A couple weeks ago I talked about not being satisfied at work and I wondered if it was time for a career change. In that article, I wrote that I was happy with my coworkers, had a reasonable salary, a good commute, and a few other positive key factors; everything was fine except the actual work I was doing.
Several months ago I reached a professional plateau in my current role, and I need a new challenge to continue to grow professionally and maintain my interest. I have worked with my manager and his boss to find something within the company, and I have expressed my situation to them numerous times. Unfortunately, there just isn’t anything within the company right now that will meet my professional needs and align those with the company’s needs. So I have officially decided to begin my job search.
Why I’ve decided to move on. When I looked at these questions again and answered them truthfully, I didn’t like the answer I gave to some of them.
- I do not feel like I am continually growing and improving professionally.
- My current position is a job, not a career (though my manager would say otherwise)
- I’m not satisfied with my job duties; I believe I have more to offer.
- I dread going to work and it is affecting my attitude outside of work.
- Lack of Opportunity. This is the most important one for me. I am at a stage in my career where opportunity and growth are more important to me than the number on my paycheck. If I take advantage of opportunity, the money will follow.
My plan for my job search. Obviously, I can’t go to my management and tell them I am looking for a job. I also don’t plan on sharing this news with too many people I work with (the fewer the better!). Over the next few days, weeks, or however long it takes, I will quietly begin looking at new companies and I will start making sure everything is in order at work – assignments completed, continuity books in order, etc. I want to make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
How to Find a Job While You Are Already Employed
Here are a few of the tips I have learned regarding job hunting while employed:
Exhaust Internal Opportunities First
A new role within your company can give you a fresh perspective and rekindle your energy and appreciation for your career. Sometimes, however, there just isn’t anything available, or you just need to get away from your company for other reasons.
I have clearly communicated my professional goals with my management team and exhausted all opportunities within my current role. I have requested more work, an internal transfer, and other professional changes. There just isn’t anything available within my company right now. This has been going on for several months now, and a lack of opportunity and professional stagnation are two of the top signs it’s time for a new job.
Don’t Tell Management You Are Job Searching
Some people advocate 100% openness with your managers. In the case of job searching, I don’t. You may be in line for a promotion or internal transfer, only to have it snatched away the first time you mention you are thinking of leaving. Ironically, it may have been that promotion or internal transfer that convinced you to stay with your employer.
Communicate your desire for increased responsibilities, higher salary, different hours, or whatever you are looking for. But don’t tell them you are looking for a new job. You might just be the first person out the door if your management thinks you are leaving anyway. It just isn’t worth the risk.
Don’t talk about your job search with the receptionist, leave your resume at the office printer, or openly browse on-line job search engines like Monster or Career Builder (if you post your resume with these services, do so anonymously so your name doesn’t pop up if your current employer is researching new candidates). It doesn’t take much to start a rumor, and once that rumor gets going, you may find yourself first on the chopping block if staff reductions hit.
Limit Use of Company Resources While Job Hunting
Many companies monitor computer use or have strict rules regarding personal use of computers, telephones, printers, fax machines, or other resources. The last thing you want to happen is to get fired because you were caught using company resources while trying to get a job somewhere else! Do your job search from home during the evenings and weekends.
Schedule Interviews Wisely
The best time of day to schedule an interview is early in the morning, just before lunch, or near the end of the day. These times make it easier to get away from work without arousing suspicion. If you need to, take a day off from work to take care of an interview.
You should also avoid scheduling phone interviews while you are at work – it is very easy to hear everything that goes on in a cubicle! If you need to, duck out to your car or go to a public place with a quiet atmosphere, such as a Starbucks or Panera Bread.
Dress Appropriately for Interviews – and Work
When you start interviewing, it is usually common to wear a suit and tie. However, many companies allow their workers to dress business casual. If this is your case, don’t wear a suit and tie to work, at least, don’t wear the jacket and tie. Bring them with you and stash them in the car. Duck into a gas station or fast food restaurant on the way to your interview to arrange your tie. Or, you can tie your tie in the car using the review mirror, but it’s more difficult than it looks!
Discretion Above All
I know it seems like I recommend doing a lot of sneaking around, but that is not my intention. You aren’t doing anything wrong by looking for another job – you have to take responsibility for your career, because no one else will. Being discreet makes it easier to avoid rumors, keep your current job, and not burn any bridges in the process. As long as you act professionally, you have nothing to worry about.
Online Job Search Techniques to Avoid
It’s tough out there if you are looking for a job. While the Internet has made the job search a little bit easier, the use of technology isn’t fool proof. You can slip up just as much in the online job search as you can offline. And, when you mess up online, it’s extra-easy for a hiring manager to simply “trash” your resume or “delete” your email—without even giving it a second look. That would be a disaster since you most likely spent hours writing an amazing resume.
As you begin your online job search here are 5 techniques to avoid:
1. Mass Mail Your Resume
Email can be a great communication tool. However, mass mailing your resume—especially when it’s unsolicited—can be a huge waste of time and energy (and money, if you’ve paid for a service). In some cases, the company may not even be hiring for position. In other cases, a mass email of your resume indicates that you haven’t put thought into what you can offer the company. Rather than blast a bunch of people with a generic resume, put some thought into where you are applying, and what the employer is looking for.
2. Stick to the Major Job Sites
Sure, the big guys of job search can provide hundreds — or thousands — of eligible job openings. But it can be difficult to go through all of those jobs, and you will be among thousands of applicants. In addition to visiting the big sites, take some time to look at niche job boards for specific careers and industries. You can also look on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and tap your social network. Here are some tips for using LinkedIn properly.
Finally, don’t assume that all job openings are even listed online. There is a hidden job market that relies upon word of mouth and recruiters to help fill job openings.
3. Use the Apply Online Option
Technology has made it simple to apply for a position online. Many job sites have the “apply online” option. Just click a button and get started! Unfortunately, that is a good way to get lost in the crowd. All of those applications go to the same place, and it’s hard for an employer to distinguish between applicants. Instead, check the listing to see if there is an email address for a specific person doing the hiring. Email your tailored cover letter and resume directly to that person, rather than using the provided form.
4. Neglect Your Social Media Profile
Your social media presence online is increasingly becoming an object of interest to potential employers. Pay attention to your privacy settings, and pay attention to images, status updates and other postings. Realize that Twitter and Tumblr, and even your blog or comments you make on other blogs, might be included in an online social media background. There’s even a company that provides a social media background check to employers. If you look like a problem, you won’t be hired.
5. Limit Yourself to Your Last Job Description
The great thing about technology is that there are new careers available, and many opportunities and job descriptions that didn’t exist years ago. Instead of limiting yourself to your last job description or your current career field, take some time to think about how your skills might translate to another career. Many high-paying jobs don’t even require a college degree. This can help you broaden your search, and perhaps find a better fit in a new and exciting industry.
Check out what these bloggers have to say on job searching while employed:
- Brazen Careerist: How to job hunt from your current job
- Free Money Finance: How to Hunt for a Job Without Letting Your Current Employer Know You’re Doing So
- Free Money Finance: How to Interview for a Job Without Raising Suspicions