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  • Writer's pictureGO2 Team

Looking for A New Job While Still Working

Updated: May 10

There are many reasons to job hunt while you are already employed, and with the financial security you have, you can take your time with low-stress job searching. But there are some things you might want to think about before you begin your job search if you are currently employed. Think about how you explain your reasons for leaving to recruiters, and how and when you tell your current employer.


In this article, you'll find advice on who to tell, what to say and when, and any differences in the job hunting process for people who are already employed:


Should I Really Start Looking for a New Job?

If you are asking yourself this question, the answer is probably yes. It normally takes an important issue to make a person think about looking for a new job when they are already employed.

If you have a job now, you can look for a new one at your own speed. And don't forget, looking does not mean you must accept a job offer. You can always change your mind later. For more detailed advice on things to think about when making a career change take a look at Making a Career Change Successfully at the Right Time.


Should I Tell My Boss I'm Looking for a New Job?

The answer to this question depends on the kind of relationship you have with your boss/manager and the culture at your company. Either way, it is best to respect your position and responsibilities when discussing your job search plans. Let's look at the two possibilities separately:


I Have a Great Relationship With My Boss

If you have been in your current job for a reasonable length of time, and have a good relationship with your boss, it might benefit you to tell them about looking for a new job.


Here are some reasons you might benefit from telling your boss. Your boss might:

  • offer you a pay increase or change your responsibilities to try and keep you.

  • write you an amazing resume reference as your current employer.

  • help you by connecting you with other employers in your field.

  • support you attending your interviews by being flexible with your hours.

  • offer you insider advice about other companies and employers.

If you think you have the kind of relationship with your manager where they would help you look for a different job, carefully speak to them about it during a one-on-one. The only reason not to share the news with a boss you trust and have a good relationship with is if you think they might react badly to you leaving, or the culture at your company is not understanding of people who want to move on. If either of these is true, it might be safer for you to tell your boss when you have received an official job offer on paper.


I Have a Difficult Relationship With My Boss

It can take a long time to find the right position for you to move into, and in that time you do not want to have a stressful working life. It is often better to do most, or all, of your job search without telling your boss.


Here are some reasons you might have problems if you tell your boss. Your boss might:

  • tell the rest of the department/company/managers you would like to leave.

  • give more enjoyable or career-supporting tasks to someone else.

  • think you are using company time/resources to search for a new job.

  • worry you will encourage other employees to leave.

  • take your leaving personally and isolate you from your team.

If you wait to tell your boss about your interest in leaving, you can change your mind in future without any risk to your current job. For many people this security is important, and they choose to wait until a new job is confirmed before they say anything.


Don't forget that using your company's internet to look for a new job, or making phone calls from the office, is a bad idea. It's disrespectful, might be against company policy, and your boss will find out you are leaving before you want them to. Also, don't post anything on social media about job hunting. Potential employers could see that and not be impressed with your behavior!


Managing your Social Media Privacy While Job-searching

Whether you want to tell your boss about your search for a new job now or later, you probably don't want them to find out through an update on LinkedIn. It is also helpful to think about how most employers search social media like Facebook when looking at job candidates, so keeping your social media private while you search is always a good idea.


Searching Privately on LinkedIn While Employed

Most importantly if you have a LinkedIn account, never set your status to "looking for a new job" when you are already employed. There are many more helpful tips in this detailed article about How to Job Search Privately on LinkedIn, to help you learn how to stop profile update sharing and even block specific users.​

Locking Down Your Privacy Settings on Social Media

LinkedIn isn't the only place you need to be careful about what employers can see. To make sure you are keeping your job search private, take a look at How to Set Your Social Media to Control Who Sees What.


How Will I Find Time to Hunt for A New Job While Working?

You might think that you can work on your job search whenever you have some free time. The reality is that you probably won't be able to get much done without seeing your job search as a second career. Some strategies can help you reduce the time you need to search each week.

Here are some tips for using your time efficiently as you look for a new job while employed:

  • Make a Timetable - set a specific time each week that you only use for job searching and applications.  

  • Use Your Body's Productive Hours - Plan your focus time at a time of day when you are most rested and focused. Spend less time searching more effectively.  

  • Tell Your Family and Friends - If your friends and family know what to expect they will give you quiet focus time without tempting you with invitations to go out.  

  • Get Automatic Job Updates - use the option most job search engines have to email you updates when new jobs are posted that match your search words.  

  • Use a Job Aggregator - Job aggregators look through many job search websites and message boards, and bring all of the results to you in one place.  

  • Go Straight to the Company - If you have any companies in mind that you specifically want to work for, go straight to the recruitment page on their website.

Save Time Job Hunting by Managing Your Emails

To protect your focused job searching time each week, it's important to manage your emails carefully:

  • Think about using a new email address specifically for job searching.

  • Unsubscribe from newsletters and "special offers", and block spam senders.

  • Review your emails once a day and flag emails that have good job postings.

  • Begin your focused job-searching time each week by reviewing your flagged emails.

Save Time Job Hunting by Connecting With A Recruiter

Signing up with a recruitment service can take the time pressure off of you, while you focus on your current job and your other commitments. You can still search for jobs but you can focus more on one or two high-potential job openings, while the agency looks through the rest. Some recruiters can even give you feedback on how to approach each opportunity if you ask.


Do I Need to Do Anything Differently at Interview?

The interview process will be mostly the same for you and someone currently out of employment. The only real difference is balancing your working hours and the time you plan to attend interviews. If your boss would support you searching for a new job, see if you can get some flexibility on your working hours. If you can't tell your boss you will have to book vacation days whenever you can to attend interviews.


What do I Say If My Interviewer Asks Why I want to Leave My Job?

Honesty is usually your best option if asked why you want to leave your current job. But whatever your reason for leaving, make sure you manage how you explain it well:

  • Phrase it positively - Look for a positive way of saying your reason, like looking for a company that shares your focus on transparency with customers.

  • Focus on the process, not the people - Focus your explanation on processes in your job and not on who is managing them.

  • Be clear but short - Give a short clear explanation and answer some further questions if you are comfortable. Then move on.

  • Don't feel pressured to say more - Try to refocus the interviewer by saying you want to talk about how your skills and experience match the role.

For more advice and support for preparing for job interviews take a look at the Interviews section of the Go2 Career Help Centre.


What Should I Do When I'm Offered a New Job?

Congratulations on your job offer! It's easy to get excited and begin the process of switching jobs and then have the new job offer withdrawn. To make sure you have job security, income security, and peace of mind wait until everything is officially ready before you resign from your current position. This is good advice whether you have or haven't told your current company you are looking for a new job.


Wrap Up

Searching for a new job will take you time, but many time-saving strategies can help you search more efficiently. Make regular time for your search and manage your emails carefully to maximize your free time while you search.


Remember that looking doesn't always mean accepting! Keep your options open, and only tell your current employer about your interest in leaving if you think they will help you look.


Be patient, focus on the positives, and make sure you keep some free time for your mental health and private commitments. You can do this, and you might find something you didn't even know was out there.

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