How to find a new job while you’re still employed

1. Update your LinkedIn profile

A recruiter or a potential employer will check your LinkedIn profile when your resume shows up. Don’t wait until the last minute — update your profile now!

Here are a few things to consider before you jump into editing. First off, consider turning off notifications so that your profile updates are not broadcasted across your network. Second, don’t tag your profile with “looking for a new job” — your employer and supervisor may be watching. Lastly, keep your listed skills updated and consistent with what you do at your current job. A dramatic change in your online profile, particularly if it does not reflect the position you currently hold, can serve as a tip-off.

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8. Temping or Internships

Temporary employment and short-term contracts often lead to permanent positions. It's a great way to get a foot in the door or at the very least provide you with useful business contacts to call upon in the future.

Many recruitment agencies can assist with locating temporary or casual positions and contract work.

Internships are a great choice for students who are just graduating from college. The job placement services of many schools connect their students with opportunities.

If you're just starting out and you can afford it, volunteering can be a great way to gain valuable industry contacts.

Keep Your Job Search Focused

 Hero Images / Getty Images
Hero Images / Getty Images

When you’re searching for jobs, use advanced search options to find jobs by using keywords that match your interests, the type of job you’re looking for, and the location where you want to work.

Narrowing your search criteria will help you focus your job search and give you more relevant job listings to review and fewer non-relevant job listings to weed through. Use advanced search options to drill down to the location where you want to work and the specific positions you're interested in. 

4. Schedule interviews outside work hours as much as possible

You can only have so many 9 AM doctor appointments in a week before you raise suspicion! Consider breakfast and lunch hour meetings, or ask for a slot after work — many companies will accommodate your request, especially if you are upfront about your need for discretion.

If the interview is scheduled during working hours, consider taking a vacation or personal day. Some might say that calling in sick is an option, but I would advise against it. Your boss might still expect you to jump on an 11 AM conference call from home, and you would have more explaining to do. Bite the bullet, and take a day off so you won’t be distracted or expected to work.

5. Company Websites

If you already have your dream employer in mind, go directly to the career section of the company's website. If you track openings on its site, there's a chance you'll find just the opportunity that you've been waiting for.

Create a list of employers that you'd like to work for and visit their websites often. If you're really set on working for a specific company it may take some time to find just the opportunity that fits your skillset. But if you've got time, this might be the optimal method for finding your dream job.

Tidy up your CV

6 Look around for inspiration. Talk to recruiters in your sector to establish what they consider to be an above-average CV. If you can afford it, consider asking a CV-writing agency to help you, “but only one that comes recommended by someone in your network,” suggests Rowan Manahan, author of Ultimate CV: Trade Secrets from a Recruitment Insider. “As always, there’s a bell curve of skill and you can spend a lot of money to very little effect if you hire the wrong wordsmith.”

7 Create your own marketing pack. Spending a little extra on good quality materials can really make your application stand out. “Choose a high quality paper with matching envelopes,” says James Innes, author of The CV Book, The Interview Book and Brilliant Cover Letters. “A co-ordinated image can really impress; it’s a small investment which could pay dividends.”

8 … but don’t go over the top. Applying too much bling, such as bright colours or whizzy picture effects, will just make employers fall over, as opposed to falling over themselves to hire you. “Glitz and razzamatazz won’t help you be taken seriously,” advises Rebecca Corfield, author of Knockout Job Presentations. “Be unforgettable for the right reasons. Impact comes from strong words, having a clear and logical layout, and detail about what makes you special.”

Tidy your CV before you send it off. Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex Features

9 Have some trusted friends give you feedback. “When you’ve been tinkering with your CV for hours it’s easy to miss glaring typos, so make sure someone else has seen it,” says de Grunwald. “The best people to canvass are those already working in your chosen industry. Ask, ‘If you were me, what would you change?’ Be prepared for a variety of responses. It’s a myth that there’s a perfect CV – it’s surprisingly subjective.”

10 Include a cover letter. “According to a recent survey, cover letters are seen by almost 50% of recruiters as being equally as important as the CV itself,” says Innes. “Many people lose out not because of their CV but because of their cover letter – or lack of one.”

Create a template cover letter and modify it to suit your needs. Including one allows a little more of your personality to shine through, and an extra platform on which to sell your skills.

11 Consider a video CV if you are in a technical field, but be careful – it’s easy to do this very badly. Manahan recommends putting one online, using professional makeup and lighting. “Produce a 30-second, a 90-second and a five-minute piece for your channel,” he says. “Make sure that channel – on YouTube or Vimeo – reflects the professional image you are seeking to cast and track viewing stats very closely to assess if your approach is working.”

