Any experienced sailor will tell you to never step off the boat until you can see the dock. The same applies to looking for a new job - it is always smarter to look for a new position while you still have your old one.
The average worker today changes jobs six to eight times during his or her career. The reasons are almost as numerous as the people who make the job changes - more money, bigger challenges, more satisfying work, more favorable location, better benefits, opportunity for advancement - the list is endless.
Having the safety and security of a paying job behind you will make you a better, more productive job seeker. Since you are not desperate to take the first job to come along, you will be able to choose more selectively and negotiate from a stronger position.
The hard part is finding the time to conduct a job search while still working full time. Can you squeeze out time for interviews over your lunch hour? Is it OK to use company computers and phones to contact potential employers? What about out-of-town interviews?
A simple way to conduct a job search while continuing to work full time is by using a placement agency like PQNDT. The placement professionals can do most of the legwork and research for you, and present you with several options from which to choose. Still, there will come a time when you will have to "step out" for interviews and contact with potential new employers.
The web site techrepublic.com recommends using the following strategies when looking for a new job while still working at the old one:
Try to schedule interviews for lunch hours, early mornings or evenings. If your job search takes you out of town for interviews, try to schedule them for weekends. Failing that, you may need to use personal days or vacation time to accommodate the interview request. Explain to your potential employer that you do not want to take advantage of your current employer. They will probably appreciate your ethics.
- Use lunch time and breaks.
- Send e-mails from a personal account.
- Take a trip to Kinko's rather than use the company copier.
- Establish a habit of taking time off midweek for personal errands.
- Do not tell your boss why you need personal time off even when it is not for job hunting. This could put you in a position of having to lie when you do take time off for job-search-related reasons.
Don't discuss your job search with your fellow employees, even those you consider close friends. Their loyalty may be tested if your employer questions them about your activities, and there is no way to judge which way they will react.
If your boss or fellow employees find out about your job search, have an explanation prepared in advance. Don't lie about it. Explain that you enjoy your current job, but thought is was wise to keep all of your options open. You may even use the situation to discuss any problems about your current job.
Avoid playing the game of offer/counter-offer. Even if your boss offers to match a higher wage offer to keep you on the team, remember why you are looking in the first place. Keep in mind that, if you do stay, your employer will remember you as being somewhat disloyal for looking to leave in the first place.
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