Now that you have your executive MBA and have had some time to recover from the grind of grad school while maintaining your professional position, are you ready to use your degree to grow your career? It’s commonly understood that candidates who are currently employed are more relaxed during interviews and make a better impression overall than those who are out of work and have a whiff of desperation as their interview cologne. But how do you manage the balancing act of finding a new job while still employed? Take it one step at a time, and tread carefully.
The advantages of a finding a job while you’re still employed are that you can take your time, you’re not desperate, and you have real-time projects, experiences, and responsibilities to give as examples in interviews. It gives you confidence. The ethics, keeping your search quiet, and maintaining your efforts at your current job can get a little stressful.
Let’s be clear, it’s never acceptable to use your current employer’s time, resources, or equipment to search for your next position. Don’t use your work email or your work phone on your resume, don’t search on company time, and certainly don’t interview on company time. No organization will want to hire someone who essentially steals from their employer, and your current employer is likely to find out and put your job hunt into high gear by firing you. You can lose your best references, too. Just don’t.
Tips for Finding a New Job While Still Employed Click To TweetDo conduct your search on your own time, with your own resources, and ramp up your networking to make connections that help you find your next dream job.
- Start by looking close to “home” and see if there are positions opening up in your current organization. A move within your current company can be upwards or lateral, as long as you make an overall career gain. Gently sounding out a few key people can tell you if there’s room for upward or lateral mobility from where you are now. Cloaking the question as a performance review question can often tell you how possible an internal job move might be for you. This is a way to search for a new job without having to lose seniority for benefits and perks you have earned.
- Ramp up your networking efforts, but be discreet. Let people know you’re looking quietly and discreetly. It’s worth suggesting that you’re assisting a colleague, in order to delay the grapevine from picking up the news. Trust your recruiter with the whole picture. A good recruiter will keep it quiet, it’s in their best interest too, but be careful. Your other contacts need to understand your desire for searching quietly. Leave your current colleagues out of the loop.
- Prepare your social media before your search. Suddenly showing interest and updating your LinkedIn account after months of disuse can trigger curiosity or even suspicion. Career management on your part should have you making regular updates to social media, but if you have gotten behind, turn off your notifications so that your frequent updates and efforts aren’t broadcasted to all your colleagues and superiors.
- Take care with your resume. Give it to recruiters who know you’re looking on the down low, and to a few trusted contacts who also know to be cautious about distribution. Offer references upon request, and a professional resume writer can give you great pointers on how to request discretion within the resume itself, as well.
- Stay positive. When asked about your current employer, describe them in glowing terms. Stick to the message that there’s no room for growth currently, and that you’re forced to look elsewhere. If you started at number one on the list, you’re being honest AND diplomatic!
- Be prepared. It’s important to prepare thoroughly before any job search and to have your network, social media, and elevator pitch prepared