By Christina Stokes
If you’re already working full time, looking for a new job might feel like you’re taking on another full-time job.
As it is, job-hunting can seem overwhelming. But, seeing as most people do not have an endless cash flow to quit their current job in order to search, here are some tips to keep in mind, and implement, when it comes to navigating interviews while you’re working full time.
1. Be strategic with your time.
Job-hunting while on company time (and using any company devices to do so) isn’t advisable. While applying for a position earlier in the day is typically a best practice, it would make more sense — in an employed job seeker’s case — to use some time in the evenings after work, at home, conducting their search. In general, setting designated job search times is the best bet, and you can really maximize the time in an orderly way.
Stay focused on your current job, and continue to be a top performer. Your colleagues will remain part of your network after you depart, and you want to leave them all with positive impressions of you. Slacking off when you’re nearing the end of your tenure is sure to sour some memories.
Schedule any interviews, either by phone or in person, for outside of your work hours. If that isn’t possible, aim for the early morning or later in the day. You don’t want to disrupt your performance in your current position. You don’t need to come up with elaborate excuses or even give specific reasons. Simply saying that you have a personal errand to handle is often good enough.
2. Be private, but also be honest.
When employed, keep your search to yourself. Ask any prospective employers (or any recruiter that you’ve partnered with, for that matter) to be discreet. Don’t tell your colleagues that you’re looking for another job. This could negatively impact your current position and relationships that you value. You can’t control gossip and the rumor mill, so it’s best to avoid it.
On LinkedIn, turn off notifications that broadcast to your entire network when you update your profile, but make sure that your skills, experiences and qualifications are up to date. Any dramatic change on your LinkedIn profile and social media presence can be an indicator that you’re looking. I wouldn’t recommend posting your résumé on any job boards either.
If your employer learns that you have been taking interviews and approaches you about it, remember that this is not always a bad thing. It might open the door for you to discuss any concerns about your role and even provide an opportunity to explore a salary increase.
3. Remember that you’re in demand.
Recruiters and hiring managers often prefer to consider candidates who are successful and employed. People who are currently working have up-to-date skills and experiences, and that is certainly in high demand, so they will be as flexible with you as they are able to be.
Communicate with the recruiter or hiring manager about any dress code at your current job that might not be interview formal. Most organizations will understand that you’re not trying to raise any red flags and will be more accommodating to your situation. If this is a real problem for them, then you’ll have to arrange to interview on a day off.
Finally, don’t bad-mouth your current employer. As much as a company may be interested in you, this is one area where you should take the high road, be classy and try not to burn any professional bridges. When it comes to references, you can use a former supervisor who has recently left the company if you maintain a positive relationship with them. Otherwise, go for former supervisors from a past place of employment instead.
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