The double life: how to apply for a new job when you already have one
Sep 23, 2020
Have you achieved as much as you can at your job? Are your projects, goals and colleagues no longer enough to motivate you? This isn’t the ideal time to resign before you have found a new job, given the state of the labour market. So there’s really only one solution: stay in your current position while looking for something new. But be aware, this requires meticulous organisation. Here are our tips for winning at this balancing act.
Set aside the time
Your first instinct might be to squeeze your job search into your daily schedule. Taking advantage of a quieter time during your working day is not necessarily wise. Writing a cover letter between meetings can be stressful and even dangerous. It would be a shame to get caught red-handed. Opt instead for the peace and quiet of your home for this. You can do it at the beginning or end of the day, or at the weekend. That way, you won’t feel like you’re hiding anything from your employer. It’s a good idea to set aside 30 to 45 minutes each morning to apply for posts. That way, you’ll be freed up for the rest of the day and have more energy than you would in the evening after a long day at work.
Find the ideal environment
Do you find it difficult to be disciplined at home? Don’t worry as that’s normal. Finding a new job is not just about making time to apply for positions. It is also about trying to sell yourself and that can feel unnatural. It’s even harder to subject yourself to the process when you already have a job and you don’t need to find another one.
If it is inappropriate to apply for other jobs during your working days, nothing is keeping you from staying a little later at the office in the evening—or arriving a little earlier in the morning—to go through ads. If your office hasn’t reopened yet, a coffee shop will also do the trick to help you concentrate and avoid distractions. This way, there’s no risk of disrupting your productivity or your work day.
Dilemmas you will encounter
How do you manage telephone interviews?
Any job search usually involves a few phone calls. If you work in an open-plan office, it’s really not appropriate to leave it several times a day, however, so you can isolate yourself in a meeting room or go outside. That is especially true if you don’t usually take breaks like that. So ask the interviewer to call you in the evening or early in the morning. This request won’t make you look bad: recruiters know well that, as someone who is employed, you are busy with your work and that you can’t just take time off as you please.
When do you schedule in-person interviews?
After the letters, emails and phone calls, you’ll have to do some interviews and in-person meetings. Obviously, you can’t just take several hours off without telling your manager. So how can you pull this off? One thing to be avoided is lying. You risk getting found out and losing all credibility, or simply being embarrassed in front of your manager. The best thing to do is to group your interviews over a day or half a day of personal days off or paid leave. This way, you won’t have anything to feel guilty about and you can prepare for your interview with peace of mind. As with phone calls, be sure to schedule your interviews at the end or the beginning of the day. The recruiter will understand.
Who can be your reference?
A recruiter took the bait? Well done. But now they’re asking you to provide the contact details of colleagues they can talk to about you and your work. If your manager has no idea what you are doing, obviously you won’t want to ask them for a recommendation. Do you have a colleague on your team who has seen you grow over several years? Or someone from another team with whom you have collaborated often and who could sing your praises? Is there a former manager who has excellent memories of you (avoid the person in charge of your third-year internship)? These are the ones you can ask for a recommendation. Be careful, though, you need to be sure you can trust them not to tell on you.
What attitude should you adopt?
You are looking for new challenges and that’s commendable, but there’s no need to announce it to your entire department. You should also be careful not to let it affect your attitude at work. You still have a commitment there and you don’t know how long your search will take. Remain above reproach. Remember that happy hour with colleagues and professional events can be opportunities to network and you can even make valuable contacts as you continue your search. Just be subtle about it.
On the internet
Your online reputation is more important than ever. Many recruiters and managers are recruiting via social networks, or at least when they find interesting candidates. So keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and don’t hesitate to continue adding to your network with the contacts you meet every day. If you can, ask your former professional contacts for recommendations to enhance and enrich your profile. However, don’t mention wanting to change jobs in your biography. An “active search” will be frowned upon by members of your team or your professional contacts. Instead, you should use LinkedIn’s “open to work” option, which will be visible on your profile only to recruiters.
Once you have found a great opportunity and are ready to start a new role, be careful not to get ahead of yourself. Before you leave your current post, make sure that you have official confirmation that you are being offered the new job in the form of a contract for example. Stay professional with your team until the end too. This double life can only bode well for the future. So don’t get overwhelmed by your busy schedule, but focus on the future. “New challenges” offer you the chance to learn, to take advantage of opportunities and to network. It’s all up to you now.
Translated by Kalin Linsberg
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