How to Look for a Job When You’re Already Employed

Looking for a job is hard enough. But when you’re already employed, there are even more challenges you have to be prepared to address.

Better compensation. More career opportunities. A hostile work environment. Impending layoffs. There are plenty of reasons why people look for a job even though they are already employed.

But for employed job seekers, the job search process can be extremely uncomfortable. At times, it will feel like you’re living a double life – mild-mannered and responsible employee by day; aggressive job hunter on nights and weekends.

The good news is that it’s usually easier to find a new job when you’re employed than it is land a new position after you have been laid off or terminated from your current job. However, there are several strategies you will need to employ to maintain your personal integrity and avoid jeopardizing your employment status while you are searching for a new employer.

  1. Evaluate Risks and Rewards

    Before you finalize your decision to look for a new position, you should take a long, hard look at why you want to leave your current job. The marketplace is full of both risks and rewards, and if the reason you’re leaving your current position is superficial, you could easily find yourself leaping out of the fire pan and into the fire.

  2. Create a Job Search Firewall

    It is absolutely essential to create clear boundaries between your workplace and your job search. Thinking about using the office copier to print resumes? Trying to squeeze an interview in over your lunch hour? These and many other pitfalls have been the demise of many job seekers, so think very carefully before you allow your job search to bleed over into your workday or office space.

  3. Exercise Discretion

    Employed jobseekers walk a fine line between aggressively promoting themselves in the job marketplace and hiding the fact that they are looking for a new employment opportunity. It’s usually safe to update your LinkedIn profile, but posting your resume on public job boards and engaging in other high risk job search activities can quickly backfire.

  4. Take the High Road

    Under no circumstances is it appropriate to talk negatively about your current employer during an interview or networking opportunity – not even if your present employer makes Ebenezer Scrooge look like Gandhi. In many industries, individuals are more closely connected than they seem and word will inevitably trickle back to your present employer, possibly resulting in the loss of your current job.

  5. Never Burn Bridges

    Congratulations, you’ve finally received a job offer that you want to accept. Although the temptation to go out in a blaze of glory may be overwhelming, never, ever burn bridges with your current employer. As unlikely as it seems, it may eventually be advantageous to collaborate with or return to your present employer in some capacity.

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