You have a job. And for the most part, you know how lucky you are. In terms of basic security, your current job certainly puts you on stronger footing than many others around you who may be stuck between positions and struggling to get by. But at the same time, for any number of reasons, the job you have just isn’t the one you want. So while you offer your daily time and energy to your current employer, you’re still keeping an eye out for your next opportunity.
This gives you a set of strong advantages on the job market. You’re not desperate, you have the luxury of rejecting less-than-perfect offers, and potential employers may see more value in a working candidate, since it suggests a higher level of demand for your skills. But searching while employed can also come with a unique set of obstacles. And if you handle these obstacles incorrectly, you may be in for trouble. Keep these job search tips in mind as you move forward.
Be discreet. While unemployed candidates can cast a wide net, reach out to everyone they know, and trumpet their situation from the rooftops, you probably shouldn’t do this. It’s unwise for employed candidates to discuss their search publicly online, or recklessly hand out business cards and ask for leads at social events. If the news that you’re looking gets back to your current employer (which it easily can), you may be asked to explain why you’re leaving, which can be awkward. Your current employers may also start to question your loyalty. They’ll have good reason to do this, of course, but it’s not a conversation most of us want to be drawn into.
Prepare to leave sooner than you expect. The hiring process is complex and expensive, so if your employers know you’re on your way out, they’ll want to save time and trouble by launching an immediate search for your replacement. If they find an appropriate hire before you’re ready to leave, they probably won’t hesitate to hustle you out the door.
Conduct your job search on your own time, using your own resources. Don’t take calls from recruiters and employers on your company phone, and don’t send or receive job search related messages through company email. Use your cell phone, and keep your conversations limited to lunch hours and break periods.
Be diplomatic. During your last few weeks on the job, work extra hard and give 110 percent of your energy to your current employer. By doing this, you’ll build strong bridges and leave a positive impression behind you instead of a trail of resentment. Diplomacy also means providing your current employer with two week’s notice before you go.
Treat recruiters and potential employers with respect. Remember: just because you have the luxury of a current job doesn’t mean you have free rein to behave badly. Don’t make demands or focus solely on salary issues. If you’d rather talk about what’s in it for you, and you aren’t interested in discussing the skills and contributions you have to offer, you may find your calls going unreturned. In fact, if you do this too many times, recruiters may actively blacklist you by removing your name from resume database searches. Employed or not, nobody wants to negotiate with a candidate who seems money grubbing, lazy, or entitled.
Be positive. No matter what your reasons may be for leaving, stay cheerful and optimistic as you focus on the future. Instead of fleeing from a bad situation, concentrate on stepping into a better one. Stay upbeat and look forward to whatever the future holds.
LiveCareer (www.livecareer.com), home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job. Find LiveCareer on Youtube and visit LiveCareer’s Google+ page for even more tips and advice on all things career and resume-related.