How to Juggle Working Your Current Job and Searching for a New One
Trying to find a new job while still employed can seem like a veritable feat. In addition to looking for a new job, you still have to put in your best effort in your current position without giving any hints that you may quit soon.
Most employers prefer candidates who are currently working because that suggests constantly honing and enhancing relevant skills, but you can’t go around telling your co-workers or your boss that you may leave the company. That will undermine your position, and you don’t want to ruin your prospects before you’ve secured a new job.
Instead, you have to be smart in how you go about the job search. Since it could be time-consuming, consider hiring a resume expert to share the burden. Whether the process takes a couple of weeks or a few months, here are some key things to remember when juggling your current job and looking for a new one.
Keep your search a secret
Amid all the excitement of potentially transitioning to a new job, you may be tempted to tell your most trusted co-worker, but this might not be the best idea. No matter how much you trust people, they may still blab to your employer about your potential job switch, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. Here are some ways to keep your search a secret.
1. Don’t broadcast your resume
As you begin your job search, you may want to post your resume on job boards to get the attention of recruiters, but this may also attract the attention of your boss. The last thing you want is to get a call from your employer asking why your resume is plastered on a job board; in the worst-case scenario, you may be speedily relieved of your current job. Don’t send out your resume en masse—be a little more discreet.
2. Don’t project a negative attitude toward your current job
It can be easy to start bashing your current job as your excitement builds up. Over time, your frustrations may start to leak out, but all this does is put your current job at risk. The number one place where people tend to badmouth their job is social media, and it’s best to watch your step there. Don’t even reference your job on social media, let alone vent about it. Even if your posts are set to private, information has a way of getting around. Dropping hints like that may very well prompt your employer to kick you out.
In fact, it’s best to refrain from speaking ill of your job even after you’ve landed a new one. Maintaining a professional relationship with your former colleagues and boss could help open up more opportunities for you in the future.
3. Don’t list a current colleague or employer as a reference
In general, the references you include in your resume should be aware that you’ve listed them—that way, they won’t be caught off-guard by a phone call, and you can be reasonably sure they’ll speak well of you. This is all the more important when the prospective references are working with you and don’t know you’re searching for a new position.
Don’t offer your current employer or a current co-worker as a reference unless they already know about and approve of your job search. In fact, you don’t even need to mention your references on your resume. Just wait until the hiring manager asks for them, but in the meantime, think about someone outside your current job that you could list as a reference.
Work after hours
If you want to find a job while still being employed full time, you’ll need to conduct your search after hours. At the end of the day, when all you want to do is kick up your heels and relax, you’ll have to work on finding a new job. How can you make this happen after a tiring shift?
1. Allocate a specific time to search
One of the best things you can do is carve out a specific time every day to focus on your job search. For example, say you get off at 5:00 p.m. Your schedule could look something like this:
- 5:00 p.m. – get off work
- 6:00 p.m. – eat dinner
- 7:00–8:30 p.m. – look for jobs
- 8:30–9:00 p.m. – update professional profile
- 9:00–10:00 p.m. – relax
Does that mean your workday will stretch from eight to ten hours? Yes, but if you don’t set aside the time to look for a job, it will be all too easy to keep pushing it back. Besides, once you establish a habit, it won’t feel hard anymore.
2. Update your professional profile
One major but commonly overlooked aspect of the job search is the professional profile update. Many recruiters will search for you on social media to see who you really are. One social media platform considered a must-have is LinkedIn.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, create one. Pack your profile with useful information and upload a professional-looking profile picture, then start making connections with other professionals. Make sure to offer them something in return—one-sided relationships won’t help much! This will greatly benefit you as you continue your job search. The more connections you have, the more opportunities will open up for you.
Another thing you need to keep updated is your resume. Your skill set should constantly be developing, and your resume needs to reflect these developments. You always want to submit an up-to-date resume that accurately presents your qualifications—if you’re not putting your best foot forward, don’t expect to get the job. That’s not all—in addition to showcasing your most up-to-date competencies, your resume should also be tailored to each different job you apply for. Unfortunately, this can be time-consuming, but you can always hire a resume expert to do it for you.
3. Schedule interviews outside regular hours
You can’t always control this part, but try to schedule interviews outside the 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. time frame. If the hiring manager knows that you are currently employed, they will likely accommodate you, so make it clear that you have a job at present. Remember: You don’t want to reveal to your current boss that you are applying for other jobs, so if you keep having “appointments,” he or she may begin to suspect that something more is going on. Make time after work to do interviews.
The temptation to just throw in the towel at your current job can be overwhelming, but if you want to stay employed until you get offered a new job, you need to remain consistent across the board. What does this look like?
1. Keep putting in the effort
Don’t neglect your duties at your current job. If your boss sees that you no longer care, this is an immediate red flag that you’re planning to leave or are at least thinking about leaving. Keep putting in the effort. You shouldn’t part company with your current job on bad terms. Maintain positive relationships with your boss and colleagues for they could serve as valuable references in the future. Just work as you normally do, and don’t get lazy.
2. Don’t get your hopes up
If you’re getting really close to landing a new job, you may begin to “wrap things up” at your current job, only to find that the new one falls through. Avoid getting too excited until you have actually secured the new job. Until then, don’t do or say anything at your current place of work. Getting your hopes up too early may end in unemployment.
3. Depart on good terms
When you do get a new job, be sure to leave your current one on good terms. Don’t post about your new position on social media and let your current employer find out that way.
Instead, when you get word that you’ve been hired, schedule a meeting with your employer to inform them respectfully of your decision to leave. Also, be professional and hand in your two weeks’ notice. This gives your employer time to find a replacement and train someone for your position. Even though this doesn’t directly benefit you, such a selfless act helps your employer and makes them much more likely to vouch for you in the future. Stay consistent as an employee, both at your current and your new job.
Finding a new job while still working is truly a juggling act that can get a little chaotic at times. Instead of letting the pressure force you to cave in, keep your job search a secret from your current boss and co-workers, conduct it after hours, and remain consistent at your current job. Juggling these three important aspects will help you manage the job transition. Need assistance? Hire a career coach to help you balance it all!