5 Job Hunting Tips When You Already Have a Job

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: May 21, 2014

Make the Best of a Good Situation

In many ways, it is an ideal situation. Looking for a job while you already have one has many benefits. You can take your time to find a job that you love without feeling the pressure of having to pay the rent. You get to bone up on your interviewing skills, and discover if the field that you’re interested in is really a fit for you.

That is, if you don’t get caught.

The one huge caveat about job hunting while you have a job is just that…you already have a job. And if your boss or catty colleague catches wind that you’re interviewing for another position, you could potentially put your current job at risk. So even though it may feel like you’re being sneaky, it’s best to be subtle when you’re looking for a new job. Here’s how.

5. Dress the Part

You’ve been lucky enough to work in an office that lets you wear pretty much whatever you want. But if jeans and a T-shirt have been your standard dress code, it’s going to raise some eyebrows (and some red flags) if you show up in a three-piece suit. So be prepared to bring your interview clothes with you and change right before your job interview. You may even have to use a restroom away from the office to change in order to avoid getting caught.

4. Time It Right

No matter how hard you try, it seems that every job interview time slot you’re offered is smack dab in the middle of your workday. Thing is, even if you’re desperate for a job, you don’t have to accept the first interview appointment you’re offered.

It’s perfectly acceptable to let the hiring manager know you are employed and that, if possible, you’d prefer an interview date and time either before or after your normal work hours. It will illustrate to a potential boss you are trying to be as respectful to your current position as possible, which is a desirable quality in a job candidate.

3. Keep It Quiet

You and your office bestie share everything from Cobb salads to work assignments to office gossip. But unless you want to be the talk around the Keurig machine, you need to keep your job search to yourself.

It may be tempting to share the trials and tribulations of finding a job (including those crazy questions you had to answer on the last job interview), but you could be opening yourself up to potential exposure. The last thing you want is for your boss to find out you’re job hunting before you have an offer firmly in hand, causing you to be fired from your current job before you’re ready to leave.

2. Work Hard

Job hunting, in and of itself, is almost like having another job. So it makes sense you’re distracted from your current job as you try to make the transition to a new one. As a result, you’re doing less work and your job performance has been less than stellar.

This is one of the major tip-offs to employers that one of their employees is getting ready to quit. So even though it’s going to require more effort, try to stay on top of your workplace responsibilities as much as possible. It may mean you’ll have to put in extra hours as you attempt to juggle your job with your job search, but it will be worth the sacrifice in order to keep your income steady before you get hired for a new job.

1. Gotta Keep It Separated

After completing a big work project, you decide to take a break…and hit the job boards. Problem is, you’re doing it on your company’s computer, and on company time, too. You rationalize it by thinking you already have one foot out the door (well, sort of), so what’s the big deal if you peruse some postings while you’re on a break?

All that clicking and applying for jobs can easily cost you your current one if your boss finds out, though. As much as you may want to send out your resume and cover letter first thing in the morning, you should restrict your job search to after office hours. If you do decide to look for a job online, you can do so during your lunch break—and utilizing your own phone, laptop, or tablet. Doing otherwise is a huge risk that can get you fired.

This content is brought to you by FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities offering work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time and work from home jobsFor more career advice and job search tips, visit the FlexJobs blog.

Salary.com Can Help You

While it requires considerable caution, you can safely and effectively search for a job while you are still employed. But once you get the offer, it'll be time to negotiate. That's where Salary.com can help you get paid fairly what you do.

The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.