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How to Find a Job When You Already Have One

Looking for a new job and working a full-time job can be very challenging! Do you want to know what you have to do? Read on and find out for yourself.

Looking for job opportunities is no walk in the park. It can take days, weeks, and even months before you even get called in for a job interview. It’s incredibly time-consuming, and it requires a lot of effort and dedication on your behalf. And it gets even more complicated when you have to juggle your job search with a full-time job, also known as passive job seeking.

So, what can you do about it? How do you find a job – strike that, how do you find your dream job when you’ve already got another job? And what should you avoid doing?

The Dos

First things first, let’s take a look at the things you should be doing and the many things you need to keep in mind when searching for jobs while employed.

#1 Make Sure Your LinkedIn Profile is 100% Complete

Young woman using laptop iStockphoto

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, LinkedIn is the leading social network for your career, and if you’re not currently a member, now’s the perfect time to sign up (and yes, it’s free). And considering that 94% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates, there isn't really a debate as to whether you should join it or not. But, an incomplete profile won’t do the job – in fact, you’ll probably get overlooked because of it and end up missing out on an exciting opportunity.

Your LinkedIn profile should be 100% complete and constantly updated – various studies have found that the more complete your profile is, the better your career prospects. In fact, simply uploading a profile picture gets you 14 more profile views, while adding your professional skills makes you 13 times more likely to be found by recruiters.

#2 Schedule Interviews During Non-Work Hours

Being invited to a job interview is, quite naturally, very exciting, but make sure you don’t get caught up in the moment and accept their invitation without first considering what time they’re asking you to come in. If it’s during work hours, explain your situation and ask them to schedule it before you start work, during your lunch break, or after you finish work for the day. While it’s very tempting to schedule an interview during work hours, you’ll probably end up having to lie to your boss as to why you have to take a couple of hours off – and they just might be able to see through your lies. You might get into trouble if they discover what you’re really up to; even if it’s not obvious what you’re doing, they still won’t be very happy about the fact that you’re frequently missing work.

#3 Ask Potential Employers to Keep Your Job Search Confidential

There’s nothing wrong with asking potential employers to keep your job search confidential; as long as you explain to them that you’re currently employed elsewhere and came across “this exciting opportunity” that you just couldn’t ignore, they’ll understand. They might even be accommodating and schedule further interviews or telephone calls with you during non-work hours – which, as we explained previously, is what you want to do, anyway. Tell them that your current employer doesn’t know you’re looking for a new job and that you would appreciate it if they told as few people as possible that you were interviewing – chances are they’ve been in your shoes.

#4 Focus on Your Current Job

Small team working together Shutterstock

This may seem somewhat counterproductive because your objective is to find a job – another job – but it’s critical that you remember to focus on your current job even though you’re looking for something else at the same time. Yes, we know it can be incredibly hard trying to stay focused on your current job when a job search requires a lot of time and effort on your part but don’t forget that they’re paying you to do whatever it is that you do. Don’t let the quality of your work slide and don’t go on “autopilot”; instead, continue to perform at your current level or perhaps go above and beyond to make sure you do a job well done.

#5 Be Honest if Your Supervisor Confronts You

Even if you follow all the tips outlined here, no matter how vigilant you are during the whole process, you can still get found out. There’s simply nothing to guarantee your job hunt will remain secret. If this happens, and your boss somehow learns of your plans to leave the company, then you’ll just have to come clean. After all, honesty is the best policy, and blatantly lying to your supervisor’s face like he’s an idiot will not do any good. It will just come to bite you in the backside later, and you risk an early exit and a poor recommendation letter.

#6 Give Appropriate Notice in Writing

Congratulations, you did everything by the book, and you’ve landed yourself your dream job! This is a truly exciting moment in your professional life and calls for a celebration. But, before you get carried away, make sure you first give your employer the appropriate notice (most companies usually require two weeks’ notice, but others may require a longer amount of notice, so make it a point to review your employment contract or ask the HR department and find out what procedures you have to follow). It’s also equally important that your boss is the first person to learn about your imminent departure from the company – and, whatever you do, make sure you leave on good terms! You never know when you might need your old boss’ help or when your paths will cross again.

The Don’ts

You’ve learned why you should schedule interviews during non-work hours and what to do if your supervisor discovers your plans to leave the company for greener pastures, but what shouldn't you do when passive job seeking?

