Do's and Don'ts – Job Searching While Employed

Do’s and Don’ts – Job Searching While Employed

By: Chris Waters, Acclivity Healthcare

You’re gainfully employed. A few years ago, you liked your job a lot. You still like your job, or at least find it satisfying, but feel that you deserve to take the next step forward in your career.

As you search for that next possible opportunity, you keep thinking, “I have nothing to lose. If I don’t have a great interview, it’s alright because I still have a job. I can see what’s out there, while still being a bit nonchalant in my search because I already have a stable fallback option.”

If you think like this – and are, in fact, too relaxed – you are making a huge mistake. A mistake that can prevent you from taking the next step towards the career you want and deserve.

“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,” is how the Forbes magazine article “The Dos and Don’ts of Job Searching While You’re Still Employed” describes the attitude of many passive job seekers (those who are currently employed).

Overconfidence can be your enemy. Do you want a better job? Well, just about everyone does, but how much motivation do you really have to find one?

If you are serious about exploring opportunities, the primary characteristic you should display in interviews is overpreparation, not overconfidence. Overpreparation means more than simply being prepared for a job interview you recently learned that you have. It means being prepared for a job interview at any given moment during your entire career, even during times when you are satisfied with your current situation and aren’t necessarily thinking about a vocational change. Specifically, overpreparation means:

Keeping Your Resume Updated:

You don’t want to get a phone call on Monday asking you to interview for an incredible opportunity that week then realize you aren’t ready to hand over an impressive, recently updated resume.

Always Updating and Maintaining Professional Profiles:

You might get a job interview based on something you’ve accomplished recently. Many hiring managers look to LinkedIn to find candidates, and nearly all check LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites between the time they schedule the interview and when it occurs.

Thus, it is crucial to not only ensure that your online presence is appropriate and professional, but also that it’s up-to-date with what kind of projects you are working on, the primary responsibilities that you handle on a regular basis, and any recent accomplishments.

If you have been working with your current employer for years, no hiring manager cares much what you achieved at that job you had 5 years before. It would behoove you to be able to point out your current responsibilities and accomplishments during your interview, in a clear, organized format, as well as recommendations and endorsements from your professional profiles.

Regularly Researching Competitors and Keeping Abreast of Industry News:

If a company, especially one in a field related to your own, reaches out and expresses interest in possibly employing you, the last thing you want is to be caught completely off guard. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you’re forced to do the last-minute scramble trying to learn as much as possible in a minimal amount of time.

The best way to avoid that scenario is to stay abreast of current events, industry news, and general actions of competitors. That way you’ll already be ahead of the curve, and will only have to brush up on specific material. In addition, you’ll have the ability to hold an intelligent conversation during the interview, demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of pertinent information, and ask specific, meaningful questions.

During the interview, be as specific as you can when talking about the prospective employer; Have they had any recent mergers or undergone restructuring? What do expansion plans look like over the next 5-10 years? What competitive advantage do they have that makes working there a smart long-term move? Why is it they did XYZ on that last project, and how did it turn out?

Interviewers can easily tell when candidates have simply gone through the motions. On the other hand, they are very impressed when interviewees are knowledgeable about recent trends within the industry and the history, mission, and other information about their company. That is the #1 way to stand out from the crowd, because it not only shows intelligence, knowledge, and preparation, but also clearly demonstrates your interest in the position and that you’re taking it seriously.

Regularly Networking With People In Your Industry:

If you really want a long and successful career, you should be forward-looking and be willing to spend time meeting people at networking events, Chamber of Commerce meetings, industry association events, trade functions, etc. Knowing people in related areas of business (actually all areas of business often prove advantageous) is nearly a necessity nowadays, and it may lead to knowing someone at a company at which you pursue opportunities. Networking is one of the most effective ways to obtain jobs, because even if that individual doesn’t give a personal recommendation, they can easily make sure someone takes a real look at your resume (out of the stack of 100’s or 1,000’s) and at least help you get a foot in the door. You never know, it might even turn out that you know the interviewers!

Planning your career and, of course, working hard to execute those plans, is the best thing you can do in preparation for interviews. It’s easy to give the job search your all when you aren’t working, because obtaining a job is necessary in order to put food on the table. It’s more difficult to work hard at searching and preparing for interviews, however, when you’re already employed.

However, hard work does not, and never will, guarantee success. You must be somewhat savvy, or more simply put – have common sense. Here are some common sense tips to think about when job searching and interviewing while employed:

* Keep your job search as discreet as possible. An employer might treat you negatively, in terms of promotions, wages, and assignments, if they know you are looking to leave. This means do NOT use your employer’s phones, computers, and other equipment in your search.

* Don’t EVER express a desire to find new career opportunities on social media or post your resume on online job boards.

* Don’t criticize your employer. This is a rule that should always be followed, but is even more crucial when that company you’re badmouthing is currently cutting your checks. Generally, interviewers don’t care about your complaints, and would likely view you as a negative person who will probably criticize them someday.

* Praise your prospective employer. Since you researched the company, you should be able to compare your prospective employer to your current employer, in a favorable way, that makes you come across as positive, intelligent, and diligent.

* Schedule your interviews before or after work, or, if time permits, over your lunch break. Your prospective employer may be impressed that you are committed enough to make this request, as it shows that while you may not be satisfied with your job, you still take your responsibilities seriously, handle your business professionally, and honor your commitments.

* Don’t change how you dress at your current job. If you dress casually, you should continue to do so. If you want the prospective job bad enough, you will find a way to change into an appropriate wardrobe before and/or after an interview.

Being overprepared for a job interview is hard work, but the hard work can result in career success and, ultimately, a better life.