Your job doesn’t fulfill you anymore, so you decide to pursue something more meaningful. You start to put your feelers out for new roles and even snag a couple of interviews. But, after a few weeks, your workload doubles, and you begin to lose focus. At this point, you’re so exhausted from work and personal commitments that looking for a job starts to take a backseat. It’s a common predicament. Nobody enjoys looking for a job—especially when you already have one. While you may not be thrilled with your current role, searching for a new position is challenging. For one thing, there’s the time commitment. If you’re buried in projects and consistently worn out, how are you supposed to find time to look for a job? And then there’s the stealth factor. You don’t necessarily want your employer to find out you’re searching for opportunities outside the company. Finally, you may not even be sure what you’re looking for, making the job search even more complex.
But the process doesn’t need to be so tedious. In fact, if you stay organized and follow the right strategies, job hunting can be fun and rewarding. Here are five tips to look for a job while you are working full-time.
When you decide to look for a job, LinkedIn is your best friend. If you don’t have a profile, create one. If you do have one, update it. Be comprehensive about current skills and objectives. Highlight your recent experience and focus on quantifiable accomplishments rather than replicating your job description. It’s also a good idea to invest in the premium version because you get access to additional tools like learning courses as well as direct access to recruiters and hiring managers through InMail. While LinkedIn is career-oriented, it is still a social media tool, so don’t be a wallflower! Participate by commenting on other people’s posts, posting your own stories, or writing an article related to your industry. Also, join professional groups related to your field. Use the recommendation feature to allow former employers or work colleagues to endorse you, and don’t forget to recommend other people as well. Finally, use the platform to set up job alerts, research salaries and improve your interview responses with instant AI-powered feedback.
Know your “why”
Take some time early in your job search to answer two questions:
- Why do I want a new job?
- Why is now the right time?
Understanding why you want to look for a new role will motivate you and help you focus on the end goal. It will also allow you to begin your search from a place of focus and exploration. By taking the time to define why now is the right time to make a change, you’ll get inspired to take that next step.
Write your ideal job description
A successful job search starts with the end in mind. Before updating your resume or applying for roles, take a step back. Think about your ideal job and write it down in detail. Next, get clear on what you don’t want by making a list of all the things in your current and past roles that you want to avoid in the future. Then consider all the projects you’ve worked on that you both enjoyed and were good at. Finally, try to answer questions like:
- What salary do I want to earn?
- What do I like to be doing on a daily basis?
- What type of company do I want to work for?
- What sort of environment and culture do I enjoy?
- Would I prefer to work remotely, in an office or both?
With enough detail, this visioning exercise will help define your ultimate destination. At that point, you can start to look for companies and roles that fit this description.
Establish a consistent schedule
It takes discipline and organization to look for a job when you’re employed full-time. First, figure out what days and times are best for you to conduct your job search activities. Maybe evenings after the kids go to bed or a couple of hours every Sunday. Determine what works and schedule it on your calendar. Set healthy boundaries and let your family know you don’t want to be interrupted during those times. By creating a plan and following it, you’ll gain momentum in your job search.
Make time to talk to people
Many job seekers make the mistake of looking for a job in a vacuum. Don’t just sift through job postings, send out countless resumes and wait for the ideal role to come to you. Instead, seek out people in the industries or companies you are interested in. Then reach out to them to set up informational interviews. LinkedIn has a great feature called InMail. It allows you to send users a personalized note even if you aren’t connected to them. Make it a goal to talk to at least two to three people weekly. And at the end of each conversation, ask them for another two or three contacts. That way, your network will continue to grow over time.
The most important part of job hunting is to be patient. Remember, there are thousands of job openings out there, and you are only looking for one—the right one. In the meantime, you are keeping your skills updated, refining your personal brand, expanding your network and keeping your interview skills sharp. While the process is an investment of time and energy, it’s worth it—especially if you can ultimately land your dream job.