The 13 Dos And Don’ts Of Job Searching While You’re Still Employed

Jacquelyn Smith

Ready for a new job? Most career experts would tell you to start looking while you’re still employed. But when you do—you must tread carefully.

“When you’re working, your professional network is working for you because you’re constantly interacting with your industry contacts,” says Andy Teach, a corporate veteran and author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time. “They can inform you about jobs you may not be aware of. If you’re not working, you’re out of sight and out of mind.”

Sara Menke, the founder and chief executive of Premier, a boutique staffing firm in San Francisco, says having a job while looking for a job makes you that much more attractive to a potential employer. “Companies want to hire the best of the best and [those people] are usually employed,” she says. “Plus, quitting your job before having a job is a big risk that you should avoid. Most people do not have endless streams of income, so you should stay in your position until you get that firm offer for new employment.”

Teach agrees. He says most potential employers prefer candidates who currently have a job because it gives them more confidence that you’ll be a good hire. “If you don’t currently have a job, it raises a lot of questions and puts you in a defensive position, and you won’t be coming at them from a position of strength,” he says.

Furthermore, when you look for a job while you still have a job, there tends to be less pressure on you, he adds. “If you don’t get the new job, you have your current job to fall back on and you can just try again. Having a job gives you confidence because you’re not in a desperate situation. You may need a new job, you may want a new job, but you don’t have to have a new job, unlike someone who is out of work.”

Another reason to start looking while you’re still employed: Having a job while searching for new employment gives you leverage when it comes to negotiating terms for the new gig, Teach says. “You’re in a greater position to make demands and get what you want. Without a job, this leverage goes out the window.”

While the experts highly advise against quitting or waiting until you’re fired to start your job search—there are risks associated with job hunting while you’re still employed.

Perhaps the biggest danger of looking for a new job while you have one is that someone at your company will find out and tell others, Teach says. If your boss finds out, he or she may take it personally and see it as a lack of loyalty to them and the company. “They will assume that you’re unhappy and worst case scenario, may start taking steps to terminate you. Supervisors want employees who are committed to the job, not to a job search.”

Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, author and president of Humor at Work, agrees. He says the biggest danger is the optics and the fear of a backlash from your employer, who may view your job search as being “almost treasonous.” Depending on the maturity level of your immediate supervisor, “they may seek ways to punish your efforts, such as freezing you out of discussions and opportunities. And obviously, if the new job you are seeking is with a major competitor, then certainly ethical issues will arise and even legal issues around conflict of interest.  Depending on the job and environment, you may even be perceived as a security threat,” he says.

Another danger is that if you start to focus too much on getting a new job, you may not be giving your full attention to your current employer, says Teri Hockett, the chief executive of What’s For Work?, a career site for women. “You’ll not only be impacting your company, but your own professional credibility. You may no longer be considered for prime assignments and projects, and this can hurt you in a multitude of ways from your confidence level to your networking capabilities when you need them at an all-time high.”

So, to avoid these potential consequences and to ensure a successful job search while you’re still employed, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do:

Don’t tell anyone at work. 
“Do not share your search and impending departure information with the rumor mill,” Hockett says. Depending on your relationship with your boss, you may want to share information about your job search, but letting co-workers know can make it difficult for you to leave on a good note, especially if they are vying for your job.

Teach adds: “There’s an old World War II saying, ‘Loose lips sink ships.’ In your case, loose lips can jeopardize your current and prospective job.” If you tell one person at work that you’re looking for a new job, you might as well tell everyone. The exception to this would be if your boss has told you about upcoming layoffs and has offered to help you in your job search, he says.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete. 
With so many people on LinkedIn, having a complete profile these days won’t raise any suspicions, Teach says. “Perhaps the first place a hiring manager will look when they have a job candidate is at the job candidate’s LinkedIn profile. It’s best to keep it updated all the time so that you don’t have to rush to complete it when you start looking for a new job.” However, don’t indicate that you’re looking for new job opportunities on your profile, in case your current employer monitors your page.

Never bad-mouth your current employer.  
“Even if you are in a bad situation with a tyrannical Vader-like boss, it’s prudent to take the high road, demonstrate some class and ensure that you don’t burn any bridges,” Kerr says. Keep your conversations and your psyche focused on the positive benefits of moving forward, rather than the negative aspect of what you are trying to escape.

Let your prospective employer know that your job search should be kept confidential. Teach suggests that you inform them that you don’t want your current employer to know that you’re looking for a new job and would appreciate it if they told as few people as possible that you are interviewing.

Dos and Don’ts 5-13 and the complete Forbes article

35 Surefire Ways to Stand Out During Your Job Search

When you’re applying for a job, you don’t just want to get noticed: You want to stand out as the best applicant the hiring committee has ever seen. You know you’re the perfect person for the job—and you want them to know that, too.

But how, exactly, do you do that? We pulled together a roundup of our all-time best job search advice, from getting noticed before you apply to acing the interview, plus tips from our favorite career experts—to bring you 35 ways to put yourself ahead of the pack.

Get Noticed (Before You Even Apply!)

