|  December 29, 2012

Looking for a new job while you’re still employed

We all the know the expression, “Looking for a job is a full-time job,” but what if you actually have a full-time job? Working 40+ hours a week while trying to lead a successful job search can be challenging to say the least.  Here are four tips for looking for a new job while you’re still employed.

1. Make the time, and use it wisely.

I know it seems like there are not enough hours in the day, and that means something’s gotta give. Whether it’s giving up an hour of sleep, your Sunday brunch or your spin class, that time has to come from somewhere — but don’t worry, it’s only temporary.

Try to allocate an hour a day to your job search.  Since you are only going to give it one hour per day, use that hour wisely. Shut down Google Talk, turn off your cell and really focus on the task at hand, whether it’s browsing for roles, putting together applications or preparing for an interview. Really make it count.

2. Choose your jobs carefully.

Making it count means not applying to every job you see. Trust me — getting out of work to go on interviews is not easy or fun.  Therefore, make sure you are only applying for roles you really want to go after wholeheartedly. Also, make sure you are applying to roles that you are qualified for. Anything else will be a waste of time that you do not have a surplus of!

3. Don’t let coworkers know you are looking.

This is a mistake I see people make often.  You are excited about the prospect of a new opportunity and feel the urge to tell a coworker. Resist that urge!

There may also be times you need to sneak away from the office. Use personal days when you need to, but otherwise schedule interviews early in the morning or late in the afternoon when you can.  Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be showing up in a suit every time you have a “doctor’s appointment” either. Overall, keep your search under the radar as much as possible.

Whether it’s true or not, the perception is that if you are looking for a job elsewhere, you are not giving 110 percent where you are. If it ends up taking you a long time to make a move, this could negatively affect how people view you and value you in your current company.

4. Don’t let your search interfere with your current job

Most important, make sure you are still delivering flawless work to your current employer. After all, they are the one handing over that paycheck, and being mentally checked out is not professional. Leaving a job can be sensitive enough and you want to leave on the best terms possible. You never know when you might need to use your former team as references.

Ultimately, this double-duty isn’t going to be the most relaxing part of your year.  Just remember that it’s only temporary, and the short-term sacrifice of time and energy will pay off in dividends when you land in a great new role.

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