How to manage your job hunt – if you’re still employed

Looking for a job is an incredibly challenging task for any individual. Filling out applications takes a large amount of time, as does writing cover letters and attending job interviews. Even if searching for finance careers is your ‘full-time job,’ you’ll likely struggle to find the time needed to approach each individual application with the utmost care.

So when you’re searching for a new career while simultaneously working a full-time job, you can be sure that your schedule will be booked up minute-by-minute. Finding the time to write and rewrite cover letters, attend job interviews and study up on the current market while also working 40 or more hours per week can be more than a challenge – it can be almost impossible.

However, many workers do so anyway. A recent survey conducted by Accountemps found that more than 70 percent of all workers don’t have a problem with the idea of procuring future employment before leaving their current firm. That may be because they want to take on a new, higher paying position – transitioning from accounting jobs to private equity jobs, for example – or it may be simply because they want to work for a new firm.

Searching for a new job while working a full-time position simultaneously can cause a number of problems. You don’t want everyone in your office knowing that you’re on the way out months ahead of time – but you also don’t want to maintain such a level of loyalty to your current employer that you miss out on attractive career opportunities. Here are some tips to keep in mind as a result of that problem – they may help you to move from one job to the next without a struggle.

1. Keep your job search and your current employment entirely separate
It’s not immoral to search for new jobs while you maintain employment – but many would consider searching for new employment opportunities from your current office to be just that. Your current employer has every right to keep tabs on what you look at on your computer, for example, so be sure not to telegraph that you’re looking through job openings on company time.

However, Accountemps noted that many people do exactly that: 48 percent of 18- to 34-year-old respondents to the firm’s survey noted that they are likely to conduct additional job-search activities even while working at their current place of employment. Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, suggests that such a strategy should not be employed.

“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, so professionals should first consider how they might improve their current situation before looking for a new job,” said Messmer. “When it is time to move on, conducting the job hunt using company resources is not only unethical, it places the employee at a high risk of being caught in the act.”

No matter how stretched for time you find yourself, it never pays off to ignore your current responsibilities so that you can instead search for new employment. Such a tactic is perhaps more likely to result in you losing your current job than it is with you finding a new place of employment.

2. Be upfront with the organizations you’re applying to
While you shouldn’t telegraph that you’re searching for new jobs while working your current career in finance, you also shouldn’t hide your current employment from the companies and managers you’re currently sending applications to. Honesty is the best policy in this case – you don’t want a potential new employer to pass you up because they discovered second-hand that you’re currently employed elsewhere.

This is also important for a much more practical reason: scheduling interviews. You won’t be able to interview with potential new employers during work hours if you’re already employed, so you’ll need to explain your situation to them so that there scheduling decisions can be accommodating for you.

3. Select your references carefully
It’s also important – for reasons relating to both of the aforementioned tips – that you select your references very carefully when applying for new positions despite current employment. You’d likely do best to select no one involved with your current occupation. Instead, look to managers and perhaps even mentors from the past to list as your references instead.

Additionally, this is another reason that you should be upfront with the businesses and organizations you’re currently applying to in regards to your current employment. A hiring manager may find out through other means where you currently work, and unless you specifically ask them not to, they may choose to contact your current superior or manager – unprompted – to ask about your skills and performance.

4. Don’t slack! 
Finally, even if you’re searching for new employment, you should still be putting in as much effort as possible at your current job on a day-to-day basis. Leaving a bad impression is never a smart decision – and could come back to damage you in the future.


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