#1 Don’t Tell Anyone at Work…

Gossiping at work Shutterstock

Not many people can say their boss is “really cool” – in fact, it’s such a rare phenomenon that it’s almost mythical – and if you’re not best buddies with your own, you should keep your job search to yourself. Even if you’re really close with a colleague or two, and you trust them with your life, you should avoid telling them, too. And that’s because they could accidentally, and very innocently, let something slip or the office gossip might even be eavesdropping while you’re updating them about the job interview you’ve arranged for after work. They’ll most likely pass the information along, and it will come to upper management’s attention in no time.

#2 …Or Even Mention Your Job Search on Facebook

Career experts often recommend advertising your job search on your social media pages – after all, you might know someone who knows someone who could help you land your dream job – and they’re right to do so, but not in this case. Generally speaking, the point of job hunting while employed is to keep your job search secret, and announcing that you’re currently on the lookout for a new job to your 1,000+ Facebook friends and 5,000+ Twitter followers does the polar opposite.

Even if you’re not friends on Facebook with your boss, you might have forgotten that you added Tom, the copy guy, and you might have also forgotten that Tom is best friends with Mike who just happens to be your boss’ personal assistant. News (read: gossip) spreads like wildfire in the workplace and you’ll find yourself queuing up at the unemployment office before you can even “like” your own Facebook status.

#3 Don’t Post Your CV to Online Job Boards

While you might not see the danger in posting your freshly updated CV to online job boards, believe me: it’s there, and it’s huge. Yes, job boards provide you with the unique opportunity of being found by dream employers, but they also endanger you of being found by your current employer who, unbeknownst to you, is looking to fill the newly created position in your department. If that happens, and chances are it will, then you can be sure you’ve made a big whoopsie.

#4 Don’t Badmouth Your Current Employer

Your boss is a chauvinistic, sexist pig who can’t tell his head from his a**hole – and we couldn’t agree more. However, you might want to keep such tirades about your incredibly incompetent boss to yourself or at least save them for your friends’ entertainment. And you should never – ever! – badmouth a current employer to a prospective one in a job interview – no matter how much he deserves it!

For one, you just don’t know who knows who, and your interviewer may be close to your boss – he’ll only end up reporting back what you told him and your current employer won’t probably take his time sacking you. You also have to consider the possibility – no, the certainty – that no employer in their right mind would want to hire someone who b*tches about their old boss; they say that history often repeats itself and chances are, if offered a job with them, you’ll badmouth about them, too, when the going gets tough.

#5 Don’t Use Your Office PC

Your goal is to find a job – preferably: your dream job – and, considering the fact that this is the 21st century and that everything is done online nowadays, the internet is seemingly the only place you can conduct your job search. (On a side note, it’s worth mentioning that an estimated 80% of jobs are never advertised, so you might want to consider looking into other sources for opportunities). And while you might not have a lot of spare time to devote to your job search, seeing how you have a job and all, you should think twice about sending out CVs and applying for jobs on company time using company resources (i.e.: company internet). Most companies track their employees’ internet and phone usage, so if you really must, make sure you use your personal mobile phone to follow up on a job application or an interview.

job search
job search

#6 Don’t Use Current Colleagues or Supervisors as References

Unless you’re completely, utterly, absolutely, positively (and every other synonym for the word “totally”) certain that you can trust them, you should refrain from using current colleagues or supervisors or even subordinates as references in your job search. It could end badly for you – after all, why should your current employer keep you on when they know you’re planning to leave? They’re just going to speed the process along. Especially if you fail to mention anything to them and they get a phone call out of the blue from the company you interviewed at asking for a professional or personal reference.

#7 Don’t Dress Differently than Usual

If you’re one of the lucky few to have found a job in an office where a formal dress code is pretty much frowned upon and where you’re allowed to wear flip-flops and shorts, then you’ll only raise suspicions if you come into work one day dressed as though you’ve just had tea and cucumber sandwiches with the Queen. Interviews, meanwhile, generally call for more formal attire, so that means you need to change out of that Superman T-shirt and into something a little more professional.

The bottom line is, although it might be incredibly time-consuming and logistically problematic, you’ll need to change outfits between an interview and your time at work – and remember to do so in your car or the restroom at the company you’ll be interviewing for, and never at your place of work.

Do you have anything you’d like to add about what you should and shouldn’t do in your job search while employed? Tell us in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article with family and friends who are currently on the lookout for a new job when they already have one.

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