12 Customise your CV. “Put yourself in the shoes of each recruiter and make sure you’ve emphasised the bits they’ll be most interested in,” says de Grunwald. “Don’t use jargon they won’t understand and if your former employers aren’t well-known, explain briefly the nature of each, before detailing what you did there.”

At the interview

35 Be prepared for common questions. Interviewers often ask the same sort of questions, like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Have the answers to queries like these up your sleeve.

36 Rehearse to a live audience. “Writing down what you want to get across in an interview is only part of the challenge,” Yeung says. “Make sure you can express yourself in an articulate fashion by asking a friend to throw likely questions at you.”

37 Create an “elevator speech” about yourself. In American parlance, this is a quick one- or two-sentence spiel about who you are and what you do. “Get ready to talk about your skills and experience,” says Corfield. “How does your personality fit? What is your vision for the job? Why are you the best person to do it?”

38 Turn the tables on your interviewer. Prior to an interview, you should assume a potential employer will have searched for you online – so why not do the same to them? “Try to find out as much as you can about your interviewer,” says Innes. “You will have a head start on other candidates – and you haven’t even got anywhere near the interview room.”

39 Free the skeletons in your closet. Be prepared to address the six-month gap in your employment history, or the reason why you suddenly had to leave your last position.

40 Be honest. Don’t claim to have degrees or experience you don’t. “Remember that many organisations check references,” Yeung warns. “Any inconsistencies could lead to an employer rescinding a job offer.”

2. Brush Up Your Interview Skills

Almost every job you’ll ever apply for will have some sort of interview process. Some smaller companies will hold a single, semi-casual interview, while others have applicants undergo a more extensive screening process. Others still might meet with you over the phone and call that good. So you need to be prepared for anything.

Every interview will be different, so you can’t memorize a list of questions and the answers you’d like to give. You can prepare for basic questions, however, such as “why do you want this job,” “what do you know about this company,” and “why do you feel like you’re a good fit for this position?”

Get a trusted friend to pepper you with questions, hop on YouTube and watch interviews, listen to some podcast interviews, watch a few TedTalks for good speaking with clarity tips, and don’t forget to stand in front of the mirror and ask questions.

Don’t work yourself up too much. You don’t have to be a master negotiator in order to nail a job interview. Most employers just want to ask a few questions and get to know you a little better. Team chemistry and job fit can be a big deal, so coming across as respectful and eager to learn is often better than acting arrogant and overconfident in your abilities.

7. In your first week: Find a buddy

Some workplaces pair every new hire with an onboarding buddy or mentor. If you aren’t so lucky, find one yourself. Your LinkedIn research will come in handy to help you identify potential work friends and their interests to help you start a conversation.

Worried about lunch alone? Don’t wait for an invite. Be the person who invites someone to lunch. “You don’t have to gregariously go over to everyone’s desk, hug, and shake their hand on the first day, but don’t be a snob either,” says Paul French, managing director of Intrinsic Executive Search.” It helps to be friendly to your coworkers from day one.

French recommends introducing yourself to your teammates and offering to treat them to lunch.

“Show that you are happy to be part of the team and that you are looking forward to building a great working relationship with everyone.”

If you’re on a remote team, schedule virtual coffee chats with your new teammates to have one-on-one time with each person. This will go a long way toward building rapport.

Connect With Your Contacts

 Dan Sipple / Getty Images
Dan Sipple / Getty Images

Now that you've created profiles on networking sites, start using them. Connect with everyone you know, because you never know which contact may be able to help you with your job search or put you in touch with someone who can.

If you’re a college graduate, check out the networking opportunities available for alumni from your university. Do you belong to a professional association? It will be another good source for networking leads. 

Plan Your Arrival

Plan your arrival at your new workplace as carefully as you did leaving your old job. If you can, schedule a break between jobs. Taking a few days off, or a vacation if you can swing it, is a good way to decompress, relax, and start anew with a refreshed and engaged brain. 

Get the Inside Scoop on Whos Hiring

Another way to find jobs is to use our Monster 100, our weekly list of the 100 employers that posted the most jobs on Monster in the last seven days. You can click through the names of the companies to see what they are hiring for and if any job is a fit for you.

A company going on a hiring binge can be a good indicator of financial health. Additionally, this list can give you a sense of which sectors are currently hiring the most, which can give you some hints as to where demand for workers is higher than the available supply (read: where you will have less competition).

You can set up job alerts on not only job titles but also companies. Check out Salemi's article on how to use company reviews to fine-tune your job search.