1. “The fastest way to an interview is when someone I know makes a referral or recommendation,” says Raj Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Localytics. So, if you have contacts who can refer you to a job or introduce you to a hiring manager, by all means, spend your time and energy there—it will have the greatest payoff! Marie Burns, @marieburns 


2. Recruiters spend countless hours scouring LinkedIn in search of the high performers. Knowing this, you’ll serve yourself well to market yourself as a high performer, through your verbiage (think action words, accomplishments) and by having multiple endorsements. Want some? Start endorsing others—they’re bound to return the favor. Jenny Foss, @jobjenny 

Craft a Winning Resume and Cover Letter

7. Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your resume bullet points. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? By quantifying your accomplishments, you really allow the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you needed to achieve this accomplishment. Amy Michalenko



8. When you’re writing your cover letter, remember that the hiring manager is likely going to be reading a lot of them (and she probably doesn’t really enjoy reading them much more than you like writing them). So, while you want to make the letter professional, you also want to put some of your own personality in it. Crafting an engaging letter with some color will catch people’s eyes and make them think, “Wow, this would be a fun person to work with.” Erin Greenawald, @erinaceously

Make a Killer First Impression

16. The person at the front desk may not be the hiring manager—but that doesn’t mean his or her impression of you doesn’t matter. In fact, some companies specifically ask their front desk attendants to report back on the demeanor of interviewees who come through the door. Katie Douthwaite, @kdouth


17. A Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake. Extreme? Perhaps, but he’s actually not alone in his judgment. Check out these video instructions for the perfect handshake. Olivia Fox Cabone


Ace the Interview

22. Overall, the most impressive candidates are those who genuinely care about the company and job they are interviewing for, have done their research, and are able to sell themselves based on that information. For someone interviewing for my team personally, one particular candidate read all my blogs, followed me on Twitter, and came in fully prepared based on my online advice and killed the interview. Marie Burns, @marieburns



23. Take your portfolio to a job interview, and refer to the items inside while discussing your work experience. Saying “I planned a fundraising event from beginning to end” is one thing—showing the event invitation, program, budget, and volunteer guidelines you put together is completely another. Chrissy Scivicque, @EatYourCareer

See all 35 ways and the complete TheDailyMuse article



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You Have to Be “Recruitable”

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I was working a job fair where I met a recent college graduate. I was recruiting for an auto body company and she sheepishly approached our tabled and said, “I guess I don’t have the skills to work for you.”

Whoa. What?

After I let her know that we weren’t only looking for people to knock dents out, I replied, “Now, let’s talk about your approach.  Don’t you eeeeeeever do that again.”

As a job recruitment consultant, I want to satisfy two parties—the employer and the job seeker. In order to do that, I need “recruitable” candidates—people who make me want to advocate their employment.

As a college student, there are five areas where you can make yourself recruitable:

The Résumé
In most cases, a résumé is the first contact an employer has with a candidate. That’s why it is so important to make sure certain elements stand out. For you, the college student, those elements include:  the GPA, student organizational involvement, work study or off-campus job(s), and references.

Let’s dig in a little more. Let’s say you don’t have a GPA over 2.7. You can make up for that by showing great student organizational involvement and/or great performance on the job, whether it is work study or an off-campus job. Understand that the résumés of students with high GPAs automatically go to the top of the pile. Still, great leadership skills through work outside of the classroom is valued.

In the case of student organizational involvement, you should be able to demonstrate bottom line success. You can show such success through membership increases, fundraising results, volunteer hours, awards, etc. These kinds of quantifiable results, in the workforce, are called productivity. FYI, you don’t need a title to show great leadership skills; but be prepared to prove how you contributed to your group’s success.

Presence
Notice that I described the graduate who approached me at the job fair as “sheepish.” Making a great impression is important. I would have reacted differently had the first words out of her mouth been, “My name is (blank) and I have a degree in (blank). Working at a car repair shop has never crossed my mind but I was wondering if you had anything available in my field.”

It goes without saying that confidence establishes a great presence. Make sure you look clean. Employers always remember students whose clothes are pressed as well as those who smile, speak clearly and loudly, use correct grammar, and show great posture.

Speech

Great speakers are almost always highly recruitable. I encourage you to take public speaking classes at your college or university, because it is a great way to strengthen your interpersonal communication skills. This is especially important for the job fair environment where projection and articulation are sorely needed. As a public speaking coach, I focus heavily on these two specific elements, because it is difficult to make an impression when people can’t hear or understand what you say in a crowded room.




Live H.O.P.E. Give H.O.P.E.
Eddie Francis
Guest Contributor
About Eddie Francis

Eddie Francis is a job recruitment consultant and the author/presenter of “The Black Greek Success Program.” He has also worked in mass media and higher education. Eddie’s past blogs on the H.O.P.E. Scholarship Blog include “The 10 Freshman Commandments” and “The Secret of Gumbo”. You can learn more about him at EddieFrancis.com.

8 Tips for Writing a Resume

Posted by Doug White

Attention creative professionals: The traditional resume is alive and well. A new TCG survey finds employers still favor a Word document or PDF version over infographic, social and video resumes.

