One of my recent posts was all about how to become the indispensible employee and the importance of doing so in times of economic difficulty. However, as I concluded at the end of that post, it is also important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities. Whether you are making preparations for incoming trouble, or you’re simply an ambitious person, it’ essential to know how to look for a job when you’re already employed.
The days when people would start at the bottom of a company and work their way to the top are over. Nowadays the process of “job hopping” is much more common and therefore you should always be aware of what’s going on around you. Most of us can be described as what is called a “passive job seeker.” We expect to move from job to job every few years and so keep our eyes and ears open to ensure we stay ahead of the competition and find out about opportunities first, something which has been made much easier with the world becoming increasingly social. However, being a passive job seeker does not come without complication. You have to be careful with your search methods and move with tact so to strike the perfect balance between looking for a job and maintaining a great relationship with your current employer. But how do you do that?
Firstly, it is essential that you do not take a too full on or aggressive approach to job seeking. The word “casual” is probably the word best to sum up the desired job search. You want to remain professional and discrete. That means not advertising your CV all across the web on job boards. You don’t want to promote the fact that you’re looking for something new because the chances are the wrong people will find out. Regarding the professionalism aspect, it is crucial that you do not conduct any job seeking activities whilst at your current job. Ignoring the fact that it would be completely unprofessional and inappropriate, it’s also true that if you’re found out you will be fired so don’t take the risk, search in your own time.
It is also important that you are cautious of what’s going on around you. Privacy is key to being a passive job seeker. You have to stay below the radar of your current employer. Working with a recruiter can help you with this, as long as they are discrete and confidential themselves. Make sure all your actions, whether they are online, on the phone or anywhere else, are kept private. Remember that social media is just that, and you should not share things which could be interpreted negatively by your employer.
Something which follows along similar lines as being aware of your surroundings is the need for extra research. An unemployed job seeker is unlikely to care who they are sending their CV to or to how many people. Unfortunately, if you are currently employed, you do not have that luxury. If you do submit your CV then you need to make sure exactly who is receiving it and that there is no chance of your current employer finding out.
So perhaps your current approach the job search has to change. Instead of viewing your job search as you searching for a job you should just view it as “career networking.” You are looking out for yourself and preparing for the future. There is nothing wrong with networking; it is after all an essential part of career progression. If you view yourself as someone who is open to opportunity rather than someone who is actively looking for a job then you have the same chances of finding a job whilst reducing the risk of getting fired.
So if you remain patient, casual and careful but open to opportunity you can easily increase your chances of career advancement without risking your current employment.