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Nov. 20, 2015

How to Look for a Job When You Already Have One

Let’s be honest. Not many people stay at one company, in one role, for their entire life. It’s just not the way our current workforce operates.

In fact, one study shows that the average worker stays at his or her job for just 4.4 years. At some point, you too will realize that it’s time to move on to greener pastures. And when that time comes, do you know the best way to make that transition?

Quitting a job before you can secure another is risky and can cause both mental and financial stress. However, the alternative of finding and landing a new position while you’re still employed can seem even more daunting. The latter is generally the smarter option, so take a look below for some advice on what you should and shouldn’t do when looking for a job while you’re still employed.

DO plan your job search

Time is of the essence when you’re working a full-time job and looking for a new one at the same time. Create a plan—prepare your resume, contact references, research employers—to effectively utilize non-work time so that you can job search more efficiently.

DON’T quit your current job just yet

You may have landed an interview, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Even if you hate your current job, try to stick it out until you have secured new employment. A steady paycheck will help you focus on your job search instead of the financial stress that comes with being unemployed.

DO keep it confidential

Avoid telling anyone at work about your search for a new position. One misstep by a coworker could tip off your boss, who may see your job search as a lack of loyalty to the company and/or dissatisfaction with the job itself. It’s also a good idea to let prospective employers know that you’re job searching confidentially.

DON’T use current coworkers or bosses as references

If you’re trying to keep your job search under wraps, leave current coworkers and bosses off of your reference list. Your boss should learn about your departure from you and not from a reference check call, especially if you have a good rapport with him/her.

DO schedule interviews during non-work hours

There’s a good chance that your work hours will coincide with a potential employer’s business hours, which can make scheduling an interview tricky. Ask the hiring manager if he/she would be willing to meet you before or after operating hours, or perhaps during your lunch break. If necessary, schedule all your interviews during one afternoon and take a vacation day from work.

DON’T use company resources

Fight the urge to print copies of your resumes on the office printer or email an application from your work account. Unauthorized use of company resources is not only unethical but could also be grounds for termination. Do all job hunting off company time.

DO stay committed to your current job

Without a doubt, looking for a job takes time and effort. However, letting your productivity slide because of it isn’t fair to your employer or to your fellow coworkers. If you’d like to use your current employer as a reference in the future, stay committed and focused until the end.

DON’T mention your intentions on social media

What you share on social media, whether its excitement for a new job or anticipation to get out of your current one, could leave a trail of breadcrumbs back to a coworker, your boss, or  worse, a prospective employer. No matter how private you think your account is, it’s simply not worth the risk.

DON’T badmouth your current employer

Speaking poorly of a current or past employer during an interview won’t win over the hiring manager, so keep any griping to friends and family members. Employed or not, this is a good rule of thumb for all jobseekers.

DO be honest if confronted by management

In this case, honesty is the best policy. If confronted, tell the truth. Lying to your boss about your intentions will hurt your chances of leaving on a good note.


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