If you’re planning to join one of the other 4 million Americans who have left their jobs for better opportunities, then you’ve come to the right corner of the Internet. For whatever reason you’re leaving your current place of employment (congrats to you by the way), the process of seeking a new job can seem overwhelming at first.
There are hacks to the process that can help you save time and energy, while avoiding crippling self-doubt. Recruiter Eric Frans candidly shared insights about the process, including his own experience with finding a new gig while employed. And we've compiled additional tips for your journey. Welcome to your last steps toward leaving your job.
1. Plan, plan, plan.
Whether you're making a career pivot or staying within the same industry, you’ll need a plan. A great first step is simply writing a list of things you’d like to see or would prefer to avoid at your soon-to-be new job. By creating a list, you’re envisioning while simultaneously manifesting your next ideal work environment. You’re also being honest with yourself so that you don’t settle for the next available job because, believe it or not, recruiters can tell. This is also a good tip to use when interviewing because you’ll already have a list of reasons why you want to work at a company.
Eric Frans, a talent acquisition manager at Primepay, says, “We [recruiters] can tell when you’re running away from something or toward something. We want you to succeed, so it’s important we think this is a good fit for you too.”
Setting aside time to update your resume, website, or any other professional materials is also crucial. Research and follow companies you’re interested in so you can stay up to date and have a better idea if it’s truly the place for you. Please keep in mind that it’s OK if your job search takes a couple of months. Be patient but never be discouraged to stop as any opportunity could be your next one.
2. Keep your search efforts private, especially while at work.
No matter how close you may be with your office colleagues, don't let your coworkers, especially your supervisors, know that you’re on this journey. It will create a feeling of disloyalty among your peers and anxiety among your supervisors, which is the last thing you need during this time.
Also, while it might be tempting, don't slack off at your current job. You don’t know when or where you’ll get your next opportunity from so instead of focusing all of your energy on job searching, be sure to commit to work during office hours and then schedule time around that period to complete your job search tasks.
It’s always wise to leave your place of employment on good, if not excellent, terms because every industry is small in its own right. Plus, let’s remember that it’s easier to job search while you still have one, so try to keep it.
3. Tap into your network.
Reaching out to your network is the best thing to do during this time. It’s easier to get a job through networking than cold applying.
Frans experienced this firsthand when he was applying while working in the past. He said that during his job search, which lasted more than 3 months, he landed two interviews, all of which came through referrals, not the countless applications he'd submitted. Months of cold applying ended after he contacted a former colleague from LinkedIn who currently worked at the company Frans was interested in. Two rounds of interviews during a nine-day period put an end to Frans' season-long search.
Although you shouldn't put out a public post saying, "I'm looking for new opportunities, get me out of my current job!” you can certainly send a private message to those you think should know and can help.
4. Try LinkedIn features and other helpful networking sites for discreet job alerts.
LinkedIn is the best place for professionals looking to connect. It's also a great tool to use in every part of the job search process. In the planning phase, it’s incredibly helpful to look at the career trajectories of others since schooling and job experiences are usually always listed in their profile. Their website, along with Ziprecruiter and Indeed, also allows you to subscribe to job alerts.
LinkedIn also has a special feature specifically for those looking for new work but obviously can’t have the now popular #openforwork green graphic on their profile. This feature allows only recruiters from other companies to see that you're open for work. Sure, the feature can seem suspicious. How can LinkedIn make sure a recruiter from your company won’t see you?
Frans confirmed that LinkedIn filters out people from the company you listed on your profile. So if your job uses an external hiring company and that company isn’t listed on your LinkedIn, they can see you’re secretly open for work.
5. Get a recruiter to do the work for you.
Reaching out to recruiters makes both of your jobs easier. They want to get you a job while you need to get a job. It’s a win-win situation. Keep in mind that although they can’t guarantee you a job, they can always refer you to other recruiters, as they often have a close industry network. Sites like LinkedIn and even Instagram make it easy to find and contact recruiters. Just search the company name along with the word ‘recruiter.'
Feel free to reach out with a short introductory email and ask permission to send over your resume along with thanking them for their time (remember, they see applicants all day). Do not hesitate to follow up as well and mention any professional updates.
6. Be strategic about scheduling the interview.
Finding time to plan your career, revising your resume, and applying for jobs will be time-consuming. Luckily, the logistics of scheduling an interview once you do hear back shouldn't be so bad. Recruiters understand how tricky this situation is so most of them are flexible. “I take weekend calls or after-office hours. It’s obviously hard to take interviews in the middle of a workday."
It's also fine to take personal time off from work to go to an interview, just as long as it's done so in a smart, ethical way. A simple, “I have an appointment” suffices since lying never goes well.
Remember that patience and confidence are your friends during this time, not your coworkers or boss. Staying on top of your job search tasks, being honest with yourself while applying, and keeping a positive attitude are keys to your next opportunity. Good luck and congratulations when it happens!