How to Look for Work When You're Working

Publication date: 
Monday, May 2, 2011
Question: 

I've been doing the "same old, same old" for too long in my job and I don't see any chance to grow. I want to quit but I can't because my husband is out of work. Do you have any advice on how I can look for work when I'm still working?

Answer: 

Lots of people look for work while they're still looking; in fact, some companies would see the fact that you're already employed as a bonus.

You may want to start your job search slowly, laying the ground work before shooting out resumés. The first thing to do is to get clear about what type of work and what type of company you would like to work for. Because you can only look for work part-time be especially selective about the companies you apply to and avoid wasting time on long shots. The Does Your Boss Know You're Job Hunting? article suggests coming up with a list of companies where you might like to work and signing up for free Google alerts so you're notified when jobs for those organizations are posted. Job Hunting When You Have a Job advises: "develop a plan, keep detailed records, and set up a specific 'job search area' in your home."

Make sure your resumé is up-to-date and schedule some time to do networking. If you haven't already joined an industry-related association now is the time to do it. You can also join online associations through LinkedIn. (You are on LinkedIn, aren't you?)

Although you should "put yourself out there" on social media sites -- for example, by letting people know when you’ve posted a new entry on your blog (if you have one) -- don't advertise that you are job hunting. As well, the Promoting Your Job Search When You're Employed article advises readers to adjust their LinkedIn account settings so that connections won't be notified each time they update their status or make changes to their profile. It also says to make sure you don't allow your LinkedIn connections to see the logos of job seeker groups that you belong to. In addition, as the Does Your Boss Know You're Job Hunting? article suggests, when editing your profile make sure that your opportunity preferences (scroll down) do not include "career opportunities" or "job inquiries."

Use discretion at your workplace; in other words, don't tell colleagues that you are on the hunt and avoid taking employment-related calls at work. (When I was in my twenties, disgruntled and dissatisfied with my first job, feeling pretty smug with my indispensability, I let everyone there know that I was looking for other work. In fact, I went so far as to photocopy my resumé under my boss's nose. I didn't end up getting fired and I did find another job, but the point is my lack of discretion sure didn't win me friends or influence people. So, don't do what I did.)

If you get to the interview stage you'll have to exercise some creativity in scheduling. Unless your workplace lets employees have flexible schedules I wouldn't attending a job interview during regular work hours. See if you can get interviews before or after work or during lunch hours. Vacation days are precious but you might have to sacrifice a few for the sake of the job hunt.

When it comes to references, you could always find out if a former manager at your company could be used for that purpose. If there is no one in that category see if someone from a previous job can be used as a reference. In any event, make sure to ask potential employers not to contact your boss unless they are about to make you a job offer.

Best of luck with your job search.

Katherine

About
Poss.ca is a free online magazine to help Toronto job seekers find work. An initiative of Findhelp Information Services, poss.ca is an Employment Ontario project funded in part by the Government of Canada.

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