I am currently working full-time as a social worker at a local community agency. Often, I work overtime hours and am on-call 24/7. I love my work and the clients, but there is no room for any promotion, professional or career growth at this agency. I have been a dedicated and successful employee for over eight years. During these years, I have acquired several certifications, degrees, have learned countless skills and gained relevant experience on my resume.
I am ready for a new job, and the next step in my career path. How do I look for work when I am working full-time?
Job Searching and Working (JSW)
I congratulate you on your desire to continually learn and grow in your career. You sound like a talented and competent professional who deserves to be promoted, recognized and presented with better opportunities in the labour market.
There is a consensus amongst the experts in the field that it’s better to look for work while you are working , as candidates currently employed tend to be more attractive to hiring manager. Andrew Klappholz adds that “being gainfully employed automatically takes a lot of the pressure off and frees you from the desperation that makes many unemployed people take jobs they don’t want.”
It is definitely difficult to balance your current job responsibilities and tasks with the time commitment of looking for another job, so it might take you longer to find the dream job. So, while you are working, I recommend the following tips, as presented by writers quoted above:
1. Think through whether you want to be transparent with your own boss.
Usually, it is a good idea to keep your job search quiet and do not share this with anyone at work. Some firms have a policy to fire people who are actively searching for work. You’re your job hunt on a need-to-know basis, warns Hein. However if you trust your manager and he/she is supportive of your learning and growth, you might want to share your frustration at work and see if there are growth opportunities within your organization. Can you transfer to another department? Can you apply for a senior position. If the answer is not, then it is time to start looking in the labour market for your dream job. I will leave it up to your discretion if it is best for you to be straightforward with your boss.
2. Access more information for your job search.
As an engaged member of the workforce, you’re likely to have access to lot more information in your field that could benefit you than if you were unemployed. “Keep your eyes and ears open for things and make mental notes,” one expert, Tammy Gooler Loeb, suggests, “You may have the opportunity to get more information about what’s going on that may feed your job search.”
3. Creative Networking.
Use your time off, lunch hours, after work hours, weekends and during personal and vacation days if need be, continues Loeb, to meet people in your network. Invite professionals in your field for a drink or a cup of coffee, after work. Request information interviews and connect with as many people as possible ,who you think could help you with your job search without betraying your current employer. Make sure that you explain to individuals who receive your resume that you are currently employed and that your search is confidential.
4. Don’t job search on company time.
When you are at your current job, you should stay focused and productive. In fact, I recommend you over perform, exceed the manager’s expectations, never say no, and accept new projects and responsibilities. Don’t hurt your productivity. In your cover letter or resume applications, you can list specific times to reach you, especially for the recruiters. Do not use company email address or phone numbers when on the job hunt. Use your personal email and telephone contact details on LinkedIn, Twitter and throughout the entire process.
5. Never say anything negative about your current employer.
It is definitely tempting to spill your guts, but hold on to yourself for now. Bad-mouthing your company or boss is not going to get you a job. Remain positive and focus on your skills, experience and expertise relevant to the position. Market yourself as someone who has gone as far as you can go in the company, and that you are looking for a more senior position that is not available in your place of employment.
Don’t use your current boss as a reference. Receiving a reference check call could put your supervisor in a compromising position. You should only use someone from your current workplace if you trust that they will keep your job search confidential.
7. Don’t rush!
Take your time to explore all your options and opportunities in the labour market. Make sure that you have done all your homework, and put yourself in the best position to secure the job that you want before leaving. If you have a an opportunity to job shadow or try out a new possible job, then consider taking a couple of vacation days to do this. You want to ensure that if you do decide to leave your current employment that you are making an informed decision.
I wish you lots of success and courage to move to the next step in your career.