There are some unique considerations when you searching for a job while currently employed. This happens frequently so it is important to consider opportunities to maximize your success.
Get Your Work Done
- At the appropriate time, you will want to leave on a positive note with a strong reference so do not burn any bridges. You are still being paid to do your current job so be sure to give it your time and attention. Maintain your high level of performance. Don’t make people suspicious by suddenly losing interest and focus.
- Keep your search confidential. It does not pay to let your manager and colleagues know you are looking to leave. It may take several months to land your ideal next position so don’t self -identify as a lame duck.
- Absolutely do not use your work email for your job search. It should not appear on your resume or any of your job search materials. Do not let a potential employer think you use company time and resources to support your search.
- The single most important thing you can do to support your search is networking. Identify opportunities to network internally and externally.
- Maximize your limited time by focusing your efforts. Define and prioritize a target list of companies. Identify contacts in those companies using Linked In and alumni networks.
- Attend relevant professional association meetings.
Leverage Your Network
- When a position does appear online, reach out to your networking contact at that company. Let them know you applied online and ask them if they would forward your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager.
- It is critical that you also apply online so you are officially in the system. Many companies don’t allow managers to talk to candidates who are not in the system.
- Busy managers are much more likely to review resumes forwarded by a trusted colleague rather than dig through the mountain of online applications.
- Keep your contact posted on your progress through the system and be sure to say thank you.
Prepare Your References
- Identify references from prior companies or former managers who have moved on from your current company. Ask permission to list them as a reference. Verify their current contact information.
- Once you are asked for references, let them know. Tell them about the position so they can focus on relevant aspects of your past performance. Be sure to send your references a thank you note and let them know the outcome.
- If the position requires management of staff, consider identifying someone you managed. If there is significant peer interaction on cross functional teams, consider identifying a colleague from a project team. To avoid listing your current manager, think about the types of contacts that are most relevant to this new position.
Manage Your Schedule
- When scheduling interviews, try to avoid conflicts with critical work deadlines.
- Attempt to schedule interviews first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid excessive time out of the office. Be sure the work gets done even if you are out for a few hours.
- Once you successfully land the new position, you need to give your current employer notice. You should always give a minimum or 2 weeks but the more senior the position and the longer you have been there, 3 or 4 weeks may be more appropriate.
- If the new employer is anxious to get you on board, resist the urge to cut back on your notice. If you are unprofessional with your current employer, they will worry that you could be unprofessional with them as well. Notice is an accepted, standard behavior. You may offer to do some background reading in your personal time to prepare you to hit the ground running.
Looking for a job can be a time-consuming process so be prepared that it may take even longer when you are working full-time. By focusing your efforts and managing your expectations you can be successful.