Looking for a Job While Still Employed

by Ron Haynes

If you have a job in this economy be glad. You’re obviously in better shape than the millions of people unemployed. But if you’re unhappy, unchallenged or unfulfilled in your current position, you may be looking elsewhere. It’s quite common actually! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people who quit their jobs from August 2010 through December 2011 was actually larger than the number of people who lost their jobs through layoffs or firing.

But if you are looking for a new job while employed elsewhere, especially in our economy with its enduring joblessness, it’s wise to handle your job search discreetly and to make careful, calculated, deliberate decisions about where to look and what to accept. With millions of would-be employees out of work, no job search – or job acceptance – should be taken lightly. When you’re already employed, here are four considerations for a wise job search.

It’s easy to decide to leave if your department gets downsized or your company’s core business becomes outdated. Otherwise, pay attention to what the work experience is like for you. Consider leaving any if the following circumstances are true.

You’re no longer growing professionally.

Stop wasting your time and start seeking new ways to grow if you find you’re no longer being challenged.

You lose your best advocate.

Layoffs, transfers and retirements can change the landscape of who’s in your corner. If you suddenly lose your best advocate for success– a manager or peer role model – it’s time to consider a change.

You’re constantly angry.

It’s unhealthy and will not only damage your career but your body and mind. When you start to feel angry at the little things as well as the big things, start looking.

Your values don’t match the company’s.

Human beings change and grow but organizations often do not. If you start to value ideas and actions that are in conflict with your workplace, you won’t be content. Or if you discover that the company has been engaging in activities that concern you, start getting your resume together.

The Inner View of Your Interview gives you the inside scoop on how your interviewer is thinking!

Should I tell my boss I’m looking for another position?

No. In most cases, it’s not a good idea to let your boss know you’re looking for another job. And because they will tell others, that means it’s usually better not to tell anyone at work. Unless your boss is a very close friend or family member, your boss should not know about your job search.

Be careful who you tell anything. You never know if that person will turn around and “rat” you out, hoping to get brownie points.

Some experts say the decision to tell your boss depends on the relationship you have with him or her. Never lie, but feel free to omit the specifics. You don’t have to tell everything you know.

When asked whether you are interviewing, respond with statements like, “I’m always keeping an eye out for opportunities that might be a good fit.” Or, “after what happened when the economy crashed, I have been making a better effort at staying connected with other professionals.”.

Finding time to search, follow up on job leads and go on interviews can be tricky when you’re working full time. Many aspects of job searching can be done at home, off hours or on a lunch break.

Remember: your potential employer knows that you already are employed. That may be one reason the company is pursuing you. You don’t want to find yourself on the outside looking in because you couldn’t keep quiet.

Interviewing within Your Current Company

Leaving your current job doesn’t have to mean leaving your current company. Don’t overlook securing a position in your firm that may be a better fit for you. The best career seekers look first within their organizations, often even creating new opportunities that didn’t exist before.

To look for a position within your company or to create a new one, it may be necessary to share your interest with others at work, but not necessarily your current supervisor. Consider talking with someone in the human resources department or with supervisors of other departments.

In some companies, when you apply for a different position within the company, it IS a good idea to let your current boss know and to ask for his or her support. When you’re staying within the same company, you may need your former boss’s help in the future.

Handling Interviews

If you must be in your office during the workday, you should feel comfortable asking interviewers or networking contacts to meet you after hours or even on weekends. “The fact that you want to continue to treat your current employer with respect and fairness is a good sign to the future employer.

Don’t rely on your work phone number and email address for job searches. Have a private, professional-looking email address for any career correspondence. If you are scheduling calls during work hours, make them from your personal mobile phone, even if you have a direct office number and a door that closes.

What tips do you have for those looking for a position while still employed?

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1003 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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Derek @ MoneyAhoy.com

A corollary to this is to ALWAYS keep your resume up to date. You never know when you’ll need to whip it out to apply for something.


Agreed. Mine is out there as we speak! Gotta find something that will pay well but allow me to spend more time with family.

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