Should you tell your boss you are looking for a new job?

Job searching while you already have a paycheck has advantages but comes with risks. The following 10 tips can help you with your job hunt — without getting cut.


Your grandmother’s advice still stands: Don’t quit your current job until you have a written offer in hand.

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Yes, it is a job-seeker’s market, with more perks & flexibility on the table than in past years. But it can take months, requiring multiple rounds of interviews with several levels of signoffs, khổng lồ actually land a new position at a different company.

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The “Great Resignation” — which sees people quitting in droves without having another job lined up — applies predominantly to lớn hourly workers and not lớn tech experts, says Donald Burns, an executive career strategist and resume expert based in New York. “Most IT people aren’t leaving that way,” he says. For the majority of white-collar workers, “there are all kinds of delays due lớn economic uncertainty và extreme caution exercised by employers” because of bad experiences, he explains.

Even for IT pros with hot skills, “it’s very, very difficult” lớn look for a job while holding one down at the same time, says Jayne Mattson, principal of an eponymous career management consultancy. “If the process goes too quickly, that can be a red light,” she adds. The job you’re applying for is mở cửa for a reason; make sure you vì your due diligence.

Still, if you believe that your existing job is no longer a fit for you, here are some tips for how khổng lồ approach job hunting while keeping your current gig.

1. Look around, then take a deep breath

It’s always good to see what jobs are available, và to know what your skills are worth on the open market. & now’s a good time khổng lồ take a self-evaluation to see what you really want to vì or determine what you need in a job to be happy. “Over the course of the pandemic, people have had the opportunity khổng lồ reevaluate their career paths & jobs, và think through what’s next,” says Samantha Lawrence, senior vice president of people strategy at online jobs site Hired.

2. Don’t overlook the possibilities where you already work

If the source of your displeasure is needing more flexibility — to, say, pick up your kids at school at a specific time — that might well be fixable. Or perhaps you want khổng lồ work at trang chủ more often or receive more training opportunities. “Ask yourself what’s not working or what’s not fulfilling,” Hired’s Lawrence advises. “If it comes down to lớn one or two things, and you can see yourself growing in your current company, have the conversation.”

Approach your manager with what you want and work out a plan together that will address your needs. Perhaps you need lớn figure out when you will make up any time away from the job, or how you’ll come up lớn speed regarding any meetings you miss. “Because there’s so much attrition, companies are more mở cửa to having these conversations,” Lawrence says.

And don’t forget to kiểm tra out the careers section of your company’s website. It can be much easier khổng lồ transfer lớn another division or team in your existing company than it is to lớn start from scratch somewhere else.

3. Don’t burn bridges

No matter how frustrated you are, don’t storm off in a huff. In the long term, it’s never worth it. At the very least you’re going lớn want a decent referral from your existing employer, và you don’t want to lớn create a reputation as someone who leaves co-workers in a lurch. At some point you might wind up working with your former colleagues again — or even report khổng lồ one — at another company. As satisfying as it can feel in the moment, leaving with little or no notice can come back to lớn haunt you for years lớn come. (See #4, below.)

4. Build your human network

The best way to find a job is through people you know who can vouch for your skills and knowledge, potential fit with their company, và work ethic. & while the pandemic has certainly isolated people, it’s a good time to lớn pick your head up và join (or re-join) user groups, build or strengthen your university alumni connections, and attend relevant Meetups.

“If you’re a specialized Java e-commerce programmer, what groups vày you belong to?” asks Victor Janulaitis, founder & CEO of Janco Associates. “That’s how you find your next job or figure out which skills to địa chỉ cửa hàng to your inventory or meet someone who knows the quality of the work you do and can recommend you.” You need someone “who can advocate for you in a new organization.”

Ask people you know who recently landed new jobs how they did it, even if it’s in another industry. Also make sure khổng lồ stay in cảm ứng with, or renew your relationship with, anyone who has mentored you in the past.

5. Pay particular attention to LinkedIn

Everyone should use this tool on a daily basis, Mattson says. “That’s where you bump into people you know, or might want lớn know, & it’s where the decision-makers are,” she advises. Ease into conversations and bình luận on posts from other people, she says. Make sure khổng lồ schedule your posts before or after work hours.

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Ideally you want to lớn update your profile and start posting long before you start looking for a job, so you don’t tip off anyone in your current job that you’re in search.

Just don’t over-rely on this tool, or any other, experts say. Online communities are great helpers, but they don’t take the place of human connection.

6. Be discreet

Don’t advertise that you’re looking around. Avoid posting your resume on job sites, some experts suggest, because it might be sent to your current employer, even inadvertently. Instead, make those one-on-one connections (see nhà cửa #4) & send your resume to people you know. “Explore, but bởi it under the radar,” Burns says. Figure out where you’d like to work, then approach people in that company privately.

7. Be smart

Use your personal, non-work phone & computer to liên hệ potential employers, phối up interviews, & send out your resume. Don’t put any personal email on your work machine. “Everyone should have their own desktop and cellphone that are airgapped from the job,” Janulaitis says.

Any gear your company gave or sent you when you started working there, or anything they help pay for (like your phone bill), means that equipment is theirs. Not only can the company demand it back at any point, but there might be a ‘big brother’-type ứng dụng that monitors what you’re doing. And if you have to lớn hand everything back, there go all your connections, text messages, and the like.

You might also need khổng lồ ‘airgap’ your professional associations. If your company paid for those, & you find them valuable, then spend your own money on those fees so you can legitimately take membership lists, minutes from any meetings, and conference proceedings with you to your next post, or to lớn help you land that new job.

8. Don’t neglect your existing job…

Remember it might take a while khổng lồ find your new role, và you must continue khổng lồ tend khổng lồ your existing job. “At the over of the day, you have a commitment to lớn your current job and are still expected lớn meet the requirements,” Hired’s Lawrence says. Go to the meetings, nail those deadlines. You don’t want your inattention lớn detail khổng lồ be a tell to your boss or co-workers that your brain has left the building even if your toàn thân is still there.

9. … but make time to lớn search

“Some people are so sucked into their jobs, like gravity, that they need willpower khổng lồ make the search work,” Burns says. The good news is that with so much remote work going on, you probably won’t need khổng lồ physically travel anywhere to interview. Pre-pandemic you’d need khổng lồ take vacation time, or work through lunchtime and leave the office early. Just schedule any online search-related meetings or interviews at times when you won’t be missed.

Janco’s Janulaitis calls it “taking time khổng lồ plant your roses,” & suggests that you can spend 5% of your work time on a job search, as long as you’re still doing your job và performing well.

Hired’s Lawrence says that how much time you spend searching, và when, depends on how badly you want — or need — khổng lồ leave your current job. If you must leave imminently for any reason, then consider taking time off to update your resume or portfolio, identify or learn any new skills you might need, or conduct that assessment of what you want to bởi vì next. But if you can make it a more leisurely search, you might be able lớn fit it all in without taking vacation time.

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10. Be clear with potential employers

Understand what you must have in your new role and do all you can to make sure these needs will be met. Don’t inadvertently take a new job that has the same or similar downsides to lớn your current job. It’s easy lớn get caught up in a shiny new title, or more money or perks, & forget why you started looking in the first place. “Make sure you stay true khổng lồ your north star in your job search,” Lawrence says.