resources professionals view job seekers who currently have jobs as more likely to become valued employees than applicants who are unemployed.
Clearly, this presents a dilemma: How do you find your next position efficiently and discreetly while you still have a job that demands your time and attention?
The main challenges to a smooth transition from your current job to your next are finding the time to undertake a job hunt, making sure your current employer does not find out you are looking at a stage that might jeopardize your employment status, and providing references. Planning ahead can make each of these obstacles a bit easier to clear.
- Carving Out Time for Your Search
Job seeking is more time consuming than ever. With automation have come steeper expectations: from customized applications to pre-interviewing and multi-stage screening. The best way to handle these demands is to ease into your search incrementally.
Begin by assessing skills and talents, and then do some pre-searching. Look at the kinds of jobs available in your field and see what seems appealing to you before you begin applying. Consider other factors as well such as location, working hours, and company history to specify your job search. If you’re currently living somewhere on the West Coast and has experience in the field of technology, you may want to find a tech job in San Francisco or nearby places. Then, begin assembling the materials these types of jobs call for.
Research resume templates and aim to pick one that will provide you with a solid base for the personalization work that lies ahead. Once you have one you like, create a few customized versions of it for a handful of roles you think you can see yourself filling in your next workplace. Do the same with your cover letter. If you don’t already have one, consider launching a professionally focused website. Update your LinkedIn profile and make sure to customize the URL.
Consider setting up an app that can gather job links for future applications. If your time is limited, apply to fewer jobs, but don’t skimp on preparation. You likely do not have the time to apply for jobs that are not optimal. You will need to be more focused than you would be if you were unemployed. You need to make every application count.
Even at this early stage of the process, you should begin carving out a regular chunk of time from your day for your job search. If you have the option, take your lunch hour early or later in the day so that you can use your personal laptop and make calls during hours that align with those of potential employers.
Don’t allow your work to suffer and don’t use your employer’s time to look for your next opportunity—that includes sick time. When you get to the interview stage of your search, use vacation time and personal days, or ask potential employers if they can interview you after work hours.
- Keeping Your Search a Secret
In most situations, you’ll want to keep your job search as discreet as you can for as long as you can. That means resisting the temptation to tell work friends that you are looking.
Don’t use work equipment for your search! It isn’t ethical nor is it secure, as many employers regularly monitor work email as well as searches. Posting your resume on job boards can also be problematic, as it’s likely your company’s HR team monitors the boards that are most relevant in your field.
Social media also presents a challenge. It’s one of the best tools you have for finding jobs, but since it’s likely that your networks include a combination of personal and professional contacts, you’ll need to be extremely careful about using filters properly. You’ll want to leverage your networks without tipping your hand.
It’s best to conduct your search on your own time. But if you need to make calls or video chat during business hours, arrange to do so off-site during your lunch hour.
It’s best to take a day off for face-to-face interviews or schedule them after work. If you have to attend an interview before or during the workday, be cognizant of your typical work attire. If you always wear business casual and suddenly show up in a suit your boss is likely to notice.
Be even more cautious and discreet than you think is necessary. Secrets are hard to keep at work and word can travel fast.
Keeping your search quiet means using references and contacts from past jobs or from professional associations you are involved in rather than your current coworkers and supervisor.
At the interview stage, or even before, be clear with prospective employers that your current employer is not aware of your job search. But be careful not to disparage your current employer. Instead, focus on what a great opportunity the job you are seeking is.
If a prospective employer insists on a reference from your current supervisor, explain that you can only do this at the point of offer. Once you get to this stage you need to sit down with your boss as soon as possible to make sure you talk things through before the reference check takes place.
Finally, make sure you give sufficient notice and leave on good terms. Remember that exiting your current role smoothly can be critical to your long-term success. This can’t be emphasized enough!
Author/Resume-Now Bio: Instantly create a resume that employers love with Resume-Now. Whether you’re applying for your first job, changing careers, or returning to work, Resume-Now gives you the tools to help you find a career you will love, including templates, formatting tools, and a collection of resume samples for every industry.