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How to look for a new job when you’re still employed

Employed? How to look for a new (or better) job? Many people find themselves looking for a job while employed because they want to advance their career, find a better fit for their job, or need a change of environment. Although the prospect of a new job is easy to get excited about, you should approach your job search and everything related to it carefully – remember that you still have a responsibility to your current employer.

If you’re currently employed and looking for new opportunities, balancing your search efforts and avoiding conflict with your employer can be challenging. We answer the most important questions for those curious about how to find a new job while employed.

Do hiring managers prefer you to be employed?

Hiring managers may think the fact that you are employed makes you more sought-after as an employee, and you also have a negotiating advantage. They could also be biased toward hiring those who are unemployed. They might think people don’t quit jobs without another lined up if (a) they were about to be fired; (b) they actually were fired and are just saying that they quit; or (c) they’re someone who walks when things get frustrating. 

This can be worrisome for the employer, because it’s true that no job is perfect and sometimes frustrations arise. Still, if the position really needs to be filled immediately and the candidate has the right skills, they may have an advantage.

How can I find time to look for a new job while employed?

If you tell yourself that you can work on your job search whenever you feel like it, you are unlikely to do much to find a new job. You don’t have time, right? Create a schedule that you can stick to that sets aside time for your job search. Maybe you dedicate two hours every Sunday morning to search for open jobs. Or, you may set a rule that you need to spend an hour each evening searching for jobs. By creating a predictable schedule (and then sticking to it!), you can ensure that you have time for a successful job search.

If you’re spending all day at your current job, it may be tempting to start looking for a new job during work hours. And while you might limit your search to your lunch break, it’s better to look for jobs outside of work hours.

How can I make time for an interview without my boss finding out?

Don’t be afraid to adjust your interview schedule to fit your workday. This will make you more attractive to hiring managers. If you tell the potential employer that you prefer a time that doesn’t conflict with work, they will see that you are committed and have integrity.

Of course, if you are consistently late or leave early for “appointments,” you should use your vacation days and take a day or two off for your interviews.

Should I tell my boss I’m looking for a new job?

The decision to tell your boss that you’re job hunting while employed is personal and should be based on your relationship with your employer and the company. You run the risk of them thinking you are taking your foot off the gas at work because you’re already invested in looking for a new gig. You may also find that job openings aren’t as rosy or numerous as you thought. On the positive side, the person helping you advance in your career may share contacts from their network or offer to be a reference on your resume.

When sharing your job search plans, be respectful of your position and responsibilities. Don’t use your company’s internet to search for a new job or make calls from the office. Also, don’t publicly announce that you’re looking for a new job on social media. Potential employers may also scan your profile and view your lack of discretion negatively.

Tips for job hunting while still employed

Are you ready to take the plunge? Here are some tips on the best way to look for a job while you’re currently employed.

Update your LinkedIn profile

First, make sure you have everything you need for your job search ready – a resume, a cover letter you can customize for each application, and professional references who can attest to your skills.

When your resume is submitted to a company and passes the screening stage, the recruiter or potential employer will pull up your LinkedIn profile. Help them see the best version of you. 

Before you start editing, there are a few things to consider. First, you should turn off notifications on your profile so no one knows about your updates. Second, you should never tag your account with “looking for a new job.”

Connect with a recruiter

Signing up with a service that is actively working to find you a suitable job can save you a lot of time. When you use a recruiter to search for jobs, you don’t have to spend hours searching for jobs in your industry. 

Instead, you can let a recruiter submit your information and find jobs that fit your profile. Plus, they can field daytime calls for you that you can’t take when you are at work.

Sharpen your interviewing skills

You must prepare well for interviews. The better prepared you are and the more you know, the less stressful it will be. Before the interview, learn about the company, dress appropriately, and practice answering questions. You need to make an effort to stand out from the competition so have all the information and confidence you need armed and ready.

Been offered the job while still employed? What’s the next step?

So you’ve been looking for a job while employed, and you pulled it off! Don’t resign from your current employer until you have a firm job offer. Wait until they have checked your references and you have an official start date. It occasionally happens that an employer withdraws a job offer, so it’s best not to quit until the new role is signed and sealed.

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