Get Alerted as Soon as Your Dream Job Is Posted

Salemi says that as soon as recruiters post jobs, they're ready to start reviewing incoming resumes—meaning the sooner you apply, the better your chances are.

"The best time to apply to a job is within the first 48 hours it's posted," she says. "Being in that first batch of candidates is critical because you're not only first, you're setting the bar for future candidates."

Be the first to know about jobs by setting up job alerts on Monster. There are two different ways to do this: First, if you're signed into your account, perform a job search and click the "Email me jobs" button to the right of the search. You'll automatically be delivered new, matching jobs when they are posted, and the search will be stored under your "saved searches" area of your profile.

If you'd rather not sign up for an account, you can click the same button on any job search results page and enter the email address to where you want to receive job alerts. It's as simple as that.

By having jobs curated to your interests, you can spend less time digging through the millions of jobs on Monster and more time applying to jobs you're really interested in.

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Your First Few Months

As you settle in, treat every day as a new learning opportunity. Here are practical tips for maintaining your enthusiasm about your new job:

13. Be an apprentice

Even as you become more confident in your new role, keep in mind that you’re not an expert. Nobody wants to talk to someone who thinks they know it all. Humility opens the door to meaningful relationships and opportunities to learn. Develop daily habits that will help you maintain an growth mindset.

14. Focus on relationships

Some things take time—and one of those things is building trust. Be intentional about getting to know the people you work with so you can start forming solid relationships. Take a few minutes out of your day to chat with your teammates and grab lunch or coffee. Sometimes, the strongest bonds form outside of work! You could get a regular happy hour going with your team or start a book club.

If you plan to get a promotion at some point, start looking ahead now to learn from the people who can help you. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you’re an entry-level project manager, meet a senior project manager.
  • If you’re a midlevel publicist, befriend the director of publicity.
  • If you’re a senior developer, get to know the VP of product.

15. Say no to gossip

I’m pretty passionate about this topic. Here at Ramsey, we value healthy, unified relationships so much that we made one of our core values “no gossip.” Gossip is a poison that will destroy your organization from the inside out. Don’t talk about a problem with someone who cannot fix it. Don’t complain about your team members behind their back. If you have an issue with someone, go directly to that person. Pass negatives up (to your leader) and positives all around.

You can’t control what others say, but you can control what you say. Taking a hard stance against gossip has the double benefit of protecting your work environment and displaying your integrity.

16. Take initiative

Your primary work focus is to execute the responsibilities you’ve been given. But as you grow more comfortable, look for ways to help that aren’t necessarily within your job description. Be on the alert. Be willing to raise a hand and offer a solution (respectfully) for a problem that you’ve noticed. Seek out what needs to be done and then go do it.

17. Keep an open mindset

Organizations are made up of people, and people aren’t perfect. As you learn more about the good, the bad and the ugly of your new workplace, keep a balanced perspective and welcome the viewpoints of others—especially people who have been there longer than you have. People will surprise you and disappoint you from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you’re in a bad work environment. It means you’re in a human work environment. 

18. Ask for feedback

Develop an appetite for learning, because learning leads to growth. And one of the best ways to gain new insight is to ask your leader and team members for their feedback. Don’t wait for your six-month or annual review. Make feedback a regular rhythm with those you trust. You can ask questions like . . .

  • What’s one area of my job performance that needs more focus?
  • From your point of view, what are my greatest strengths?
  • How can I add more value to our team?
  • Am I meeting and exceeding expectations?

Be coachable. Be hungry. See each day as an opportunity to practice your God-given talent, and go at it with gusto.

Managing Your Emotions During the Search

Keep in mind that job hunting is often an emotional process, with lots of ups and downs. There will be days you get encouraging news — a second interview, say, or a positive response from a hiring manager. But there will also be days, or weeks, where you won’t hear from anyone, or you’ll get turned down for that job you were certain was yours. Professor Art Markman also has smart guidance here: Focus less on the outcome and more on the process.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a goal in mind, but try to concentrate on the specific activities. Check for job openings and apply for positions that suit your experience. Attend in-person or virtual networking events to get to know potential employers. Talk to friends and colleagues to find out about upcoming openings. Take classes to improve your skills. Doing this will hopefully ease your frustration as you make some progress toward your ultimate goal. And, make sure you have someone you can talk with — a friend, a career coach, a therapist — to help you sort through the emotions that will inevitably come up.

Perhaps most importantly, remember that your worth is not determined by what jobs you get — or how many rejections you receive. There is much more to life than work.

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