How to Find a Job – Tips for a Successful Job Search

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Looking for a jobI'm officially looking for a job!
A couple of 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 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…

A couple of 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 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’ve expressed my situation to them numerous times.

Unfortunately, there just isn’t anything within the company right now that will both meet my professional needs and align 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’m 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 the opportunity, the money will follow.

My plan for my job search. Obviously, I can’t go to my management and tell them I’m 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 tips I’ve 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, though, there just isn’t anything available, or you need to get away from your company for other reasons.

I’ve clearly communicated my professional goals with my management team and exhausted all opportunities within my current role. I’ve 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’re looking for a new job.

You might just be the first person out the door if your management thinks you’re leaving anyway. It just isn’t worth the risk.

However, if you’re suddenly laid off, there are strategic financial moves you can make to help supplement the temporary income loss. In this case, you could also research how and when you should file for unemployment benefits.

Be Discreet

Don’t talk about your job search with the receptionist, leave your resume at the office printer, or openly browse online 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 the personal use of computers, telephones, printers, fax machines, or other resources.

The last thing you want 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.

If you’re resigning from your job in the near future, you’ll also want to consider rolling your previous 401(k) assets into an IRA, among other options.

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 going 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.

When you reach the end of your interview, remember verbal job offers are never set in stone. When it comes to job offers, make sure you get it in writing.

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 a 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 jobyou 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. Just remember that sometimes any job is better than no job.

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 a 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 job search engines 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, 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.

Even if you’ve already resigned from the working world, there are plenty of retirement jobs that can keep you busy while supplementing your current savings.

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. You may even consider joining the air national guard or another military branch.

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.

No matter what, make sure you learn how to evaluate a job offer before signing any paperwork, and take the necessary steps to prepare for sudden unemployment.

Check out what these bloggers have to say on job searching while employed:



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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. krantcents says

    This is a situation where the business model changed! If you do not adapt, you lose big time. With minimum wage jobs getting hundreds of applicants, you need to distinguish yourself. The best way is to not use the old methods because you will be one of hundreds if not thousads applying.

  2. Chris says

    Regarding the job sites. I find that my alma mater has a useful site that is fairly specific to my location and skills. Also, I would recommend that anyone using niche sites or even craigslist be wary of anyone asking for credit reports or “background” checks that they pay for themselves. I’ve had friends who have paid these fees only to find out they were only distrustful marketers collecting the affiliate fees from the credit report providers.

  3. john says

    particularly point number 5. A friend of mine was a well paid accountant who quit to become an electrician and has never been happier. Before I was a financial adviser, I was an actor!

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