Tips on How To Look for a New Job While Still Employed
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published September 7, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
The search for a new job can lead to a more rewarding opportunity than your current position offers. The more discreet you can be throughout this process, the easier it is to maintain a favourable relationship with your current employer. Developing a strategic approach ensures you invest adequate time and research to find success in your search and you leave your current role on good terms. In this article, we discuss why you may want to start your job search before resigning, and provide 16 helpful tips on how to look for a new job while still employed.
Why look for a new job while still employed?
A new job represents a chance to find professional fulfilment. It can reignite your passion and motivation, help develop your skills in a new environment, and build new relationships. Looking for a new job while already working makes you a more attractive candidate for some recruiters and hiring managers. It's possible to leverage your current employment during negotiations to secure a higher salary.
How to look for a new job while still employed
Here are the 16 tips to explore on how to look for a new job while you're still employed:
1. Pause and reflect
Take a moment to pause and reflect on whether finding a new job is the best decision. Consider the impact it may have on your household, your commute, and yourself as an individual. Discuss it with your spouse or close confidant for an added perspective. Research your current place of employment to see if switching positions or departments is possible, as it can be a viable solution. The goal of this first step is for you to be sure of your decision before starting the search for a new job.
2. Create a plan of action
It helps to be as specific as possible about the type of job you want. Re-examine your current position in terms of your accomplishments and development of skills. Take the time to research various companies to find ones with cultures that interest you. Set up career goals and clearly define the steps within the job hunt you want to meet each week. For example, it can be applying to one job each weekday or setting up four networking sessions during the week.
You can ask friends or family for assistance, or hire a job coach to develop your plan firmly. Because with a plan in place, it's easier to refine your search and stay focused on the job positions you want.
3. Be discreet
Discretion minimizes the risk of your supervisors and colleagues finding out about your decision to look for a new job. Spoiling a business relationship or being dismissed from your current position without securing a new one can lead to complications. So refrain from sharing your decision with anybody from work. Be mindful of friends who have a relationship or friendship with a colleague.
4. Avoid using company resources
Company resources include email addresses, laptops, software programs, or phones you have access to as part of your employment. It's crucial to avoid using these tools in your job search. Once you leave for a new job, you won't be able to access them again. Some companies also track their employees' internet and phone usage. As a result, only use your personal email and devices.
5. Set up a business email
Consider setting up a business email specifically for your job search. Keep it simple, and use a variation of your name, such as email@example.com. With a business email, you can easily track your job applications, appear more professional to prospective employers, and ensure more privacy.
6. Update your resume
Look back at your accomplishments within your current position and add them to your resume. You can also hire a professional to review your resume. They can provide expert feedback on how to improve it and offer guidance on how to modify it for the job posting.
7. Carefully distribute your resume
Avoid posting your resume on public job boards and applying for too many jobs at the same time. The goal is to maintain discretion and control your job search as much as possible. An easy way to achieve this is to be careful of how and with whom you share your resume.
8. Ask hiring managers for confidentiality
When talking to prospective employers, hiring managers, or recruiters, be clear and direct about your situation. Communicate that you're still working and that you want to keep these interactions confidential. Hiring managers are typically understanding of your request for discretion. They may wait to contact your references until after you've given your notice at your current workplace.
9. Be mindful of your references
When you receive a request to provide references, remember to be mindful and make sure to omit your current supervisor or coworkers. Instead, use your former employers as references and remember to notify them. Prepare three strong professional references to share with potential employers.
Related: Key Steps To Asking for a Reference
10. Be strategic with your scheduling
Time management is essential when searching for a new job, and it is even more crucial when you're still employed. Be mindful and strategic with your scheduling by only devoting time to your job hunt during off-work hours. For example, when you receive an invitation to interview, schedule it during your lunch break or after work.
11. Maintain respect for current employer
Sometimes a workplace dynamic may be a contributing factor in your decision to look for a new job. During a job interview, you may encounter questions about your current employer and workplace. While the temptation to divulge a negative experience is present, it's best to refrain from this. Be mindful of your words and always strive to stay respectful and positive. Reframe your concerns and provide a neutral explanation. For example, you can say you've gone as far as you can within the company and are looking for a role with more opportunities for growth.
12. Use your personal network
Networking can be an excellent resource in the search for a new job. Leverage your network by reaching out to former supervisors or coworkers. There may be potential job openings in their companies, and you can be the ideal candidate. Remember to reach out to friends and family as well, as they can help narrow down your search and offer helpful insight. Ensure the people you reach out to can maintain confidentiality until you're ready to discuss your decision to leave with your current employer.
Related: Guidelines on How To Network
13. Use social media
Be cognizant of how you use your social media platforms. While social media can be a valuable tool in your job search, maintaining discretion is critical. Double-check your privacy settings, and refrain from posting your plans publicly. This is especially important to be aware of if you have any colleagues within your social network.
14. Continue to work hard
It's essential to maintain engagement in your current position and with your supervisor and coworkers. Accept new assignments or tasks, interact during meetings, and respond to emails. Strive to continue building work relationships and providing maximum effort. Remember that these individuals represent future references, and it helps to stay on good terms with them. It can also make you appear more professional and demonstrates integrity.
15. Avoid making premature decisions
Make sure to sign a contract with your new job before resigning from your current position. Even if you had a successful interview, wait until you hear from the prospective employer and receive a job offer. This improves your ability to transition smoothly from one role into another without a period of unemployment between leaving and finding a new role.
16. Resign with grace
You can leave your old job and start a new one while maintaining a good relationship with your supervisors and colleagues by providing adequate notice. The professional standard is two weeks, but you can review your contract to see if there's a different or longer notice requirement. You can also offer to assist with the transition period from your departure. Embrace the opportunity to train your replacement or create a handover document.
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