9 Ways to Keep Up Your Job Search While Still Working

October 21st, 2013 | Articles, Interviewing, Job Search | No Comments »

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Don’t wait until you’re under the gun and unemployed to search for a new job. If you find that your knowledge, your skills, or the mobility of your career are stuck in a rut, you need to get up and move. Now, that doesn’t mean quit on the spot. Continue to work hard in your current position but begin to lay down the tracks for a smooth transition into a new job.

1.) Keep Your Search Separate From Work. First and foremost, don’t use company time or resources to pursue a new job. It may seem obvious but countless people get caught in this trap, especially as the BYOD work model becomes more popular. Mentioning your search to coworkers, even those you trust, is another bad idea.

2.) Update Your Networking Profiles. Professional sites like LinkedIn are a great way to advance your job search without drawing too much attention to your search activities. Update your job responsibilities. Post links to publications where you’ve been featured. Enumerate the courses and certifications you’ve completed. Best of all, you can even hide profile update activity from your coworkers or other work connections.

3.) Partner with a Recruiter. Working a 9 to 5 schedule five days a week (or more during crunch time) can really throw a wrench in your job search capabilities. A professional recruiter doesn’t have those same constraints. They are engaged in the job search for a living and can dedicate their full attention to making and building the connections that can land you a fresh job.

4.) Network at Industry Conferences or Seminars. Networking can be as important as sending out applications and there’s no better time than when hundreds of your peers are milling about in the same physical space. For extroverts, this will be a walk in the park. For introverts, this might require you to momentarily break from your wallflower habits. Either way, you should come ready with stacks of business cards.

5.) Pursue Online Certifications. Just because your work responsibilities aren’t stimulating your brain doesn’t mean you should let your intellect just dry up. There are countless online courses, many of them free, that can help acclimate you to new technology or get you certified in the latest techniques. If you’re in IT, CodeAcademy, LearnStreet, w3schools, and others can help anyone from the rookie to the seasoned coder level to shake off the rust and dive into new areas of expertise.

6.) Don’t Apply Everywhere. With work, family, and social responsibilities on your plate, you can’t afford to aimlessly swing at every job that floats your way. Eliminate positions where most of the major skills are foreign to you. It’s fine if a few peripheral skills required by the position are new (it’ll provide you some growth when you get on the job) but if everything is a mystery, don’t waste your time. On the flip side, don’t pursue any position which will have you bored to tears in two months flat. Find a balance that keeps you engaged without capsizing you in waters way outside of your depth.

7.) Be Flexible with Interview Schedules. To get your career moving in the right direction, you’ll need to adapt. Schedule interviews before or after work. Conserve and use a vacation day if you have to do it. Don’t zip off for an interview during your lunch hour in jeans & a polo only to return late in a three piece suit. Sirens will be going off in your manager’s head. No doubt about that.

8.) Treat Applying Like Your Second Job. You’ve heard it a hundred times or more but you have to make sacrifices to land that new job. The application process should be a high priority. Don’t let it suffer because you feel the need to “quickly” complete that one big chore or watch a little TV during dinner. Procrastination will quickly take the wheel if you let it.

9.) Take the Occasional Break. Burning the candle at both ends, with a full time job and a full time job search, can easily sap the energy you’d use for both. Take a break from time to time. Do something you love: read a book, play an online strategy game, go for a run, or do anything that keeps your mind active. That way, you’ll be renewed and empowered to put in the effort needed to secure an interview and eventually grab a new job.

by James Walsh

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