More and more job seekers are getting creative and playing around with novel resume formats. But before you start filming a string of wacky Vine videos or designing an intricate infographic to highlight your experience, be aware that most employers still expect (and want) a plain old resume. A majority of advertising and marketing executives said they prefer a traditional resume, like a Word document or PDF, from candidates applying for creative roles, according to a recent TCG survey.

Even in today’s highly digital world, there isn’t great demand for infographic, video or social resumes. Here are eight tips for writing a resume that’s clear, concise and compelling:

  • Create customized content. Some people view job hunting strictly as a numbers game. They blast the same cookie-cutter resume to every employer with an open creative position. Bad move. Targeting your pitch to individual employers is a much better strategy. Thoroughly research the company or agency online, follow them on social media and tap members of your network for additional insights. Once you have a sense of the role and organization, play up your professional skills, experience and achievements most relevant to that particular opportunity. While you don’t need to start from scratch every time, a little resume tailoring can make a big impact.
  • Key in on keywords. Who’ll see your resume first? Well, it might not even be a human. Employers often use computer programs to scan resumes for keywords. How can you boost your odds of making the initial cut? Use the job ad as your guide, weaving in keywords wherever possible (as long as the terms accurately describe your abilities, of course).
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. A designer friend of mine asked me to proofread his resume last year. When he saw I flagged a few typos, he laughed and said, “See, I’m not a word person.” OK, dude, but your job does require attention to detail, right? Time-strapped hiring managers are far less likely to interview careless candidates. In fact, 76 percent of executives polled by our firm said it takes only one or two typos on a resume to eliminate an applicant from contention. Guard against goofs by running spell-check, but also slowly proofread your resume both on screen and on paper. Asking a copywriter pal for editing assistance won’t hurt either.
  • Keep it simple. Steer clear of convoluted jargon, flowery prose and distracting graphics, fonts or colors that can make your resume difficult to read. Instead, let your portfolio showcase your creativity. When crafting your resume, use clear section headings and bullet points for easy navigation. In addition, don’t muddle your message by cluttering your resume with hobbies and other extraneous personal information that has no connection to your career. It’s great that you love mountain biking and going to hipster bars, but referencing those pastimes won’t get you a job.

  • Tips 5-8 and the complete article
  • How to Job Hunt While Still Employed

    By Jennifer Parris

    It obviously makes more sense to look for a job while you still have one. After all, you won’t feel the pressure to pick any old job that you’re offered because you have to pay your mortgage, car loan, credit card bills or because the gap between jobs on your resume is growing wider and wider. That said, job hunting while you’re still working can present its own set of prickly problems. Here’s how to safely look for a new job — without risking the one you currently have.

    Don’t be obvious. The last thing you want to do is alert your current boss that you are job hunting. Even if you already have one foot out the door, don’t be too obvious about your job searching efforts. Schedule your interviews before or after work, or if you have to, take a day off and try to bundle them together. After all, if you show up to work in a three-piece suit (and your normal attire is jeans and a tee shirt), you’re going to attract some very unnecessary attention at the office.

    Don’t tell your coworkers. You might be tempted to tell your colleagues and work bestie about your job search. But sharing the news, even with a couple of close office friends, could potentially result in your boss finding out about your plans a lot sooner than you’d like. Some companies can even let you go if they find out that you’re seeking employment elsewhere. And at the very least, your boss can make your life miserable while you’re still there, forcing you to quit before you’re ready.

    Don’t use office equipment. After a brutal meeting with your boss, you might be tempted to storm back to your cubicle and openly — and passive aggressively — troll job boards. Not a good idea. Your company most likely has tracking programs built into your computer or can search your history to see the sites you’ve been on. So save your job searching — and applying — for after work.

    More tips and the complete Mashable article

    7 Words I Never Want to See on Your Resume

    Recently, I came across a post I highly recommend: “7 Words I Never Want to See in Your Blog Posts”.

    That inspired me to think about the words that – for recruiters and team builders – can create a terrible first impression. Not words like “dependable” and “detail oriented” – those have been blogged about ad nauseam (and I don’t blame people for using words that old-school experts have espoused for decades). I also don’t mean the clichés that rear their ugly heads far too often during an interview or follow-up like “It is what it is…

    I’m referring to the words that show me a lack of effort, leadership or confidence – and make me want to disqualify the applicant from consideration whenever I see them.

    Without further delay, here are the seven words I never want to see on a resume:

    1. Approximately

    You have to approximate? You don’t know what you did? Or you do know, but creating a good first impression wasn’t a big priority for you when the resume was sent to me. If you don’t know – find out. If you do know – show some confidence, and tell me down to the tenth percentile what you accomplished. That is impressive!

    2. Assisted

    Unless you work in a dental office or are a point guard, I don’t want to hear about your “assists”. We hire leaders here, so I want to know that you were the one being assisted. In a humble way, tell me what you did, how you did it, and how many you lead in the process.

    3. Attempted

    Never, ever tell me what you wanted to do. Tell me what you did in an emphatic tone, including a quantitative statement, Good examples: “Increased customer satisfaction by 115%” and “Exceeded quota by an average of 31.2% every quarter”

    Words 4-7 and the complete article