How To Job Hunt While Working Full Time

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If your job makes you feel like this, it’s totally time to start looking for new opportunities.

If your job makes you feel like this, it’s totally time to start looking for new opportunities.

There will probably be at least a few times in your career when you’ll find yourself job hunting while you’re already employed. This is totally normal, and everyone should always keep an eye out for good opportunities.

However, you can bet your current employer won’t be too happy if they find out that you’re job hunting. Follow these steps to keep your search effective and discreet.


Don’t Tell Your Current Boss Until It’s Time to Leave

There’s probably only one situation in which a boss will be OK with you looking for another job—if the company is going under and everyone has to find a new job.

If this isn’t the case, you’ll want to keep your job hunt on the down low—don’t even tell your coworkers! You don’t want any unnecessary friction or tension on the job. You also don’t know if you’ll even find a new job, so why make your current job situation difficult?

You can fill in your current employer once you have an offer on the table and a start date. This is typically after the new employer has conducted a background check and drug test (depending on the company). If you’re currently employed, your new company should be willing to work with you on your start date, since they know you need to give notice.

Plan Your Search

Since your time is limited, it’s imperative that your job search run like a well-oiled machine. Make sure you have all the necessary documents, such as your résumé, cover letter, and professional references in order. And make them easy enough to update and customize depending on the job you’re applying for.

A side note on personal references: don’t use anyone from your current job. This will help you keep your search a secret. If the potential employer tells you they must speak with your manager, tell them you need an offer first. They should understand why you’re trying to be discreet.)

Don’t Job Search On Your Work Computer

Your company’s IT department can probably track what you do online, so it’s in your best interest not to use work computers for your job hunt. Also, make sure you use a personal email account (not your work email) for all of your job hunt correspondence.

Streamline The Application Process

Again, your time is limited when you’ve got a full time job, so you should be more efficient by using job search organizers like ApplyMate, or sign up for job posting alerts provided by online job boards (and make sure they are not sent to your work email).

Tap Into Your Network

It’s a lot easier to job hunt while employed when you’ve got other people keeping you in the loop about opportunities. Only speak to trustworthy connections who you know really well. You can also tap into LinkedIn, just make sure not to publicly announce that you’re looking for another job.

Schedule Your Interviews Carefully

Schedule your job interviews for early in the morning or late in the day. Taking these times off from work are usually much easier to explain than having to randomly bolt at 2:00 p.m. If you have multiple interviews to schedule try to get them all in on the same day so you can use only one vacation day.

Also, make sure not to take any phone interviews at your current job. Try to schedule them during your lunch hour or your personal time. And make sure to give the interviewer your personal number, not the office phone.

The “Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?” Question

An interviewer will inevitably ask why you want to leave your current job, so it’s important to be ready to answer this question.

You always want to avoid badmouthing a current or former employer or complaining about your job situation in an interview—it just makes you look disloyal. Instead, say something like, “I’m looking for more growth opportunity.” If you’re looking for more money it’s perfectly fine to express that as well.

Looking for a job while you’re already employed can be tricky, but following these tips should make it a whole lot easier for you.

Have you ever made the switch from one company to another? Share your tips in the comments!


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  1. Sasha April 14, 2014 / 12:23 pm

    Great tips! It’s always good to handle this kind of situation as professionally and as honestly as possible.

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