Once upon a time, there was a jobseeker who was searching for a job and found the perfect match – never having to search for another job again. Awwww….fairy tales are amazing, aren’t they?
Today’s economic reality makes the job search a necessity for even the happiest of employees. Why? Either you’re going to get laid off, you’re not going to get a raise or you’re going to be asked to cram a week’s workload into one day because your company doesn’t want to hire additional staff. One of these is inevitable.
The question then arises: how does one prepare for a job search when they are already employed?
Always Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Updated
The minute I start working for a new company, I immediately update my LinkedIn profile. By doing this, the burden of having an up-to date resume is alleviated. Remaining active and engaged on LinkedIn, just as any other social network, shows initiative to stay connected and make new connections without ever sending the message of looking for anything new. The job search is a marathon. You should be preparing for any future jobs, whether immediate or otherwise, with every connection you make. If you keep this in mind, your every move won’t look like an immediate step to find a new place of employment.
Use Your Smart Phone Stupid
Why would you search for a job on your work computer? That’s time theft and if caught, you could get fired. Responsible employees work at work and conduct job searches on their own free time. You have a smart phone, so use it. When you’re on the train, at lunch or on a break, take a moment to conduct a quick scan of open positions. If you cannot actively apply for those jobs, save them on the site or email them to yourself, so you can complete the application later. The idea here is to not risk being caught. Bosses are like ninjas. They know how to walk behind you without you knowing, so rather than always having your head on a swivel, just don’t bother taking any chances. Use your free time wisely and you should have enough time to conduct a dedicated job search.
Since you already have a job, use free time wisely. Maintain a file that contains all information – job history, including employer addresses, supervisor names, work phone numbers, etc.; school history; and even past addresses. Why? Some employers make the job search tedious – maybe to weed out those who won’t make the effort of uploading a resume and filling out the same information on the application page. If you know you are going to have to do this over and over, make it easier on yourself by having the information readily available to cut and paste. Anything you can do to make your job search more efficient, the better.
Optimize Your Personal Time
Your company allows you to take time off, so use that time to make yourself available for job interviews. Instead of taking a vacation, buckle down and sort through the jobs you really want, and then agree to interviews from there. Plan your time wisely, even if that means scheduling several interviews during the same day. Remember that you won’t get the job after the first interview, so make sure you have enough days for the following rounds.
Lie At Your Own Risk
The last time I changed jobs, my job interview process lasted nine months, which happened to coincide with many life-changing moments that were happening in my personal life. Although most job changes do not reach this extremity, almost all employees looking for a new opportunity outside of the company will be forced to lie to their employers at one point or another. In my case, I was so extremely unhappy with my employer that I didn’t just want to leave; I needed to leave. So, I lied. Some were easier lies to pull off, others didn't even feel like lies, while a couple caused me more guilt than I thought they would. Lying to your boss may not be what you want to do, but as was the case with my previous employer, it almost felt as if they understood that’s just part of the job search process. In order to alleviate as much secrecy as possible, work while at your job and interview outside of working hours or on lunch breaks. Do not discuss your move with fellow coworkers and maintain as much normalcy at your current position. Should anything fall through on the job search, you have a place to work and come back to.
Dress For the Job You Want
I think the reason why people say, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” is to prepare you for the job interview that requires business professional clothing. If you always show up for work in a suit and tie, no one will be suspicious of you when you head out to lunch to meet a potential new employer. In contrast, if you wear an untucked button-down shirt and jeans to the office every day, but show up to work in a business suit at random, it will raise a red flag. Back when I worked for a newspaper and couldn’t afford more than two good suits, I had to pull off some interesting stunts, sometimes carrying an entire suit in a computer bag, wearing my suit under regular clothing, having a friend stash a suit in his car, or even just leaving early to go home and change. In hopes of avoiding all of this, it may just be easier to dress well all the time, so that an additional jacket may not seem that off-putting to your everyday dress pants and button ups.
Some people feel guilty about conducting a job search while employed, but if we didn't do this, most of us would never change jobs. Whether it's a financial, moral, or incentive based decision, a job change is entirely in your own hands. When companies lay people off, it's unexpected but they still go through with it for pragmatic reasons; a job change is similar in that although guilt is a factor, the other elements overpower the guilt and propel you forward to make this change. If you know that you have a better chance of obtaining a pay increase, career advance, or whatever it may be through a job search, then it is entirely up to you to make that happen. Sometimes, a potential employer may not even consider you for a job if you’re not currently employed. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and those that get ahead realize they are the only ones with their best interests in mind. In this, it is imperative to be selfish.
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