People change jobs for a number of reasons and this is okay. We are allowed to do what it takes to grow our careers if it serves a greater good and makes us find fulfillment. Gone are the days when you had to work a job that made you feel miserable or didn’t align with your purpose or passion, whatever that means to you!
Many experts believe that job seekers who are currently employed are more desirable candidates. But then you also hear people say: “if you hate a job, quit!”
Hold on for a minute! Yes. Quit. But are you living in a fairytale land?
We all wish that Disney stories were real and we could magically have our situations change in the twinkle of an eye. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality for many people. You’ve got bills to pay, have a certain lifestyle you want to maintain. Possibly have kids or family who depend on you.
If we are being realistic, this means that you need money, so quitting your job may not be the best possible option at this point. So what do you do? You wait it out and start looking for a job while you remain in your current-most-possibly, unfulfilling job. This is hard. However, I’m still of the school of thought that it’s easier to find a job when you have a job.
You ask why? Because, finding a job, especially without a constant supply of income can feel depressing. I recall looking for a job at some point in my career and scheduling a chat with a C-level executive who I randomly introduced myself to on LinkedIn.
We had a great chat. We talked at length about career plans and why I was looking to leave my role at the time. I remember her telling me:
“I know you’ve most likely been looking for a new opportunity but don’t rush anything. Take your time to find a job that you want and aligns with your goals. It’s a great thing that you currently have a job to provide you with finances so take your time. Be sure that you love the company you’ll like to move to before you make any decision.”
Maybe she didn’t say those words in the exact way I’ve typed them out here. But the message was the very same. I went home with those wise sayings and it remained with me. It ended up being one of the best advises I had ever received at the time and I’m sure she didn’t even realize it.
What’s also important is the fact that you’ll be growing your level of experience all while still seeking a new role. So you won’t have any gap period you’d need to explain to a recruiter. Adding the burden that comes with a job search to an already packed schedule means that you will work extra to give 100% of yourself to your current work. This is plain truth. Encourage yourself by remembering that you are in a transition phase, and will have to do your best to get through.
At the end of it all, it’s best you understand that you have to prioritize your own career and growth as no one will do it for you. You need to put yourself first in some cases. However, as much as possible, try to do your current job well enough that your employer doesn’t notice that you are searching. It’s always a good idea to maintain a good relationship.
We’ve gotten some things straight so far, it’s a wise decision to retain your job while you search for a new one. So how do you manage this especially when you still have to work your current job?
1. Streamline your search
It’s a full-time job to search for a job so the last thing you need is being unorganized. Try to set aside time to research the type of role that might interest you. Make use of job boards or company career pages to explore job positions that pick your curiosity. Once done, pick the top positions that excite you and focus on applying to those.
Many times, the same job position/ tasks might have a different job title in another company so you want to be aware of this as well so that you don’t limit your options while applying for job roles but yet remain streamlined in your search.
Streamlining your search also applies to the location of the job. If you aren’t going to relocate for a job, then you don’t want to waste your time and resources applying to it in the first place. Prioritizing your job search will lead you in the right direction ultimately.
2. Make use of your early mornings and late evenings
You’ll be amazed by the number of awesome things you can achieve early in the morning, including applying for jobs. Before the start of your current work, take some time to apply for jobs, have a certain number of jobs you’ll apply to each morning before work and evening after work. You can dedicate an hour in the morning and evening, applying to a number of jobs that have been streamlined.
This will end up meaning that you’d have spent 2 hours in a day applying to prospective jobs. This is a positive direction and won’t involve you making use of employer time to apply for jobs.
3. Prepare things ahead of time
When searching for a new opportunity, there are a number of things that are required for an application. These may include a resume, cover letter, etc. If you are going to be filling out applications via ATS, although quite frustrating, some of these companies require more information like years of study written out, referees, etc.
To save some time, you could document these out in a spreadsheet that’s easy to copy and paste from. Save your resume in the cloud (Google drive for example) for easy access. For a number of positions, it’s advisable to have resumes specially drafted to soothe each position, if you have over 5 resumes, for example, you want to be sure that you can access them easily.
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4. Scheduling the interviews
When you get to the interview stage of your job-hunt, ask that interviews be scheduled at times that work around your work schedule. For example, early in the morning, during lunch, or after hours. Many employers will accommodate your schedule. If an employer doesn’t, there is a high possibility that that is not the right employer for you. Remember, you have a current job at this time, take your time to find the right employer.
You can also take personal time off work to go for an interview and if it’s urgent possibly make use of your vacation or request to have an online interview. Another good thing to note is that you don’t waste the days you can afford to go for an interview on a job interview that isn’t worth it. That’s why it’s really important to streamline your search so that the interviews you’ll be going in for will be of value especially since you have limited time as you are still currently employed.
If a company requires you to provide references and you haven’t received an offer yet, you can make use of previous employers. Most employers would understand why you are making use of a previous employer as reference rather than the current one.
5. Being discrete help with the job search
If your normal look is casual, you’ll tip off your employer by coming to work with a corporate outfit all of a sudden. Consider taking a change of clothes with you to wear after the interview.
Also, when you ask for time off to attend an interview, try not to over-explain the reason else you’ll be giving out too much information and might give a tip-off. If it helps, searching for a new opportunity is personal to you at this stage and no need to explain for now.
Of course, you’ll need to update your LinkedIn profile but be careful about the notifications or alerts that may be sent out. So be extra careful. If you’re going to revamp your profile, be sure to make it realistic so much that your colleagues don’t notice the sudden change.
For phone interviews, answer calls away from your current office. Look for a place outside the office where colleagues won’t locate you. Preferably a quiet area too to take phone interviews. If you are going to have a phone interview, be sure to leave your desk at least 5 mins before time so that you aren’t chatting introductions around workers. As mentioned earlier, schedule interviews around your work schedule.
With these tips noted, it’s still important to remember that you shouldn’t be making use of your current work phone, email or computer. And for privacy reasons, your search shouldn’t be discussed with coworkers.
Job hunting may take you longer than you expect to get the interviews or offers, but with consistency and dedication it will eventually work out. Remember not to let your current work slip while you are searching for a new job as relationships go a long way. A step in the right direction goes a long way and hopefully, this article has gone a long way in helping you navigate your job search even with a current role.
Let me know in the comment section if you have other tips for searching for a role while currently being employed. Are you currently in this situation? If you enjoyed reading this article be sure to subscribe to the blog to receive exclusive updates and feel free to share this post!